Dwyane Wade is working to diversify the wine industry.

The former basketball athlete is accomplishing this as the founder of his own wine brand, Wade Cellars, established in 2014, and as a University of California (UC Davis), Davis board member. According to a news release, Wade joined the school’s Executive Leadership Board for the Department of Viticulture and Enology in 2021.

At the time of appointment, David Block, a professor and chair of the viticulture and enology department, shared in a statement: “All of our new board leaders have really unique skills to help the department achieve our strategic goals. They bring excellent communication skills, a passion for diversifying the industry and making sure students receive a great education and fulfilling career, and a passion for wine. Past and current members will help us to reach even a higher level of teaching, research and continuing education for the industry.”

Wade’s participation was to serve as a doorway for expanding minority enrollment and opportunities within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, while boosting their engagement in the wine sector. Wade reiterated this sentiment during a fireside chat held at SXSW 2024.

“So getting into the wine space, owning my own wine brand, I wanted to learn more. So what’s a better place to learn than go to sit at the best wine school,” Wade expressed during SXSW 2024. “I was able to get on the board and get firsthand knowledge of what’s going on in the wine community, but also trying to create a program. One of the programs that I was able to create was actually bringing minorities to UC Davis and taking us through a program of the wine process of learning everything… It’s great to bring people that want to know about the industry, that’s in the industry, that may not know all the intricate details and how wine is made and how this community is built.”

According to the website of UC Davis’ Department of Viticulture and Enology, the school teaches students the “biological and physical aspects involved with grape and wine production” and provides “hands-on” experience with growing grapes and winemaking.

By enrolling more minorities in the educational institution, it will begin to positively shift the existing statistic that shows only 1% of 11,000 U.S. wineries are Black-owned or have Black winemakers, per Decanter.

“Nothing happens without every board member daring to be honest about the temperature in the wine community,” Wade told Food & Wine about his role at UC Davis. “It’s going to be a team effort to get the wine industry to a place where it looks different in the next 20 years than it has looked in the last 40.”