My name is Gina Mariko Rosales and I’m the Founder & Chief Experience Officer at Make it Mariko – a San Francisco creative events agency led by women of color. Before starting my own agency, I was the Head of Marketing Events for X, the moonshot factory (fka Google X), did nonprofit event planning, and produced large scale dance events in the community. In 2017 I co-founded the biggest Filipino Creative Night Market in California called UNDISCOVERED SF to 10,000 people in San Francisco. Needless to say, I’ve had my fair share of festival/event planning.

After 7 years of building Filipino community with entrepreneurs, small businesses, artists, creatives, and nonprofits in SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District through our festival, I had a strong urge to build more cross-cultural connections with other people of color communities to learn from each other, share knowledge, and collaborate to increase our impact and reach.

In 2022 I received a scholarship from the Glancy Wine Education Foundation to take classes and turn my appreciation of wine into passion and knowledge. Once I learned that BIPOC winemakers make up less than 1% of the market, I knew that there was an opportunity to help increase visibility not just for BIPOC winemakers, but also Chefs, Caterers, Spirits, and Beverage brands that didn’t typically get access to or invited to prestigious food and wine festivals.

Enter our new festival concept – POC Food & Wine Festival – a celebration of the global majority in food, wine, music, and culture. It’s been almost a year now that I’ve been working on this festival concept. From getting advice from trusted mentors, chefs, and wine consultants in the industry, to doing a tour of other diversity wine festivals in the industry (shout out Black Food & Wine Experience and Wine & Culture Fest), to building a new festival team here in the Bay. Then working with our new team to concept a NEW food and beverage festival experience that represents the unique character and creativity that truly represents the San Francisco Bay Area (143 Frisco 4eva).

When designing our festival, we asked ourselves a few critical questions:

  1. What can we contribute towards this community that is of value?
  2. How can we contribute to increasing diversity and representation in the industry?
  3. What do current diverse industry stakeholders like small batch winemakers, beverage brands, and chefs need in order to be successful?
  4. How can we continue to build community post-festival so that collaboration continues after the weekend?

Needless to say, I’m a BIG dreamer.

I live and run my business in a constant state of fast-moving realism paired with inspired creativity and gut. My team and I spent Q4 developing programming and sponsor offerings, and solidifying our vision for the festival. We launched a hopeful (and necessary) holiday crowdfunding campaign to raise initial funds for our venue deposit, but timing of a fundraiser while a genocide is taking place across the world made it really tough to feel motivated to make such asks. Sponsor commitments have been slow to confirm as budgets were tight at the end of the year, and are still tight as companies navigate doing business during a continued crazy time in our economy and country. Plus, building new relationships as a “new kid on the block” in the industry takes a lot of time to do properly – much longer than I had anticipated.

The good news is, overall response to our festival mission and vision has been strong! People really resonate with the goal of spotlighting the global majority and centering our stories, our food, and our people in an industry where we’re often othered and not invited to the table.

The bad news is, that it’s really hard to launch a new festival, while also creating a new business model for equity for all involved.

How could we design a festival that:

  • Paid POC Chefs equitably for their contributions? 
  • Reduced booth fees for POC wineries so they could access the festival, as well as create more opportunities for sales onsite? 
  • Kept ticket fees affordable for attendees?
  • While also being financially sustainable for the Event Producer (aka our team) so that we can continue the event year over year instead of burning out (as we have in the past)?

Turns out, the answer isn’t easy. But it’s definitely figure-out-able, as Marie Forleo would say. In only 4 months of planning, we’ve already made tons of pivots including pushing our date out to May. But we’re steadfast, and we’re heading onward.

Make no mistake – we’re stoked about where we’ve landed.

So I’m excited to introduce you to our V1 (technically more like V5 lol) of POC Food & Wine Festival. A multi-day festival celebrating people of color and their allies in food, beverage, music, and culture.

We know that we’re not going to get it perfect the first time. But we’re confident that we can curate a beautiful, open, welcoming, and JOYFUL experience that creates space for meaningful conversations and future collaborations to come to life. All while sharing stories about our food and culture that may not have felt safe to share only 20-30 years ago. All while building our own table, together.

Ready to Join the Table?

Apply to be a vendor
Vendor applications have been extended until Friday February 9th.
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Join our Email List to be first to get notified about pre-sale tickets.
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Suggest an idea!
Suggest a creative collaboration, a winery we should feature, or apply to perform!
Submit your ideas here!

Sponsor a Small Batch Winemaker!

$250 per booth

Help grant access to the festival for a Small Batch Winemaker (i.e. winemakers that make less than 10,000 cases per year)! Booth fees can be inaccessible to small batch winemakers (which many POC winemakers are when they start out), so sponsorships helps give them access to participate in the festival.

Are you a corporate brand, beverage, spirit company wanting to be featured?
Email us at

Thank you always for your support, which can be best shown by sharing this blog/message, with even one other person that it might resonate with 🙂

(aka ‘I humbly receive’ / ‘Let’s eat’)
Gina Mariko