The Urge To Be Charitable

I truly believe that the wine industry is the most generous industry I have ever come across. The amount of wine that is donated to non-profit organizations throughout North American is astounding. In fact, I think that some of the smaller wineries could donate every bottle they produced.

While I’m impressed with the generosity of the wineries, I’m also someone who believes that charity begins at home. So it’s important to me that while we are helping worthy causes, we are also reaping some benefits from it.

When organizing your donations for the year, think about what you can donate instead of wine. Things that will bring people to the winery, such as a tour and tasting or lunch at the winery or sampling wine from the barrel, followed by a visit with the winemaker.

Take a look at what publicity the charity is willing to give your winery. Will you be mentioned on the promotional pieces? Is the charity willing to send out information about the winery to their mailing list? There are a number of things you can ask about. There may well be times when you are willing to donate with no thought of getting anything back (especially if you are involved with certain charities), but there are times when the charity is willing to help promote your business, as well as theirs.

Evaluate each event after it is over. If the event included a wine tasting, how did that work for you? Did you meet anyone who subsequently came up to the winery to purchase? Were the people attending the event people who drank wine? Sometimes people are there to support the charity, and rightly so, but they may not be your target market.

I have a handout with ideas on managing donations. If anyone would like to receive it, please comment on this post, or drop me an email (, and I will send it along.

Have a great week and I hope to see you in Missouri, later this week, or Texas, next week!



One comment on “The Urge To Be Charitable

  1. Julie St John says:

    Hello E, Thanks for a great article and food for thought! We figured the total of our donations last year to CA charities was a total of $93,000 in wine. That doesn’t include what we donated through our wholesalers in other states but it is likely another $5000. This includes wine for tastings as well as auction lots. I have started the gift certificate route in order to have people actually visit the winery but I have had a problem with getting these organizations to let us use their mailing list once for a promotional follow up email in order to get more ‘bang for our buck’. And there were many charities who were left without a donation simply because we cannot donate to every school, AIDS benefit and arts gathering. I’d love to see your ideas so please send me your list. And happy trails and safe travels to you.

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