Wineries Giving Back

Three very different ways wineries give back to the land, the people and even the pets


The idea of a winery “giving back” is pretty popular these days, though it wasn't too long ago that most wineries would have been happy and likely recipients of a little charity themselves. The financial success of wineries the world over is really quite a recent occurrence, concentrating significant wealth in small pockets of the agricultural world. Considering the good fortune of those who’ve really benefitted from the recent success of Wine INC., giving back a little is the least they can do. 
Giving back takes many forms. Some are one-shot deals, with many winners making significant charitable donations of wine to events, auctions, and organizations benefitting myriad groups. Others take a more long term approach, benefitting one or more organizations over time as an integral part of their day to day operations. Today I'll take a look at three unique approaches to giving back, each with its own merits, and worth supporting ourselves.

One Tree at a Time

Actually it's One Bottle, One Tree, a program implemented by the Trinchero Family's Trinity Oaks label that follows through on that simple promise. Buy a bottle, they'll plant a tree. Keep buying bottles and they'll keep planting trees. They've planted 8,397,852 trees since July 1, 2008. Umm make that 8,397,852, no wait 8,397,854. You get the idea. Check out their tree ticker here to see today's number.

One Bottle, One Tree works with Trees for the Future, who have active projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. By planting trees, Trees for the Future aims to change people's lives, offering them income, fuel, animal habitat, and stabilized local water supplies. It doesn't take much to buy a bottle of Trinity Oaks, and yet collectively all those bottles have made a significant impact on the lives of so many people.


Blending Wine with Philanthropy

That's Carivintas Winery's trademarked tagline. Even their name is on message, bringing together the Latin term for charity with the French term for wine. Even the labels have meaning, depicting rescued animals. Take for example the Bernard Red, a Barbera Tempranillo blend named after a dog that the folks at Carivintas were able to rescue with the help of Shadow's Fund. 20% of the purchase of Bernard's Red goes to help support Shadow's Fund, an organization dedicated to the most vulnerable in the animal world, older dogs, pit bulls and other high risk dogs.


And when you least expect it...

Take Ehlers Estate, for example. Smack in the heart of the Napa Valley, producing some pretty premium wine with custom bottles and unique labels all befitting a grand for-profit endeavor, Ehlers Estate is in fact owned by the non-profit Leducq Foundation. In 2002, noted philanthropist and winery owner Jean Leducq passed away, leaving the estate he lovingly began in 1985 to his eponymous foundation.

Today, according to the Ehlers Estate website, 100% of proceeds goes back to the foundation, whose stated mission is to improve health through international cardiovascular research. Now a little red wine certainly must figure in there somewhere, and Ehlers comes to the table with a full stable of impressive reds from their own estate fruit—classic Napa Valley expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the rather apropos One Twenty Over Eighty Cabernet Sauvignon.The winery is even organic, taking the whole concept of giving back to the next level. 

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  • Snooth User: steve666
    392767 156

    One Hope gives 50% of their profits to various charities. The wine is made by Michael Mondavi. The wine buyer can pick from an approved list of several charities and direct that a large percentage of the amount be donated to that specific charity. The other portion of the donation goes to a charity they have chosen. They sell a $19 cab that seems as if it might turn out to be good -- I bought a case of the 2010 about a year ago, it tasted bright and fruity, but I decided to let it sit for a few years. They make a red blend that sells for about $50 and a 2009 cabernet "Darius" that sells for $80 and will be a big luscious cab in 3-4 years. They also sell a pinot, a zin, at one time had a petite sirah, and a few whites.

    Mar 27, 2013 at 3:25 PM

  • Thanks for focusing on wineries that give back, Gregory! I am Derek Rohlffs, owner and winemaker at Bravium Winery in San Francisco. I raise money for charities through the sales of my wine via my Sip&Give campaign. Donations are made to the charites based upon the percentage of votes each receives at Current charities include the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, LLS, Peninsula Humane Society, Community Gatepath, and Slow Food USA. More than $15,000 in wine and cash donations were made to these charities during my most recent campaign period. I'd be interested in hearing any ideas any of you might have about expanding the reach of Sip&Give's fundraising and donations. Thanks! Derek

    Mar 27, 2013 at 5:21 PM

  • Transcendence Wines in Santa Barbara County is another great winery that's giving back and making a difference. The husband and wife team of Kenneth and Sara Gummere donate a minimum of 10% of their sales and another 10% of production to a number of worthwhile causes. They also have made a couple of special wines where 100% of the proceeds go to fund tsunami relief for the people of Fukushima Ken. The Transcendence Wines website is

    Mar 27, 2013 at 7:07 PM

  • Snooth User: Donald Gher
    1196809 18

    Also look at Stacy Lill's O Wines in Washington State. The O Wines Opportunity for Success Scholarship supports low-income, capable young women so they can achieve their greatest potential through education.

    Each scholarship is $20,000 and is awarded in $5,000 increments annually over four years to each recipient who continues to meet eligibility requirements.

    Eight scholarships will be awarded this year. Recipients will be announced May 1, 2013.

    Mar 27, 2013 at 7:37 PM

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