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Wine & Philanthropy

Wine & Philanthropy

52 Weeks of Wine , Charity 🕔February 6, 2018 0 comments

How Wineries & Consumers Give Back

As a country, we are generous. During 2016, nearly $390 billion was donated to charitable organizations. Our local wine industry contributes to this generosity. Great wine for great causes is a mandate that local wineries could easily embody as part of their business plan.

Wineries define philanthropy as giving back to make a positive impact on local communities. Philanthropy is about community, and recognizing that business is about more than just business, it’s about people. Wine is about coming together. We see it in family gatherings, parties with friends, and conversations over a meal. Wine is an integral part of our social culture.

The wine industry supports a wide range of initiatives from local programs supporting education, animal welfare, and food programs, to large-scale, multi-million dollar events such as the Auction of Washington wine which raised $4.1 Million last year for its beneficiaries, including Seattle Children’s hospital, Washington State University’s Viticulture and Enology research program and an annual industry grant.

Yakima Valley wineries have always been strong supporters of non-profit organizations, whether it’s donating wine, tours, dinners and gift items or pouring at charitable events. The methods used to donate are expanding. Kyle and Amy Johnson, owners of Purple Star wines located in Benton City, have incorporated giving into their business plan. Every time someone purchases Purple Star wines, 15 percent of the proceeds are funneled directly to Seattle Children’s hospital, which means that buying small production, family owned wine also benefits the financial burden of parents treating their sick child.

“We are asked for donations every day,” says Amy. “Building Children’s hospital into our business plan helps us streamline our cause and allows us to be more effective. We feel like we are really making a difference by focusing on one cause.” Amy acknowledges that the wine industry is one of the most generous industries she has ever been involved in. This generosity goes beyond the industry and includes consumers. The Yakima Enological Society, a group of local wine lovers has supported viticulture and enology education by donating more than $70,000 in scholarship money to Northwest colleges over the past decade. Beneficiaries include Yakima Valley College, Walla Walla College, Washington State University, Umpqua Community College in Oregon and Okanogan College in the Southern Interior of British Columbia.

Scholarship funds are generated through the Enological Society’s annual Platinum dinner. The event features wines receiving top awards from the wine publication, WinePress Northwest’s annual Platinum Judging. In addition to the wines, guests are treated to a five-course meal, have the opportunity to network with Northwest winemakers and bid on wine-related auction items. Tickets are available at yakimawine.org for the April 14, Platinum dinner.

In an effort to continue the generosity, consider supporting these efforts. Start by picking up a bottle of Purple Star’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon or 2013 Syrah, the winery’s most popular gift purchased for those celebrating the completion of treatment at Seattle Children’s hospital. For more information or to order wine, visit purplestarwines.com. Or, plan to attend one of several events featured as part of the Auction of Washington Wine’s festivities held throughout the year. Learn more by visiting auctionofwashingtonwines.org

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