Make Your Wine Gifting Count

Humwine In early January of this year I predicted that "chances are we will see 10% unemployment in America by the end of 2010." I was right…only it came a little early.

Statistics, however precise, don't really tell the story of the Great Recession. What tells the story are all the people you know that lost their jobs, lost clients, lost their homes and otherwise were effected by the economic downturn.

Most of the people I know in the wine industry who are part of the 10% are pretty damn capable people. They are usually smart enough and dynamic enough that they'll find a way to weather this storm or innovate their way out of it. But this is the wine industry. What I'm thinking about now are those folks who, when upon losing their job, have little or no way to weather the storm, find themselves in desperate…I mean really desperate…straits.

Many of us will buy and give wine as Holiday gifts. Let me suggest something. This year, look for wines to gift that also give back. Look to purchase wines that will lead to help being given to those who need it.

For those producers out there that give back to those in need and who give back to their community and who I am about to not mention…I apologize.

The one winery I know of that actively gives back to the community in which the wine is sold is HUMANITAS WINE.

Owned by Judd Wallenbrock, this winery not only produces outstanding wines, but gives back to numerous organizations across the country.

I was pretty proud to work with Judd when he first started Humanitas. A number of years later, Humanitas is still at it.

So here's what I'm suggesting:


Now, for those wineries and other companies that give back to the community, comment on this post with brief information about your company and who how it gives back. Put your URL in the comment section. When you do that, I'll write about it here at Fermentation.

Let's make our gifting really count this year…NOW…Go buy some HUMANITAS


6 Responses

  1. Jay Kell - December 2, 2009

    Huge fan of Judd and Humanitas! I have a small brand, called VERGE Wine Cellars, based out of Dry Creek Valley and specializing in organic/biodynamic Syrah. We give back to several organizations throughout the year, namely the Heifer Project, UN World Food Program (through Menu for Hope)and Feeding America. For the month of December, we’re donating 10% of Gross Sales to Feeding America, which is a great charity supporting our nations food banks. Thanks for the post.

  2. Scott K - December 2, 2009

    Well since you asked…we at Newsome-Harlow are VERY serious about supporting all types of organizations and charities throughout our local community here in Calaveras County. As most wineries could claim, we literally could give away every case of wine we make based on the donation requests we get. But our wine donations approaching double-digit percentages of our entire production is what we are able to give.
    Furthermore, throughout the holidays, 10% of all sales will be donated to Calaveras County Resource Connection to provide for those less fortunate than us this holiday season.
    We’re no Humanitas, but it’s what we can do.
    Thanks Tom!

  3. Scott K - December 2, 2009

    Oh…and it’s

  4. Anonymous - December 2, 2009

    I won’t post what it is we do for charity organizations because I think the wine industry as a whole does a lot, and I’d rather the industry get that recognition. I know every winery out there receives donation requests on a daily basis. We receive somewhere between 3 and 6 a day (and that’s just via snail mail). While it would be nice to donate to every one it is not economically viable. To see how much the industry does as a whole take a look around your next charity auction, community BBQ, crab feed, casino night, fund raiser, anything where proceeds go to some charity. If their is wine being poured, sold, auctioned off, etc… 90% of the time all of that wine was donated. My winery donates tens of thousands of dollars every year in the form of wine, lunches, dinners, guest stays and cash and I know for a fact the same is true for nearly every winery out there. So, while yes you should go out and get some Humanitas because of all that they have done for the community keep in mind that for the most part the wine industry is community driven and as a whole they like to give back.

  5. Eric Hwang - December 2, 2009

    The anonymous commenter has a good point that most all wineries give back to the community and are often very involved with philanthropic causes. However, it’s nice for consumers to know which causes or community charities your particular winery supports. They may be more inclined to buy from someone who supports a cause near and dear to them.
    In the case of Fire Station Red (, the name should be a giveaway. Because Sonoma Coast Vineyards’ founder, John Drady, is an active firefighter in Sebastapol, Fire Station Red is very actively involved in fire services and burn unit programs both locally in Sonoma County and throughout the U.S. as well as other community programs supported by firefighters. It’s a brand almost conceived and developed just to benefit a very important part of every community, the fire department.
    Thanks, Tom, for allowing us to highlight our particular good cause.

  6. Matthew Reid - December 7, 2009

    Not my winery, but check out Bodhichitta Winery in Oregon. Completely not-for-profit, donating to several charities including school-building projects in Afghanistan. Interesting, too, that most inputs (grapes, etc.) and labor are donated, as well.
    New Clairvaux Vineyard also merits mention. The winery is run by a Cistercian abbey, and proceeds fund the group’s charitable works.

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