We all have political, non-profit, and other organizations we like to support. Many in the wine industry do, too.
For instance, California-based Bar Dog Wine, part of the Vintage Wine Estates family of wineries, is, perhaps not surprisingly, very into dogs. It supports dog rescue shelters, and awards grants to them throughout North America in partnership with the Petfinder Foundation. The winery’s website and the internet provide further details of these activities.
Similarly, Oregon’s Firesteed Winery, also part of the Vintage Wine Estates family, was recently inspired by its name and horse logo to begin supporting retired working horses by partnering with Dreamer Horses to give them homes, according to Jenna Duran, Vintage’s VP of Marketing. Firesteed is in the process of updating its internet presence accordingly to showcase its new cause.
Another example is Murphy-Goode Winery, which is very open about its charitable work.
But what happens when a winery supports an organization or a position that you can’t get behind, or something you outright disagree with?
I recently received several emails from representatives of a wine company suggesting that I interview the founder and CEO about why he created a business model that supports veterans and their families. The emails say that the company has donated over $250,000 to the Working Warrior Foundation.
That sounds like a great cause. Both my father and father-in-law were veterans.
So I went to the wine company’s website to check it out. It has information about its support of veterans. But the website’s language raised a red flag. It said that the wine company supports several causes and organizations, but the only cause named on the website was veterans. Why was that?
Curious, I ran a quick Google search.
And discovered that the wine company touts itself as “wine for conservatives.” It’s on America’s Conservative Marketplace. Some of the posts on its Twitter account are politically nasty.
Honestly, I’m not comfortable with that. It’s exclusionary.
Of course, those in the wine industry are entitled to support whatever organizations they want.
But as consumers, we get to decide what factors impact whether we will purchase a wine. I tend to buy wine based on how it tastes and how much it costs. If it supports a cause I also support, all the better.
If you care about how a winery might use your money, we recommend you research what organizations, causes, and charities it supports before you buy. Look at its website, but also run a quick internet search and check out its social media posts.
What you glean may make you consider whether you want to buy from that winery – or reinforce your desire to do so.
I am not alone in this viewpoint. For instance, many found it eye-opening and quite helpful to learn from the American Association of Wine Economists which presidential candidates the wine industry donated to in 2020. That’s an even deeper dive, but again, if it’s an area of concern or something you care deeply about, it may be worth it.
Some wineries don’t make this information publicly available. But when they do, it’s helpful to review the background of the wineries and what they support so you can make an informed decision on whether to buy from them. I’m making this more of a habit going forward.
This is even more important if you’re being asked to promote a specific winery, as I was. Researching what organizations the winery supports can help you identify if you want to be associated or affiliated with them. I’m glad I did a little homework.
The wine company and the PR firm have not responded to several requests for comment.
Do you research what causes wineries support before you buy? If so, how has it helped you? Always feel free to reach out to us with any questions or feedback. Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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