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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cheers for Charity!

Before I introduce today's fabulous guest post on charitable wine, I'd like to give a special thanks to Diana Trotter at All Women Stalk for her great post on Engaged With A Cause in her new series on brides that are giving back. 

Today's guest post is written by my dear friend, the lovely Manda Schweitzer. Manda and her fiancĂ©, Brady, currently live in Atlanta, but they will be getting married in their home state of Iowa next year and I am thrilled to be one of  Manda's bridesmaids. When Manda and I met in graduate school at American University we instantly bonded over our shared passion for Nick Hornby books, Volkswagen commercials, all things fitness and of course, wine....

 My father and brother are wine connoisseurs of the utmost degree, comparing the principles of the grapes and what makes for the best pairings. They go to wine tastings and read books on the art of being a good sommelier. I drink what tastes good. For me, that generally means Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and every once in a blue moon on a warm summer day, a Pinot Gris.

Newly engaged! Manda and Brady before a night out- one that I'm sure included wine.
When commencing on my wedding venue hunt, wineries quickly became options: an outdoor space to have the ceremony (officiated by my brother), a hall for the reception and, of course, WINE. Having some tasty wine at our reception is a priority. When thinking of extravagancies within a wedding, wine can be a major culprit. Some venues that we’ve looked at set the price of bottles of average wine that would sell off-the-shelf for no more than $10 at $35 and upwards - yikes! 

While my fiancĂ©, Brady, and I want our day to be special, we want to be mindful of the money that we spend and where those finances go. Thankfully, wine drinkers and makers alike can be quite a generous lot and in my research I quickly came across numerous wineries that donate portions of their sales to charity. 

 One large contributor of charitable wines is ONEHOPE Wine. For example, their 2009 ONEHOPE California Cabernet Sauvignon is priced at $18.99 with $3.00 going to the Fight Against Autism. ONEHOPE supports many causes, from Supporting Our Troops, to Fight Against AIDs, to Supporting Our Planet, among others. Started in 2005 by Jake Kloberdanz to raise funds to support a friend who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, to date, ONEHOPE Wine has donated over $400,000 to their partner charities.  If you still feel like you want to give an extra boost to a good cause, ONEHOPE can also serve as a conduit for your charitable donations, with 100% of your additional donation going straight to your preferred charity. 

Want to focus on a more local impact? Check out Humanitas. Serving 11 states, Humanitas doesn’t pull the funds collected through sales to give to a central-nationwide charitable office, but rather they give to local chapters of charities, including Habitat for Humanity. According to Humanita’s website, their charitable efforts focus on “hunger, affordable housing and education,” but they strive to fit the needs of each community served. Depending upon your state, the portion donated to your selected charity is around 15 percent. That way, you can see the impact of your purchase right in your backyard.

 Charity Case is another great option for charitably-driven wine lovers. As part of a consortium of Napa Valley based wineries, Charity Case relies upon the donation of fruit and wine from its member wineries to produce great wine. Organized like a not-for-profit, there are no salaries and net proceeds go to benefit children in Napa Valley area.

Now, don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, beer-drinkers. Brewers have a mind for charity as well. One such brewery, from our lovely writer Julie’s native-land - Louisiana-based Abita Beer launched their SOS (Save Our Shore)- Charity Pilsner following the BP Oil Spill of 2010. Abita is donating $.75 cents of each bottle sold to the SOS – A Charitable Fund. According to Abita’s website the SOS – A Charitable Fund, “will assist with the rescue and restoration of the environment, industry and individuals fighting to survive this disastrous oil spill.” Abita is also selling merchandise, such as hats and shirts, with 100% of those profits going to the Fund. 

 It is a good idea to provide a non-alcoholic option for your guests as well. The IZZE Beverage Company is an excellent example of corporate social responsibility. IZZE offices are powered by wind energy and they serve as a partner to the Global Education Fund. With great sparkling juice flavors like Sparkling Clementine, Sparkling Pomegranate and more, this can provide a good alternative for your guests that don’t wish to imbibe, or maybe have had too much already! 

 Do note that some states have restrictions against the shipment of alcohol to private homes (my home state of Iowa included), but don’t let that discourage you. Many local wineries offer varieties of which a portion of sales are donated charity. Wine country isn’t just in California anymore, so check out local wineries around you. A great resource is  

One more pic of the cute couple!
 Weddings are a time for love and celebration and small indulgences with those most important to you. So feel free to indulge in a few librations at your celebration- just not too many. Cheers to good health and happiness, and the helping of others!


  1. Thank you so much Julie, I love your post and your blog. It was such a pleasure working together on your guest post. You are doing a wonderful thing.

    I love the idea of wines for charities, there are so many wine theme weddings that could really contribute to this. :)

  2. Thanks ladies!

    Diana- It was a pleasure working with you too. Your blog is fantastic and I love that you are highlighting people who are trying to make a difference!