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Good Wine that Does Good

Wine is a natural complement to many things – food, obviously, being its most natural companion. Wine is also a natural companion to our philanthropic spirit – non-profits and the notion of social responsibility.

In cities across the country non-profits use wine events as a fundraiser for their social cause.  In Indianapolis alone there are at least five major annual events with a wine tasting experience acting as the centerpiece for separating money from donor wallets.

The non-profit that I’m involved with, Second Helpings, a food rescue and job training program, has an annual event called Harvest where the food and wine flow freely in the name of good works.

These sorts of things happen in every city in the country.

However, overlooked in the bacchanalian spirit of giving are the distributors and (more often) the wineries that are providing the wine for the event.  And, typically they are events.  Folks convene in one spot, pay their entrance fee, have a good time and then leave.

But, what would happen if a non-profit started selling their own private-labeled wine—the Girl Scout cookie equivalent for the wine interested?

With that in mind, it was with curiosity that I saw Crushpad Wine recently rolled out a fundraising program.  More often than not, when I see something new that Crushpad Wine is doing, like their Bailout wine, I smack my head and say, “Good idea!”

Their newest endeavor, the Crushpad Fundraising Program, is another example of playing to strengths while finding a worthwhile market to expand into – a good idea.

Make no mistake, Crushpad’s core business of consumer-based custom crush is for that thin-slice 1% of Americans who are crazy about wine, but stop just short of picking up and moving to wine country to start their own winery.  At an average price coming close to $10,000 a barrel, countered with Crushpad’s mission of democratizing the winemaking experience, there is work to be done for their business model to match the mission.  For that reason, we’ve seen Crushpad expand into a more consumer-oriented productization – the Fusebox wine blending kit being a notable example.  For example, a consumer can buy a blending kit and blend a wine to their specifications and subsequently buy that blend with a much more humble cash outlay than a 25 case commitment.

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That notion, coupled with the fact that Crushpad is on speed dial for California non-profits seeking wine donations, and you might deduce that they have a good business rationale to think creatively about growth and tapping new markets.  According to fundraising program manager Pamela Topper, commenting on the new program said, “Instead of ‘giving the man a fish,’ which would bring in a few bucks at single fundraiser, we decided to ‘teach a man to fish’ by providing a program that is easy, quick, and requires no investment by the organization, that would provide reoccurring revenue throughout the year, year after year.”

Kind of like the Girl Scout cookies.

Non profits are struggling right now, like virtually every other sector; there has been a pull back.  For most people, when the wallet tightens, there is a natural pullback from checkbook conscientiousness.  But, what if you were to combine many people’s twin passions of wine and being philanthropically engaged and do so outside of an event?

The Crushpad program is simple and there are two options depending on how serious the non-profit is about the juice. 

This first option is straightforward – a non-profit can select a pre-blended, pre-bottled option that Crushpad has already created (selecting based on price points, etc.), create a custom label with Crushpad, have Crushpad set-up an online store (like this), and start selling wine, taking the margin spread on each sale, without the risk of the acquisition of inventory.

Heck, Crushpad will even ship the wine to the purchaser and pay the appropriate taxes.  It doesn’t get much easier for the non-profit. 

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The second option, more involved and engaging, has the non-profit creating a custom blend using the Fusebox.  To me, this is a great idea.  There’s nothing better than getting donors and volunteers in a room for a blending session to stoke the giving (and the wine buying) fire.  The same sales protocol follows for label creation, creation of a store and the non-profit taking the margin spread.

And, the numbers can add up in a meaningful way.  Harvest, the Second Helpings fundraiser I mentioned, is the largest fundraiser for the organization and significantly drives their budget.  A miss on revenue for an event can have a very meaningful impact on their business and the work that they do feeding the underprivileged and training culinary students.  In a financial example provided by Crushpad, if donors or volunteers buy a “collectible” wine for $50 there can be as much as $25 a bottle that goes directly to the non-profit.  It doesn’t take much math to see the yield a non-profit can reap from such a program.

Now, this isn’t to say that such private-label non-profit wine offerings don’t exist elsewhere.  They do.  But, what is unique about the program with Crushpad is the ease of use that requires virtually no thinking for the non-profit outside of marketing the wine to their donors and volunteers combined with quality juice in the bottle.  I’ve never had anything but good wine from Crushpad, the rugs match the drapes, so to speak, which isn’t always the case with other wine companies that private-label.

Overall, I’ve always been an admirer of Crushpad Wine, their business model, their wines and their inventiveness in tapping new markets and experimenting.  This is another example and hits my personal sweet spot for acknowledging and supporting non-profits that are often times the silent engine in our societal success.  Good wine that does good, I can drink to that.



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Posted in, Free Run: Field Notes From a Wine Life. Permalink | Comments (22) |


Comments

On 08/22, Wine of Month Club wrote:

I think we can all drink to that and it is an impressive organization.  Thanks for continuing to shine the light on them, the more people are aware of wine related charities the better off we’ll all be!

On 08/24, Dylan wrote:

I appreciate the sense in their non-profit fundraising model. A good product always helps in raising money for a good cause. Most everyone enjoys Girl Scout Cookies (even when taking away the advantage of their adorable little sales force). Paul Newman created Newman’s Own. It was a whole range of competitively created and priced products. All profit after taxes when directly to charities; the result is over $265 Million given to charities since 1982. Like these two examples, Crushpad is putting the product in the hands of non-profits and letting them take hold of their fundraising destiny. It opens up a platform where the non-profit can market and sell as creatively as they want to achieve their end goal. It goes to show that helping charities doesn’t always have to feel like charity to be successful.

On 11/06, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

I love wine! I can never forget the first lesson I had regarding when to drink each type fine; like white wind should be drank with fish and red wine with meat.
Melia Resorts

On 11/10, Mobile car valeting wrote:

I really admire what you have been doing.. Keep it up guys.

On 11/25, Sports Photography wrote:

Are you talking about the same CrushPad Wine as the one in San Francisco? Crushpad is a winery where you are the winemaker. They buy the grapes, and house the facilities. They crush the grapes and perform all of the fermenting. However, you are in control of the process from the very first step. You pick where the grapes are sourced from. You make the decisions regarding fermentation and aging. You even have the option to design your own label and packaging.

On 11/30, search engines wrote:

I was in love with the conceptof CrushPad Wine from day one, already dreaming about buying my own barrel of wine. Iíve checked in with Crushpad since to find that they are expanding their offering and really trying to bring the art of winemaking to everyone. So I look forward to seeing what the next steps will be in their offering.

On 12/16, The March Group wrote:

Good thing that we can do good out from this event. really great article.

On 12/17, Waste Tire Hauler Bonds wrote:

I think it’s very admirable for Crushpad to have a non-profit fundraising.

On 12/21, NJ Florist wrote:

Crushpad provides grapes from top California and Bordeaux vineyards, an industry-acclaimed wine making team, and a state-of-the-art winery 100% focused on making wine in small lots. No matter where you live, you can now make your own wine. We also offer services to help you turn your passion for custom wine making into a wine business, whether you are a wine enthusiast, retailer, or restaurant.

On 12/22, Local Internet Marketing wrote:

That’s great news… Thanks guys.

On 12/29, Safety Training wrote:

Crushpad is a winery where you are the winemaker. They buy the grapes, and house the facilities. I appreciate the sense in their non-profit fundraising model. A good product always helps in raising money for a good cause.

On 12/30, Chicago Mold Inspection wrote:

Crushpad is putting the product in the hands of non-profits and letting them take hold of their fundraising destiny. It opens up a platform where the non-profit can market and sell as creatively as they want to achieve their end goal. It goes to show that helping charities doesnít always have to feel like charity to be successful.

On 01/04, civil rights law firm wrote:

Paul Newman created Newmanís Own. It was a whole range of competitively created and priced products. All profit after taxes when directly to charities; the result is over $265 Million given to charities since 1982. Like these two examples, Crushpad is putting the product in the hands of non-profits and letting them take hold of their fundraising destiny.

On 05/03, Local Internet Marketing wrote:

Great to read an article about good wine. There is not enough quality posts about a subject close to my own heart. thanks

On 06/30, Square Peg Web wrote:

Obviously…research says wine is good for health when we took little bit…Great information..

On 08/11, Ronald Loves Nike wrote:

I must admit I know little to nothing about wine other than what tastes good and what does not. Thank you for sharing this. I can now see that there are definitely some benefits to wine other than taste!

On 10/25, BMX Helmet wrote:

Sounds like Crushpad is on top of things. Bring the fundraiser to the people. Win/win and convenience for everyone involved.

On 03/15, Nebulisers wrote:

Great idea, I like it

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You live, you can now make your own wine. We also offer services to help you turn your passion for custom wine making into a wine business.

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