A Toast To Giving Back: Wine Companies That Donate to Charity
“With wine and hope, anything is possible.” This Spanish proverb has been passed to different cultures over centuries, and wine companies that donate to charity live by it. The link between charities, auctions and wine to give support and hope to those less fortunate enjoys a long history worldwide. One of the most famous wine charity events dates to 1443, the Hospices de Beaune, which helps fund a local hospital in Burgundy, France, for the poor (now it’s a museum). When the California wine industry was in its infancy, vintners made philanthropy a priority and hosted the first Napa Valley Wine Auction in 1981. Relying on vintners to donate prized big bottles and special wine tasting experiences to auctions, as well as wines to be poured at benefit dinners, has become an important part of the fundraising puzzle for nonprofits. But there are a handful of wine companies that donate to charity continuously, making giving back a part of their company culture. Here’s a look at respected Sonoma County wineries operating with a social responsibility culture and the causes they support. Most of these wineries host visitors by appointment, and their online stores are open 24/7.
Sonoma Wine Companies That Donate to Charity
Jordan Vineyard & Winery
Since 2012, The John Jordan Foundation has been working to fight the negative effects of poverty and provide disadvantaged people tools needed to succeed educationally and professionally, from cradle to career. John Jordan, the owner of Jordan Winery, funds the foundation’s partners and charitable programs with about half of the winery’s annual sales proceeds. The foundation has helped thousands of families through education, after-school enrichment and health programs, and has, to date, supported more than 250 organizations. The foundation has funded iPad and Chromebook education pilot programs, bringing technology to some of California’s poorest schools; a pediatric wing at Santa Rosa Health Centers; Accelerated English Language instruction programs; and numerous programs for abused and special-needs children. Its annual support of senior communities brings independence, health and wellbeing to seniors living in the most isolated areas of Sonoma County. Every holiday season, Jordan donates its garden of pumpkins to schools through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin, and hosts a company-wide Toys for Tots donation drive. The winery also hosts fundraising promotions that involve fans on social media, including one for Soi Dog Foundation on National Dog Day. “Giving back is just a part of who we are as a company,” John Jordan says. “As a successful business, we have a responsibility to play an active role in improving the lives of those in need.” Tastings by appointment only.
Jackson Family Wines
Sonoma County’s largest employer in the wine sector is also at the top of the list of companies that donate to charity. Each year, Jackson Family Wines, which owns many Sonoma wineries including Kendall-Jackson, La Crema, Copain and Stonestreet, contributes community service, financial support and donations to more than 200 nonprofit organizations. Employees donate more than 6,000 hours annually to the local community alone. Core local nonprofits supported include Redwood Empire Food Bank, Farm to Pantry, 10,000 Degrees, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin, Be the Change, Latino Community Foundation, Corazón Healdsburg and Puertas Abiertas.
One of the Jackson family’s latest philanthropic programs is Murphy-Goode Winery’s A Really Goode Cause, a nomination-based, nationwide search for three nonprofits that each received a $25,000 donation. The individuals who nominated the chosen nonprofits also received $10,000. Another initiative is centered around an emergency fund developed in partnership with United Way. Through their namesake winery, Kendall-Jackson, the owners pledged to raise $2 million dollars by 2030 for the Grocery Worker’s Appreciation Fund with annual fall awareness drives. The fund strives to alleviate the challenges essential workers continue to face, offering emergency support, mainly through cash cards, but also by connecting workers with the 211 network, United Way’s national social services helpline.
Foley Family Wines
Vintner Bill Foley and his wife, Carol, manage several philanthropic foundations under their different businesses. One of those, the Foley Family Charitable Foundation, acts as an umbrella for the charitable giving for his businesses, including Foley Family Wines and its Sonoma wine properties: Ferrari-Carano, Chalk Hill, Sebastiani, Roth, Banshee, Lancaster and Chateau St. Jean. Since 1999, the Foley Family Charitable Foundation has focused on supporting youth and career development services, health, arts, and sustainability efforts within in the communities where their employees live and work. A few of the local organizations that the FFCF supports in Sonoma County include The Boys and Girls Club of Sonoma-Marin, Corazón Healdsburg, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, La Luz Center and the Future Farmers of America’s Healdsburg Chapter. Nationally, Bill Foley Founded the Folded Flag Foundation in 2014 to provide educational scholarships and grants to the spouses and children of U.S. military and government personnel who have died as a result of hostile action or an accident related to combat. Foley also makes significant charitable contributions through the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation, the charitable arm of the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Champions.
Bob Cabral Wines
After 18 years of crafting cult pinot noirs for Williams Selyem, famed winemaker Bob Cabral decided to create his own family brand with a new focus in 2015. Cabral and his wife, Heather, funnel the profits from Bob Cabral Wines to causes that help put disadvantaged children on a path to success. The winery supports about a dozen nonprofits as its core, especially the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma-Marin, where Cabral serves as a board member. Others include the Healdsburg Future Farmers of America, Healdsburg’s Warm Springs 4-H, Healdsburg area schools, Sonoma Country Day School and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. “We believe that there is nothing more important than changing the life of a child and guiding them to adulthood,” Cabral says. “As Winston Churchill once said, ‘We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.’” Open for tastings by appointment only.
Successful San Francisco businessman Mark Hanson and his wife, Elizabeth, along with daughter Sarah Citron opened this winery in 2020 with the dream of making Bricoleur Vineyards a gathering place for families, friends and special occasions in the Russian River Valley. They are generous supporters of events and causes close to home and across the country, with most of their efforts focused on children and health-related issues, such as Lifehouse, American Cancer Society and SWFL Children’s Charities. As one of the emerging wine companies that donate to charity, Bricoleur Vineyards also hosts many fundraising events and also cause-related wine promotions. In April 2023, Citron was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33, and she chose to use the tragedy to help others and raise awareness with a fundraising campaign called “Sip with Purpose,” which began during October Breast Cancer Awareness Month and continues for one year. Bricoleur Vineyards donates $5 to the V Foundation for cancer research for each bottle of Isla Rose Brut Rosé purchased. The Hansons also personally match the $60 donation from each case purchase of the sparkling rosé. Open by appointment only.
Head High Wines
Inspired by the oceans and climate change, Head High is a cause-focused wine brand from Bill Price III, vintner, entrepreneur, and proprietor of Price Family Vineyards & Estates (PFVE). Born in Los Angeles, Price grew up in Hawaii and decided to honor his love of the ocean and the planet’s natural resources by creating Head High Wines in 2009—the first verified Climate Neutral/Ocean Positive wine brand, meaning the winery offsets its carbon footprint through rebuilding kelp forests, watersheds and mangroves throughout the world. Every year, Head High supports social and environmental organizations through SeaTrees by Sustainable Surf, a nonprofit focused on reversing climate change. SeaTrees directly supports communities and scientists who protect and regenerate blue carbon coastal ecosystems, which can be up to 5-10 times more effective than rainforests at removing carbon from the air. Naturally, the Hawaii Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund also became a charitable focus in 2023. PFVE holds ownership and management of iconic Sonoma Coast vineyards, including Durell, Gap’s Crown, Walala, Alana, One Sky, and William James. In addition to Head High, Price’s other winery ownership interests include Three Sticks Wines, Kistler Vineyards and Gary Farrell Winery. “Community is at the center of all of Bill’s endeavors, and we are always looking for new opportunities to provide support and assistance through philanthropic programs,” says Colette Simpson, general manager at Head High Wines.