Wine is a hot. Everyone is talking about it – Trader Joe's has an entire section, and when Costco’s is the biggest retail player in the game, it means wine is hot for the masses. It’s hottest perhaps in wine country where big ticket auction items include trips to exclusive vineyards and cases of wine going for tens of thousands of dollars at charity galas. People are curious about wine and want in on the culture.
Over the last few years I’ve auctioned or helped produce over 40 wine focused events. I’ve learned that wine is a natural partnership for fundraising events and charity galas.
If you want to take a charity event to the next level and attract a new group of donors, wine is the perfect way to do it. Here’s what I’ve learned about getting wineries to come to, donate, and be part of charity events.
8. INVITE WINERIES TO DO A TASTING.
Many events people ask for wine donations. You can also invite the wineries to come and do a tasting at the event. Typically these happen before and after the program. This way they get to interact with your donors while pouring and highlighting elements of the wine that waiters normally do not know about. Wineries like doing tastings because they get to tell the story of the wine and they’re more likely to gain loyal wine drinkers.
9. HOLD A PRIVATE PRE-EVENT WINE TASTING.
If you have a wine partner, hold your planning committee meeting at the winery. Bring new people to them! Typically, they will give you a tour, and you also get to hold your meeting at a beautiful location. You’ll be sure to guarantee a great turnout.
10. PROMOTE THE WINERY.
Put their branding on everything. If they’ve donated the wine that will be featured, takes lots of photos, put them in the program, say thanks from stage, and include them in the follow-up email. The more you promote them to your audience, the better. Much of wine buying is brand recognition.
11. WORK WITH VINEYARDS TO DEVELOP A UNIQUE AUCTION IDEA.
Ask wineries to donate something for the auction. These are my favorite ideas.
- Crush Party – Get stomping and drinking grapes! You’ll be the envy of all of your friends.
- Stay at guest house – Most wineries have a guest house that they may offer for you.
- Wine Maker Dinner – Have the winemaker come and pair a dinner while talking about the wine.
12. CREATE A BOTTLE SHOP.
Like most things at a gala, you’ve got to see it to believe it. Here’s something we did recently that worked great!
Let’s say you invited 8 wineries to pour at a gala. Ask the wineries to bring some extra cases of wine to set up like a bottle shop, sell it at their wine club price, and give the charity 20% of all the sales.
13. HAVE A WINE PULL.
Ask for a few cases of wine to be donated around the same price point (let’s say $25 for this example). Then mix in a few expensive bottles. Wrap up all of the bottles of wine so they all look the same. Charge $25 per bottle and let guests pull a bottle for a $25 donation. They’re guaranteed a bottle of wine worth at least $25, with a chance of winning an expensive bottle. This creates additional revenue and an exciting game for gala attendees.
14. EXPLORE WINE SPONSORSHIP.
The typical wine sponsorship works by one winery providing and pouring for the entire event. This winery gets to showcase all of their different wines to a captive audience and pair them with all the dishes throughout the evening.
For more Fundraising Charity Auction ideas and helpful tips on planning your next charity fundraiser, follow Generosity Auctions on Facebook or Instagram @GenerosityAuctions. Abra Annes is the leading Charity Auctioneer based in California. Abra is the owner and founder of Generosity Auctions, the premier choice for Non-Profit Organizations looking to maximize their event fundraising.