Hosting a wine tasting for your charity can be both fun and rewarding. You can determine the size based on your situation, connections and comfort level. It can be an event such as a recent one held at a business location and featured here, or a small, intimate one in your back yard.
One of my fellow St. Jude Heroes raised $1500 in one evening by using a local auto dealership showroom. Fruit, cheese and light snacks were donated by a local caterer and 10 bottles of wine were donated by local wine stores. In addition, each guest was asked to bring two bottles of the same wine, one for tasting and the other for “purchase.” You can’t actually sell wine without a license, so people were asked to make a “donation.” Guests who wanted to attend but not bring wine were asked to make a $15 donation.
Guests would sample the wines and “bid” on the bottle. You have to be flexible and if someone is leaving early, accelerate the final bid. Your objective is to get the donations!
The 10 donated bottles were wrapped identically and people purchased for $20 a random “number” assigned to each bottle. One of these bottles was valued at $100, with several in the $50 range.
Thoughts and hints:
- Get EVERYTHING donated. The goal is to raise money, and everyone understands.
- Do not pay for a location. Many businesses would gladly host this event.
- The wine being “purchased” was either donated or brought by the guests, so no inventory cost.
- Have jars with money on tables to encourage people to make cash donations.
- Don’t make the event too long. People are there to sample, purchase, donate and leave.
- Get volunteers to dress appropriately to keep the event “upscale.”
- Have music plus someone to announce the happenings and share information on wines.
- With internet access or on your smart phone, you can have donations made directly into your St. Jude Heroes donation page, which sends the donor a receipt.
- Not aligning with just one store may help you get more donated wine from multiple ones.