Friday, June 4, 2010

Oenophilanthropy

Oenophile (or Enophile): Someone who appreciates wine. (Wordnet)

Philanthropy: Voluntary promotion of human welfare. (Wordnet)

Oenophilanthropy (or Enophilanthropy): Appreciating wine in a way which actively seeks to promote human welfare. (Coined at 6:02 pm Eastern time, June 6, 2010, by AZJ. Feel free to use to your heart's content, but please link back to this posting!)


So let's imagine - just for the sake of argument - that you like wine. And let's assume that you're the support of person who likes to support worthwhile causes. How can these two things be linked together?


Well, I suppose that one option would be to establish some sort of wine-tasting charitable function to raise money for your favorite cause. And certainly that's a clever and worthwhile goal.

But another action that even the laziest of oenophiles could perform is to orient your wine-buying activities so that the money goes to businesses that themselves support philanthropic activities.

And there's certainly no shortage of them, as I learned when my mother handed me a page form Food and Wine magazine with the clever title "Grape Causes." (Although I think that Oenophilanthropy is clever, too.) They discuss some great wine-related giving programs:


Wine to Water: This group of oenophilanthropists have done just what I suggested above: raise money through benefit wine events, such as tastings, and use the proceeds to support water access projects around the world. The lack of clean, fresh water is one of the biggest world-wide problems, affecting over 1 billion people worldwide. The organization also produces their own wine label as a means of generating funds.


Indego Africa: This organization sells fair-trade handicrafts, with proceeds going to the Rwandan artisans who craft the items, as well as providing training in entrepreneurship, literacy, and computer skills. How does this impact the oenophilanthropist? Well, they have wine coasters and wine bags.


Boisset Family Estates' Fight Against Hunger: Each bottle of wine sold by the Boisset Family Estates winery results in the donation of three meals for families in need! This is an astounding donation, but it may be over. Though the Food and Wine report is from April 2010, the website itself indicates that this was in place for June through December 2009, with no indication (that I can find) that the program has been extended. They exceeded their goal of 1.2 million meals!


Fledgling Wine: A joint project of Twitter and Crushpad's custom winemaking, this new wine label is created to provide funds for the wonderful Room to Read project. Room to Read provides local-language books to impoverished areas around the world.


O Wine Company: 100% of the net profits from this wine goes to fund scholarships for at-risk youth. In 2009, the owners signed a contract with Oregon State University's Science and Math Integrated Learning Experience (SMILE) program to fund 5 scholarships over 5 years, resulting in a total of 25 needy students who will achieve financial assistance from O Wines.


Korks 4 Kids: This wine cork recycling program uses proceeds to support programs that help children, focusing initial efforts on the Autism Society of America (ASA). The organization's Rubber 4 Rugrats program also recycles rubber-based goods, such as tires, to raise money.


Help for Haiti: Wine producers were among the many people donating to Haiti relief, of course. The Spirit of the Americas (funded by Diageo) donated more than 45,000 pounds of food to Haiti. Constellation Brands provided medical supplies through an ongoing partnership with InterVol.