HOW TO REQUEST A DONATION FOR WINE
Each year we give away about $30,000 in
wine and gift items for various reasons. We get requests for
ten times this amount from a variety of sources. If you are
requesting a donation, please read our frequent misconceptions
and our priority list before submitting your request.
1. All wineries are about the same.
False. Our annual production of 7,500 cases would not even fill
one small tank out of hundreds at a large winery like Chateau
Ste. Michelle. The barrel storage room at Columbia Crest is
larger than our Morrison Vineyard. Yet, we get about the same
number of requests for donations. We give away about 3% of our
annual production - probably a much larger percentage than large
2. Washington wineries sell a lot of
wine in state. False. Only one bottle in five sold in this
state was produced here. Most of the wine comes from some place
else. This is not due to the fact that Washington State lacks
the production capability to meet the demand; we just lack the
marketing ability. Many wineries are leaving tanks empty and
farmers are leaving fruit on the vine for lack of markets. This
hurts the local economy. The number one selling wine in
Washington State at this writing is Beringer White Zinfandel
from California. (Have you contacted Beringer for a donation?)
3. Washington wines are well
distributed in the state. False. Look in
Safeway, Albertson’s, and Costco and you will
find only a handful of the largest brands represented out of the
800 plus wineries in the state. Most of the wine on the shelf
will be from California, Chile, and Australia. If our wine is
not available in your local supermarket, we will probably not be
interested in supporting your community charity or event.
4. Wineries just give away wine to
anyone who asks to get their name out and to get you to buy their
brand. False. Wine is very expensive to produce and
package. Wineries do promotions, but we learned long ago that
distribution in an area precedes promotion. Let’s say a
consumer likes your wine at a promotional event in Sedro Wooly
or Pe El. He/she will only look in the local supermarket once
for the brand. If it is not there, the promotional value was
lost. See #3.
5. Wineries get a big tax deduction for
donating wine. False. Wineries are forced by the IRS to
use accrual (say ‘A cruel’) accounting method. With accrual
accounting, the tax is paid when inventory is increased – not
sold or donated. The deduction is earned with the inventory is
reduced. Therefore, we get the same deduction for selling wine
as we get for giving it away. We don’t get a magical $100
deduction for that bottle of 1999 Chateau Poobeaux that cost us
$3.00 to produce. We get a $3.00 deduction no matter what the
retail selling price was. Don’t even bother with the receipt –
breakage reduces inventory, too. There is no tax incentive to
donate wine or break bottles.
6. Washington wine is available on
restaurant wine lists. False. Perhaps the largest brands
are, but the Wine Commission gave awards to those restaurants
with a paltry 15% of their wine list dedicated to Washington
wines (They started with 20%). They had a hard time finding any
restaurants to give the award to at the 20% level.
PRIORITY OF DONATIONS
1. Wine samples are given to potential customers -- distributors, retailers, and consumers at the winery – in order to
2. Wine is given to industry tastings and events and entered in contests to promote the brand and the industry –in order
to generate sales.
3. Wine is given to tourist related activities such as travel writers, and the Yakima Visitor and Convention Bureau
promotional events – in order to generate sales.
4. Wine is given to local (Toppenish to Selah) charities that we support. We also sell deeply discounted wines to other charities and non-profit groups around the state. You may request discounted
5. Wine is given to charities of friends and good customers. (If you are a good
customer, be sure your purchases are recorded on our Case Buyers Club form. We do keep track and check your record when a request is made.)
6. Clubs, fraternal organizations, social groups, etc. Good luck!
Try Beringer, Kendall Jackson, or Turning Stomach – all available at your local supermarket.