By Leeann Froese
Let’s Explore the World of Wine Sponsorship Requests
Because we are lucky enough to promote wineries, we receive many requests to ask our clients for sponsorship. Before I talk about how your request might be a fit, I will first rant a little…
You might not believe this, but wineries get asked to give their wines away every single day. Can you think of another for profit industry that is asked to give their manufactured goods away on a daily basis? Why should a winery give you free wine?
Wineries are for profit businesses. Even when they contribute wines, they need to pay hard costs for the product, handling, and taxes on any wines they donate. If your request is for a for-profit business or ticketed event, then the wineries that we work with are generally not interested in making donations. They’re generally only interested in making a donation if there’s a charitable cause attached to it, or if there is a partial purchase to be joined by a donation. So don’t ask. Work the cost of wine into your budget and purchase it. Or get a license, buy the wine and it at your event and make your profit that way.
Experience tells me that unless wine is an integral part of an event, attendees don’t care or remember the wines they are served. So any wineries giving wine under these circumstances are giving it away without expecting anything in exchange. This is RARE. Again, wineries are for profit, just like shoe stores, spas, restaurants and charity fundraisers.
Due to wine being an adult and beverage alcohol, our clients do not consider partnerships or giving to youth athletic organizations, schools, projects or programs for minors under the age of 19, religious and denominational organizations, or motorized sporting events.
If you made it through the rant and still think you have a good sponsorship fit, then consider the following:
Wineries will sometimes go into partnership with other companies if they have the same target customer and collaboration makes sense. They may do this for personal reasons, or for reasons of social responsibility or maybe purely marketing. These sorts of partnerships are developed strategically and are usually a tactical part of a winery’s marketing plan.
If there is a charitable component to what you are doing, this might influence the winery’s situation. People that own wineries are passionate and caring people, and support community causes when they fit. There are myriad worthy causes but unfortunately not all causes make sense for our clients to support.
We scrutinize charitable asks on behalf of our clients, and to manage your expectations, many do not want ad-hoc requests at all, because as I mentioned, they have alliances with specific charities that they celebrate throughout the year.
Most wineries look for a minimum of three months before they make a decision on supporting an event. In order that you may work together with a winery in the most mutually beneficial way, we ask that sponsorship requests be made in writing preferably three months in advance of when your promotion begins. We will review your request and see if there is a fit with our clients and then get back to you as soon as possible.
To ensure we receive all the required information, as well as to assist you better, we request you include all of the following information in your proposal to us:
Detailed description of what the wine will be used for, including:
- Name of organization or association.
- History, purpose, type of event and what charity will benefit.
- What you are requesting from a winery (quantified): how much wine are you asking for and expected number of event attendees, if applicable.
- What you are proposing to offer as sponsorship benefits. How will the winery be recognized for their donation? From our experience, a logo and thank you in print is no longer sufficient to meet the marketing in exchange for this kind of support.
- Include a list of other promotion/event sponsors.
- What is the advertising support that will include the winery?
- The profile of your audience. Please be as specific as possible.
If you have a sponsorship package, please include it with your request.
It is important for the winery is to know how their wines will be handled. Please include:
- Who will serve the wine?
- How will it be served?
- What kind of glassware will be used?
- Who holds the special occasion license?
Any requests that are missing the components above will not be considered. We want to ensure that organizations requesting product give the donation as much thought as the wineries do.
Once all of the requested information is compiled, send your request in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org