Wine With a Purpose

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Wine With a Purpose

By Bridget Goldschmidt - 11/07/2017

In a manner of speaking, Fetzer Vineyards makes green wine.

“At our Hopland, Calif., winery, Fetzer Vineyards pursues a variety of environmental and social practices, and supports local, community-based philanthropic causes in addition to state and national-level policy efforts in support of climate-smart legislation,” says VP Marketing Rodrigo Maturana. “Some key milestones we’ve achieved at our winery include B Corp Certification (the largest winery in the world to be certified to this rigorous, elective standard); TRUE Zero Waste certification (first wine company in the world to be certified); CarbonNeutral certification (first U.S. wine company certified to the Carbon Neutral Protocol), and California Certified Organic Farmers certification for nearly 1,000 vineyard acres we farm in Mendocino County. We’ve also established ambitious plans for the future to ensure we continue to evolve in our efforts, including a goal to be Net Positive in our operations by the year 2030.”

With such sterling sustainability attainments under its belt, the company is understandably eager to get its message across to potential purchasers at retail. “When it comes to sharing our sustainability accomplishments with grocers and consumers, we engage a variety of mechanisms, from traditional advertising and in-store promotion to social media and PR initiatives that help us spread the word,” notes Maturana. “We often focus on environmental initiatives in our retail partner collaborations, given our history of emphasis in this area and the growing interest we’ve seen in grocery partners to provide consumers with compelling initiatives in this space.”

One key way of doing this is to connect with a grocer’s local landscape. “In 2017, Fetzer Vineyards collaborated with Louisiana grocer Rouses to donate $1 per bottle of Fetzer Vineyards wine sold to Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation’s (LPBF) Save Our Coast program during March and April,” recounts Maturana. “LPBF seeks to restore and maintain the health and vitality of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin for generations to come, and provides various services, including water quality monitoring, coastal sustainability projects and research, and cleanups. … Fetzer Vineyards donated $3,000 to LPBF in the name of Rouses at the program’s conclusion. We plan to pursue meaningful CSR programs that benefit the community in which our products are present in 2018 and beyond.”

As for how maximize the impact of such a campaign, Maturana notes: “Marketing of this type works well at retail when displays are visually compelling and paired with a clear message. The $1 donation for a bottle purchased at Rouses stores allowed consumers to make a defined contribution with their purchase, and we felt that helped them feel directly connected to the program. For this program, Fetzer Vineyards partnered with Republic National Distributing Co. to spread the word among Rouses’ team members. In stores, compelling POS displays engaged consumers with the cause and donation program.”

Asked what more he thought grocers and suppliers could do to promote their social responsibility activities, Maturana replies that they should “collectively come together to convey a specific message and social purpose.”

For more about grocers corporate responsibility efforts, read the article in the November 2017 issue of Progressive Grocer.