Displays of Kindness Sell Wine at Good Vines and Egalite
Wine and charity make a good pair. Barefoot Wines, the biggest wine label in the U.S., does all its promotions with non-profit organizations. Now a new wine company in Chicago has created a business model that is built around charity.
Good Vines Wine is the brainchild of Sean Thomas and Carlos Quimbo who are based in River North. Sean is the grandson of Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s restaurants. He’s from the Columbus, Ohio area and his grandfather started the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
Carlos Quimbo is a former investment banker from Edina, Minnesota. Carlos’ father is the founder and president of Bel Mondo Italia Corp., producer of Novellino Wines which have a 50% market share in the Philippines.
“Wine is a passionate subject for me, I grew up drinking wine in my house,” Carlos says.
“It’s meaningful to have philanthropy as the cornerstone of our business,” Sean said. “Good Vines is not just a play on words, we’re trying to do good and be good at all aspects of our business.”
Currently, five percent of Good Vines sales go to charity. Thomas and Quimbo both said that they plan to give more to charity as the company grows. Good Vines launched its first label during October of last year.
Both Thomas and Quimbo are on the Board of Common Threads, a Chicago charity that teaches children in underserved communities how to cook wholesome meals. A co-founder of Common Threads is artist Jesus Salgueiro who did the original label art for Good Vines.
“One big issue in wine is how to differentiate yourself,” Carlos said. “Most labels are so bland and conservative. We both are interested in supporting artists because the artists in your community inspire creativity in everyone. Going forward, we are going commission a new artist to do our labels every year.”
One of Good Vines’ red wines is a 100% Mezermino which comes from vineyards in the Breganze region of Italy. According to Sean, “Merzermino was the grape used by Don Giovanni to seduce Donna Anna in Mozart’s opera. There is a legend that this grape has an aphrodisiac quality.”
WineBauer is distributor in for Good Vines in Illinois. Good Vines is also distributed in Indiana. Current plans are to expand into Ohio, Wisconsin and other parts of Midwest. Both Thomas and Qumbo said that they are open to using grapes from anywhere to make wine.
[stextbox id=”custom” caption=”Ã‰galité Sparkling Toasts LGBT Equality” shadow=”true” float=”true”]Introduced in January 2013, Ã‰galité is the first nationally-distributed wine created in support of LGBT equality in the United States and around the world. According to Darren Restivo, owner of Biagio Cru & Wine Estates, who makes the sparkling Ã‰galité, “Our brand is not just a business proposition, we feel strongly about supporting gay rights and programs for LGBT teens.” This January, Restivo also donated $15,000 to an anti-bullying campaign. With gay marriages increasing across the country, Ã‰galité is well positioned to be a part of an increasing number of ceremonies nationwide.[/stextbox]