Petaluma, California based Glasshaus Wine Company is offering a twist on the traditional wine club through a crowdfunded subscription model to finance its yearly production costs. Similar to community a supported agricultural models, supporters become members by purchasing annual wine ‘Shares’ prior to the wine being produced. Each share equals one case of Glasshaus wine at a 20% discount off the retail price. Members can purchase as many shares (cases) as they like and they are rewarded with greater discounts the longer they remain in the program.
Glasshaus also pledges another 20% of their profits to youth mentoring organizations across the country. In the Petaluma area, these monies will be allocated to Mentor Me Petaluma, a local non-profit helping at-risk Petaluma youth with adult mentoring relationships. Outside of Petaluma, member geography and sales demographics determine the distribution of donations to similar programs.
And what about the wine? Glasshaus sources its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes from the award-winning Sangiacomo Vineyards and produces its ultra-premium wine at the state-of-the-art Keller Estate winery, two prestigious local winegrowing and winemaking companies. The 2013 average retail price for Glasshaus wines is $456/case but $364.80/case ($30.40/bottle) for Members.
Understanding the growing demand for corporate transparency and accountability, Glasshaus provides its members with unparalleled visibility into its operations through monthly vineyard reports, winemaking data, and annual reports of operations including efficacy details of its philanthropy. Members are encouraged to nominate mentoring programs in their communities and are also consulted for wine quality feedback and future varietal production. “How can we call ourselves a Community Supported Winery if we don’t keep our community engaged and involved in helping shape our future? It’s the reason we are here,” says Rodney Gagnon, Founder and CEO.
By focusing on direct sales, Glasshaus avoids traditional distribution and marketing costs, allowing them to pass the savings onto the community. “Our goal is to build a sustainable wine business dedicated to becoming a pillar in the Petaluma community and to donate more than $150,000 annually to successful youth mentoring programs,” concludes Gagnon.
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