Hosting a Wine Tasting Fundraiser

Are you looking for fantastic ideas and tips on hosting a wine tasting fundraiser?

Before we get into them though, let's find out why a wine tasting function can be such a great fundraising event! I'm personally a huge fan! :-) Maybe it's just because I love wine so much!

You'll also find some fantastic advice and guidance on how to run a profitable Wine Tasting Fundraiser in the Almanac of Fundraising Ideas ebook (click to read my review of it).

Some Benefits of This Fundraiser...

  • Wine Tasting is an exceptionally popular social event. After all, who doesn't enjoy tasting wine?! This means finding supporters/attendees for the event is relatively easy.
  • The above point also means that you can pull in people outside of your supporter base, purely on the attractiveness of the event. And so grow your donor/supporter database as well.
  • Wine companies and vineyards are constantly looking to promote their wines. This makes finding sponsorships for the fundraiser easier. And helps reduce costs.
  • Like many events you can incorporate a few different fundraisers into it.
  • Which means the fundraising potential of a wine tasting fundraiser is excellent!

Raise fantastic funds by hosting a wine tasting fundraiser. (Photo by Visitnola, New Orleans / Flickr)

Let's take a look at that fundraising potential...

Fundraising Potential:

There will be many fundraising benefits from hosting a Wine Tasting fundraiser that won't only include the actual funds raised from the evening.

One of the biggest benefits will be new people that are introduced to your cause, who you can build relationships with and potentially convert to recurring donors.

So how will you fundraise on the evening?

Ticket Sales

Obviously you will start with ticket sales. Discuss carefully with your committee and your wine merchant partner on what the right ticket price should be.

When deciding, consider what you are (and are not) going to offer for free with the ticket - Tasting wine (obviously), dinner, snacks, cool drinks, etc. are all options.

Make sure you cover costs with the ticket price, plus make a profit on top, without being too expensive.

Wine Sales

You will obviously have the wines that your supporters will taste during the evening on sale.

These wines will be sold by the merchant you partner with, but you should also receive a percentage of the sales. So when partnering with a merchant, make sure this is discussed and a percentage is agreed upon.

The Wine Tasting Fundraiser is a super cool fundraising event that has successfully used for years. (Photo by Nick Webb / Flickr)

Wine Pull Raffle

A wine pull raffle is a fantastic idea for your event.

Supporters purchase a wine bottle that they pull from a selection of cheap and expensive wines, that have been wrapped to hide their value.

Essentially purchasing the chance to pull a top quality wine, but still coming away with at least a bottle of wine if they don't!

Find out more about this awesome fundraiser here.

Other Raffles

Any raffle will always work well at an event, as long as the prizes are desirable and the tickets aren't too expensive.

So definitely consider adding a raffle to your function if you don't decide to do a wine pull. Or you can add it on top of the wine pull.

Silent Auction or Live Auction

Fundraising dinners and Gala events are the perfect place to hold a silent auction... And the same thing applies when hosting a wine tasting fundraiser.

It will mean more organizing and work. But it will also mean larger funds raised!

For some great silent auction ideas, check out Sherry Truhlar's Fundraising Auction blog. You can also look to incorporate your Silent Auction online to increase bidding before the event.

And of course the other option is to have a live auction during the function.

Supporter & Organizational Apparel

I believe you should always give your supporters the opportunity to publicly broadcast their support of your cause!

And one of the best ways of doing this is through branded apparel.

So definitely have your Fundraising Apparel on display and for sale, when hosting a Wine Tasting Fundraiser.

Hosting a Wine Tasting Fundraiser:

So now that you understand why this is a great fundraising event and how you will fundraise with it, let's look into how to organize and host a wine tasting fundraiser.

For an event of this size you will need a committee and at least a few volunteers. So make sure you have that in place before you start making decisions.

Choose people with different skills that can take care of different aspects of the event.

Then you need to organize and decide on where you'll source your wine from, what venue you'll host it at, what prize items to solicit, ticket prices (and what that ticket includes), the format for the evening, and a promotion plan.

And importantly, you need to have a clear and defined goal for the fundraiser!

Find a Wine Merchant
to Partner With:

Without the wine, hosting a wine tasting fundraiser just won't happen. So this is your first important thing to organize.

Lucky enough though, a well organized wine tasting event provides a fantastic marketing opportunity for a wine merchant, with a few different benefits...

  1. Firstly they will make wine sales on the actual night.
  2. But more importantly they will expose a wide range of their wines, to a wide audience of people. Many of whom will be wine fanatics.
  3. They will also get the opportunity to mix with the attendees, build relationships, and deeply promote their wines.

So make sure that you promote those benefits when approaching a potential wine sponsor.

Shop around and find the best deal...

Don't just take the first wine merchant you approach. Make sure that you find the best possible deal you can, by "shopping around."


You will quite clearly need a venue that can cater for your event.

Restaurants, School or Church halls, community halls, public gardens, or a Vineyard conference venue, all make very suitable locations.

Often restaurants etc. will be happy to give you their venue for free if they receive enough value from the event. So look for a free hire, or find a sponsor to cover the costs of the venue.

You also need to make sure that the venue will be able to cater for all your needs during the evening.

The Event:

Obviously much of this will need to be planned and discussed with your committee.

But definitely get as much advice from the wine merchant as possible, as they will likely have prior experience with hosting a wine tasting fundraiser.

Learn how to host a super profitable Wine Tasting Fundraiser! (Photo by Bill Rice / Flickr)

You'll need an MC (Master of Ceremonies) to run the evening, and keep it flowing. Use him/her to keep the audience involved and informed.

The MC should also update the crowd on Silent Auction Items that need promoting, or ones that are steamrolling with bids, to increase interest.

The wine merchant will then introduce the wines and run the actual tasting of the evening.

Format for tasting...

Discuss with your committee and the wine merchant as to how the tasting should happen.

Will you have different tables with different wines, where people can move around to? Or will everyone be seated and have the wine delivered to them by volunteers/waiters.

Decide on what will work best for your event and for the Wine Merchant.

Ensure it's a fun evening!

One of the most important aspects is to ensure that you hold an absolutely mind-blowing fun event!

The more fun supporters have - The more inclined they are to give and support your cause!

Don't Forget To Also:

  • Solicit raffle and/or auction items.
  • Decide on your ticket price and what that ticket will include.
  • Have a promotion plan. This is key to your events success!!! For ideas on promoting your fundraiser, read here.
  • AND THANK EVERYONE! Make sure you show full appreciation to all involved. Committee members, volunteers, attendees, the wine merchant, and other sponsors!

Good luck with your fundraiser! :-)

And remember to grab a copy of Joe Didonato's Almanac of Fundraising Ideas for more info on hosting a wine tasting fundraiser. Click here to read my review of this comprehensive cracker of an ideas book.

Other Great Fundraising Events:

A Golf Day Tournament

Tenpin Bowling

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› Hosting a Wine Tasting Fundraiser

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