Bishop's Vineyard, which began in 2006 by planting grape vines on empty cemetery land to make wines, is launching a wine club that will allow registrants to purchase wines at a discount, the net proceeds of which will support various Catholic charities.
Wines are priced from $7.99 to $36.99, and are currently not available at retail outlets, only through the wine club, which will ship purchases to members' homes each quarter. Purchases are not tax deductible by wine club members. Profits to the wine club will support numerous charities and fundraisers, such as the endowment fund for tuition assistance that is a part of the diocesan Capital Campaign and, which will aid needy students wishing to attend Catholic schools.
“There is a cost to get established," Rivello said. "We hope to generate enough to cover our costs.
"It may take three years, maybe less," he said. "We have good potential … if we had 500 people in the wine club, we could conceivably make enough to donate."
Details of wine club membership, bulk purchases by parishes outside the diocese and charitable groups are available on the website, bishopsvineyard.org.
Wine Club members will receive invitations to VIP events and tastings throughout the year.
"A lot of people want to taste the wines before they buy," Rivello said, and Bishop's Vineyard is exploring various tasting events.
Some tastings and events have already taken place, said Kevin F. Sherwood, marketing specialist at Catholic Cemeteries.
A Sept. 12 tasting is planned at Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill, sponsored jointly with the Knights of Columbus. The time and ticket price for the event is to be developed, Sherwood said, but will include wine tasting and a very entertaining jazz concert.
"We expect wine club events to grow," Sherwood said, "and are actively seeking appropriate/exclusive restaurants and retail outlets for locations that the bishop's wines can be purchased.
"The first phase was getting all the licenses in place and completing an appropriate website, along with creating a series of new labels," he said. "We are now starting to bottle for Fall Wine Club release and sales."
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