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If a leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that lights the fire.

Posted by David Laity on
If a leader is the flint,  the first follower is the spark that lights the fire.

Ten years ago I really didn't expect we would get to this point. I suppose I wasn't sure what I expected.

I just hoped that it was possible to find some nice wines and if I removed all of the money hungry motives behind running a business, I might be able to help some good causes along the way. It felt simple.

Back then social enterprise wasn't a thing. I was a young man with a crazy plan and to be frank, I felt very alone. It was a dark time with the only glimmers of light coming from my once a year trip home to Queensland, my handful of friends and my fleeting contacts with you, my customers.

I drew strength from your emails and I became addicted to writing my 'thank you' notes. For me they were little reminders that there were real people out there who shared my dream. It kept me going when everything else was screaming at me to stop.

And then came the call from Mark, an amazing man from an equally amazing organisation called Social Traders. He told me what I was; a social enterprise, and he welcomed me into the fold. At last I had found my family.

So much has changed over that time and this year Goodwill Wine finally turned a profit. We have always donated a set dollar amount from our wines regardless, and in the first few years this money came from my part-time job. As the business grew I was able to leave that job and a few years later I moved out of the warehouse and into a little rental house. While personal profits remained elusive, the business continued to grow, as did the donations.
Then came the investors and we began to expand. As we got bigger, so did our overheads - a bigger warehouse, more staff, marketing, labeling machines, printing machines, forklifts, pallet racking and a bigger selection of wines.
Growing soaked up much of the money, but it drove a huge increase in turnover, and consequently doubled and then tripled our donations.
Last week I spoke with our accountant and I'm happy to report that Goodwill Wine is finally making as much money as it is donating to charity. This is a watershed moment for us and the beginning of the next stage in our journey - to donate even more from every bottle sold.
My goal from the start was to create a sustainable business without all of the greed, and while this has taken a little longer than I had hoped, thanks to all of our wonderful supporters we have finally arrived.
Many of you have been on this journey with me for quite some time and many more of you are new. But you all have one thing in common.. You got here early. Somehow you have seen the method in the madness before it morphed into the mainstream and in so doing, you have kept me afloat in so many different ways. For this, I really can't thank you enough, it is the thing that keeps me going.
I am looking forward to seeing my family this Christmas (fingers crossed). Like a lot of you it has been far too long between drinks and as we begin to tentatively venture back out into the world, I am wishing you all the love that you so richly deserve. I hope you get to celebrate this coming holiday period with your favourite people and above everything else, you all stay safe.
I want to thank you again for taking the chance on me, it has changed my life and in no small way the fortunes of so many great causes.
Merry Christmas


While I love our weekly gift pack giveaways, I love this competition the most. Every year it grows as we add more and more winners. I suppose it is a bit counter-intuitive... let's give people so much wine that they never come back. But for me it's a wonderful gift that can be shared with friends. It can spread the word about Goodwill Wine to those who have never heard of us before, and most importantly it can get the conversation going about the charities you supported.

Thank you to everyone who bought some wine over the past three months and automatically entered the draw. I wish I could make everyone a winner but of course that's not possible. So, to those who have won, congratulations and to those who didn't, I hope you enjoyed your wines and saw some real value in them above and beyond the charity donation.

So without further ado, the winners are....


1st Prize (12 cases of wine): Courtney Semmler

2nd Prize (6 cases of wine): Michael Swanson

3rd Prize (3 cases of wine): Carol Croce

4th Prize (2 cases of wine): Stephen Hesselwood

5th Prize (1 case of wine): Tegan Clark

Congratulations to the winners.

And to all those who weren't so lucky , we will be running this competition and many more in 2022.

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  • Grace on

    Hope you and the team are getting a bit of a break over Christmas and the new year. So glad we are now in the wine club with a regular delivery. One less thing to think about! Thanks for all you do for the amazing list of charities, too 😊

  • Carol Croce on

    Omigod! More wine to enjoy! Thank you SO MUCH! I am so grateful to have found your fabulous company. Excellent wine and all the while supporting worthy causes. David, NEVER stop writing the notes. I think I look forward to them as much as my next bottle of rose :-) Goodwill Wine is the blueprint for a true social enterprise and I am proud to be your customer. Here’s hoping that 2022 is an improvement over 2021 (low bar, I agree) and Goodwill Wine keeps growing from strength to strength.

  • Bob Briggs on

    I can’t remember when I bought my first case from you, David, but I’ve never bought wine from anywhere else since. It’s just a pity I don’t drink more often! Your story, starting from the 2009 fires, is heartwarming and inspirational. May your business prosper!

  • Mel on

    Thank you for all that you do and being an amazing human being! Love your work and I love the wine. I won’t buy from anywhere else now. The world needs more people like you. Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years xxx

  • Tanya on

    Aren’t these people the greatest?! They do all the work for us in selecting the best wines and send them out to us with beautiful notes of thanks. We don’t have to leave the house – it’s like having a personal shopper! Fabulous selection, wonderful presentation and magical service. Who could ask for more? Added bonus, we are all helping to support those charities! GOODWILL WINE ROCKS!

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