Goodwill Wine is Australia's only social enterprise that helps good causes by sourcing the best vegan-friendly wine around and giving half their profits to charity.
Following their double win in the 2021 Nourish Vegan Awards, we sat down with founder and CEO David Laity to find out more about what Goodwill Wine does, and why.
SUCCESS IN THE NOURISH VEGAN AWARDS
CL: Goodwill Wine took out the Best Vegan Wine and People’s Choice trophies in this year’s Nourish Vegan Awards. Why do you think the Nourish community is so enamoured with what you do?
DL: I think the Nourish community embodies a burgeoning movement towards conscious living – whereby people are actively seeking opportunities to reflect their values in their daily choices. Nourish readers and voters in the awards are front-runners when it comes to ethical living, and showing that we can live well while doing good.
The reality is, this entire project would be nothing without our cherished community who want to give back with every sip. Knowing that such kindness is out there lifts me up every day, just as it did when I was on the receiving end of philanthropy after losing my home in the Black Saturday bushfires.
WHY VEGAN WINES?
CL: Your whole collection is vegan friendly, meaning none of your wines use animal products (such as gelatine, milk, fish or eggs) in the fining process – still a common practice in many wines. What made you choose to stock vegan-only wines?
DL: With so many alternatives to using animal products in wine-making, I think the question should be, “Why does anyone make non-vegan wines?” In fact, traditional viticulture used either no fining agents, or innately vegan ones like clay. Fortunately this is still common practice in numerous wineries, so we are never short of options that are vegan by default. As a company that loves our animal friends, this decision is a no-brainer. Drink wine, help save animals. There’s really no good reason not to!
WHY ANIMAL CAUSES?
CL: Goodwill Wine is well-known for giving 50 percent of profits to charities chosen by the customer. In your 12 years of operation, animal causes have been beneficiaries on a huge scale. Can you tell us more about this, and why it’s a focus?
DL: With so many animals in need – be they abandoned pets, animals suffering on factory farms, wild species losing their homes, or marine creatures in peril – it’s no surprise that our compassionate customers so regularly choose to put their dollars behind charities dedicated to helping them. In turn, this is something we are proud to support, through an ever-growing number of animal charity partners.
It’s gratifying to know that, for example, donations through Goodwill Wines have enabled Animals Australia to conduct five international animal cruelty investigations, and helped Sea Shepherd save twelve whales by paying for fuel for their Southern Ocean campaigns.
Besides Animals Australia, our first ever animal charity partner, there is a special place in my daughter’s and my heart for Edgar’s Mission, which I am fortunate to call my local farm sanctuary. Their founder Pam is a living legend, doing incredible work to bring about an animal-friendly future along with her fantastic team (a special shout-out to Kyle).
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE YOUR WINES?
CL: Can you talk us through the process for bringing a new wine into your collection?
DL: I began Goodwill Wine as a way to reward the supporters of good causes with good value wines, and so it is the curating of the wines that takes precedence over everything else in the business.
Australia is blessed with so many great wine regions, and I’m fortunate to be able to tap into them all. I particularly love it when I discover someone doing something completely out of the norm. Whether it be miraculously producing a supremely delicate Sauvignon Blanc from Cambrian soils or using Amphora pots instead of oak, there is so much experimentation to get excited about.
I also love working with growers who care about sustainability, and many of ours use organic practices even if they aren’t formally certified.
WALKING THE TALK EVERY STEP OF THE WAY
CL: You don’t stop at enabling donations to a huge range of charities that help animals, people and planet. You also like to walk your talk on social and environmental issues in other ways too.
DL: Yes, it’s true. I’ve always been keen to reflect these concerns within Goodwill Wines’ business practices. We only use 100 percent recycled cardboard packaging, and every year we offset our shipping and transport emissions via Greenfleet, a nonprofit which plants native biodiverse forests in Australia and New Zealand to restore critical ecosystems and capture carbon.
We also employ from Australia’s disadvantaged. In fact half of our team have been made up from either people who were long term unemployed or living with a disability, and they have all earned above award wages. It is an honour to provide these opportunities for capable people to fulfil their potential: the chance to live with dignity and purpose, which should be available to everyone but all too often isn’t. It’s another way we seek to do our bit.
WE HEARD IT ON THE GRAPEVINE
CL: David, we’ve heard you have some exciting news to share. Can you let us in on what’s next for Goodwill Wine?
DL: We are extremely excited about the next steps for Goodwill Wine. It was amazing that Coles was an official partner in this year’s Nourish Vegan Awards – testament to the growing mainstream push towards a vegan lifestyle. We were also invited to send in samples of our wines by Endeavour Drinks immediately following the win, and so I expect you will be seeing us on the shelves of some big wine stores very soon. We can’t wait to embark on this new phase of our growth and impact!
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