It was early Monday morning on October 9th when Hayley Johnson of Schatzi Wines turned on the morning news in Hayes Valley, San Francisco to watch reports coming in of the devastating wildfires that had erupted overnight in Napa and Sonoma Counties. Smoke and ashes were filling Northern California’s beloved wine regions and would rage on for 23 days. It was hard to watch for Hayley, who has been in the San Francisco wine and restaurant business for nearly a decade; what was happening there would impact everyone working in the wine community. She wanted to find a way to help—but how?
After the fires broke out local businesses jumped into action – restaurant chefs used commercial kitchens to prepare meals for fire crews on the front lines, hotels provided accommodation for those who lost their homes, retail shops doubled as donation centers to collect and deliver goods. But Hayley is in the business of buying and selling fine wines – donating wine hardly seemed appropriate for fire crews and evacuation shelters.
That’s when Hayley called up a close business partner and friend, Elly Hartshorn, to brainstorm ways they could collaborate on a North Bay fire fundraiser. Elly, a niche wine grower and producer in San Francisco, started a wine warehouse and delivery service in California several years back [Sidekick], which had recently become part of JF Hillebrand USA. Hayley, who oversees the West Coast for Schatzi Wines (a national European wine importer), is just one of the many suppliers who warehouse product in Benicia with JF Hillebrand USA. At the time it was one of the few warehouses that was still able to make deliveries, as the fires in Napa and Sonoma counties continued to spread and remained largely uncontained. That is when the idea struck: why not reach out to all of the customers who warehouse with JF Hillebrand in Benicia and ask if they would be interested in donating product that restaurants could sell by the glass? The donated wine would be delivered to participating restaurants throughout the state, free of charge, with JF Hillebrand USA donating the transportation costs, and the restaurants would promote the fundraiser and donate 100% of the proceeds to charities of their choosing.
So it began –customers collectively offered up 300 cases of wine, 40 cases of craft beer and 8 kegs on JF Hillebrand USA’s last mile delivery order platform for restaurants and retailers to select from for the program. From that list, 125 cases of wine and beer, and 2 kegs, were selected and delivered to accounts across the state. Within a week, the By the Glass fundraiser to help raise money for the North Bay had taken off.
The final restaurant tallies came through in early February, and a total of $47,241 was raised and donated to the following selected charities: Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief, Undocufund Fire Relief, Rebuildwinecountry.org, Chefsgiving, and the Latino Community Foundation.
The success of the By the Glass fundraiser could not have been possible without the generous support of all who contributed. As the fundraiser wrapped up, Hayley at Schatzi thanked all who contributed to the cause noting, “It is truly heartwarming to know that we belong to such an inspiring community that is, undoubtedly, stronger together.”
Participating producers and importers: Cellars 33, Clos Saron, Critical Mass Selections, David Hill Winery, Deux Punx, Flaneur Wines, Highlawn Wine Company, Kinero Cellars, Neighborhood Vineyards, Passionné de Vin Imports, Peregrine Ranch, Schatzi Wines, Selezioni by Paolo Bernardi Inc, Sufferfest Beer Co and Trumpet Wine.
Participating establishments: BiRite, The Slanted Door, Delfina, A.O.C. Group, Spago, Ester’s, Bestia, Fig & Thistle, Everson Royce Bar, Oakland Yard, and the Hillside Supper Club.
About Schatzi Wines
Schatzi Wines is an alternative importer/distributor, narrowing the gap between supplier and consumer. The portfolio will remain small and focused on northern European wines, always with an eye towards competitive, direct pricing and customer service.
About JF Hillebrand USA
JF Hillebrand USA is part of USA is part of the JF Hillebrand group, an international logistics service provider solely dedicated to beer, wine and spirits. With offices in New Jersey, California, and Florida, JF Hillebrand USA transports 2.5 million bottles of wine, beer and spirits per day into, out of, and across the country.