An exploratory study of wine business philanthropy in the USA

Armand Gilinsky Jr (School of Business and Economics, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California, USA)
Sharon Lee Forbes (Faculty of Commerce, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand)
Rosana Fuentes-Fernández (Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Universidad San Jorge, Villanueva de Gallego, Spain)

International Journal of Wine Business Research

ISSN: 1751-1062

Publication date: 18 June 2018



The purpose of this paper is to investigate philanthropic practices in the US wine industry, as prior research on charitable giving by wine industry participants is limited. Earlier studies on corporate philanthropy are inconclusive about the direction and the degree of community philanthropy on organizational effectiveness. There are also notable research gaps, including the lack of research into philanthropy in small businesses and the dominance of US studies.


This paper reviews the literature on corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, presents a series of propositions and a theoretical model, sets forth a research schema to investigate to what extent philanthropic activities are motivated by altruistic as well as strategic considerations across the global wine industry and reports preliminary findings from a sample of 100 US wine producers.


In brief, 99 per cent of the wine businesses surveyed significantly engaged in altruistic behavior in their local communities, primarily helped local charities, donated at the median 150 cases each year, and those activities represented about 1 per cent of pre-tax profits, comparable to or above giving by other participants in other industries.

Research limitations/implications

As survey data were self-reported, empirical proof has yet to be obtained to support or refute the findings of this investigation. Comparisons to philanthropic practices in other wine regions of the world are not yet completed.

Practical implications

Wine producers pursue community stewardship and maintain good corporate citizenship to create direct benefits apart from economic growth or jobs, but future research is needed to ascertain whether motivations are primarily altruistic or strategic.

Social implications

Communities embrace the presence of wine businesses to foster job creation and economic activity, but remain uncertain about the other community benefits.


This exploratory paper fills a major gap in understanding with respect to examining motives for giving and expected outcomes by wine industry participants.



Gilinsky Jr, A., Forbes, S. and Fuentes-Fernández, R. (2018), "An exploratory study of wine business philanthropy in the USA", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 201-217.

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