Introducing: Cultivate Wines

Finally, I get to share this with you! Get ready for a long post, this is the project I’ve been working on for the last several months, and there’s lots to tell you!

Started by my sister and brother-in-law, I’ve been working with a great team of people to get Cultivate up and running. In short, Cultivate makes (awesome) wines and gives 10% of sales to non-profits supporting education and basic human needs. It’s our hope that in ten years, American consumers will insist, by how they spend their dollars, that the companies they buy from have some sort of socially responsible model. In twenty years, we hope that “buying American” is restored as a positive phrase because American companies will be known for their socially responsible models.

One of my favorite things about Cultivate is that we decided that rather than us choosing where the money we would go, we would let the buyers choose, so we’re setting up a voting platform on our website. First, non-profits submit themselves to have a project at their organization funded by filling out a form and creating a video, and then anyone can vote on which projects they think should be funded.

Another cool thing: in addition to wine in bottles, we’re making wine that comes in really beautiful boxes. That’s right, boxed wine. (And no your eyes do not deceive you– there’s a wine called Wonderlust, named after this blog!!)

Yes, we know there’s still a stigma attached to boxed wine, but sooner or later y’all are going to have to come around– it’s the responsible way to consume wine– it has half the carbon footprint of a bottle due to shipping efficiencies and the material!

Also, if you’re like me, when you want a glass of wine with dinner, you don’t necessarily want to open a whole bottle knowing you’ll pour half of it down the drain later. A boxed wine lasts for up to 6 weeks in the fridge!! So you can have a glass any time you want (ha) without worrying about having to waste wine.

Eventually, people will come to see the box as just another packaging format for wine instead of seeing “boxed wine” as a different thing from bottled wine. There’s no such thing really as “boxed wine”– it’s the same wine you could put in a bottle, but it’s in a box instead. So anyway, all that is to say, a ton of companies have made a lot of headway in dispelling bag-in-box wine, but we’re on a mission to get rid of the stigma for good.

Yet another cool thing about Cultivate: we’re using different designers on each label/box. The bottles and boxes you see above are by 6 different designers/artists!

Shout outs to Lindsay McCabe for Dream Walking, Alvin Diec for Double Blind (remember him from this post? I pulled him in to design a label for us! So fun!), famed photographer Fred Lyon for the Gambler photo (along with Catherine Ray on the text and layout), Leigh Nelson for the Feast, Cynthia Warren for the Copa Cabana and Wonderlust labels (Remember Cynthia from this post? Another Wonderlust hall-of-famer I got to pull in for this project), and Catherine Ray for the Copa and Wonderlust box designs and our LOGO!!

Above is a screenshot from the video below, which is integrated into the banner of the homepage on the site. I’m super excited about this video– stop-motion animation and a chalkboard– two of my favorite things! Thank you to Catherine Ray for writing and drawing the entire thing and to Chip Lay for executing the photography and editing. (Post it to facebook/twitter and help us make it viral!)

Finally, be sure to check out the website to learn more, there are lots of fun things to explore– for example, very non-traditional wine descriptions, non-traditional team bios (mad-libs as bios), and a great blog getting underway. Yesterday’s post was by our winemaker about how to taste wine. I’m so happy with how the site came out (and is still coming along, certain pieces are yet-to-be-launched), so huge thank yous to Leo Basica for designing it and Chip Lay for building it!

PS- you can follow Cultivate to stay up-to-date on everything related to the Cultivate lifestyle (wine, social entrepreneurship, giving, recipes, etc) on twitter and facebook. Follow us/like us!

Recently on Editor’s Chair

Some recent Valentine’s-esque inspiration on Editor’s Chair

Are you excited for Valentine’s Day? I know I am! I love Valentine’s Day. Sure, it’s over-commercialized, and sure, if you’re single it can make you feel bitter, but why not just embrace as a day to celebrate love? In high school I used to make my girlfriends Valentine’s mix CDs, and they all always tell me that they still have those CDs! Because really, who doesn’t love love?

But if you’re not convinced, I promise, there’s tons more on Editor’s Chair that has absolutely nothing to do with Valentine’s Day.  Click over to check it out…


1787 Lafitte

Cave de Saint Tropez

Club Montrachet

Wine can be an intimidating world, and few parts of it are as intimidating as Burgundian wines. That’s where Club Montrachet comes in. Club Montrachet is owned and run by a handful of people from Burgundy who are plugged in and know their stuff, and they curate a rotating selection of wines that you order six at a time.  As an additional benefit, as a member of the club, you get the wines at a discount because you are bypassing the markups tacked on by distributors.

On top of that, their site, designed by Shane Edelman, is just really awesome and totally breaks the mold of what you might imagine from a French wine club. Fresh, approachable, and hip.

I particularly loved this little video, with it’s charming writing-on-photos + voiceover approach and Amelie-style music (I’m pretty sure that actually is a Yann Tiersen song playing!).

Lastly, I have to tell you, when I emailed Philippe Faraut, the president, about writing a post on Club Montrachet, expecting that maybe I would hear back, maybe not, he personally called me back about an hour later to talk about the company and to hear about Wonderlust! He clearly has a passion for this project, which is just a side hobby for him, and if I didn’t already love the concept, I certainly do now! How’s that for a personal touch?

Monte dos Cabacos

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