Goodwillwine David LaityImage supplied by Goodwill Wine

Foodie Profile

David Laity of social enterprise Goodwill Wine


1. David, could you share the story of how you started Goodwill Wine?

In the weeks and months following Black Saturday I found myself for the first time on the receiving end of assistance. Having been a volunteer for most of my adult life, this was a new and challenging perspective. Along with donations of food, clothes, linen and kitchenware, I received $15,000 from the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal. This was money that had been donated by the Australian public to people who had been affected by the fires. I used this money to begin Goodwill Wine. I built a website, bought a few tiny parcels of wines and started passing on half of my profits to my customer’s chosen charities.


Goodwillwine About Us PageImage supplied by Goodwill Wine


2. Tell us about the kinds of wines you stock, and how you select the wines?

Most of my wines are from small batch, boutique wineries located around Australia. Almost all of them are James Halliday rated five-star vineyards and most of the wines have received medals in competition. Because of the nature of my business and the vineyards’ willingness to support a good cause, I can source these wines significantly cheaper than anyone else, which then allows me to pass that saving on to my customers. At the end of the day though it has to be a wine that I really like and of course the price has to be right.


3. You stock quite a number of vegan wines. For those of us who aren’t aware, could you explain what makes a wine vegan?

Vegan wine is a wine that has used no animal products in its making. While fruit is used to make the wine, often animal products are used to remove the sediments left over after fermentation. This process is called fining.  Not all wines are fined and not all winemakers use animal products. Many wines are now fined using filters, which means the wine can be classified as vegan.


Goodwillwine wine bottles croppedImage supplied by Goodwill Wine


4. You donate over 50% of your business profits to a range of causes and charities. For aspiring entrepreneurs, could you share your tips on operating a successful social enterprise?

Running a business that gives away 50% of its profits is extremely challenging. Like all new businesses starting out, you can never be sure that your idea is going to work and as you would expect, you need to make sacrifices. For a long time I lived in the same shed as my wines with only cold running water and a living area I could not stand up in. Winters were particularly brutal.

To run a successful social enterprise you need to have a strong social conscience and be able to place the interests of communities over your own. I am certain that it is our relentless pursuit of profit over everything else that is the cause of many of the world’s problems and I see social enterprise as a part of the solution. I think the only way to fully embrace this business model is to find sustenance in something other than profit. If you can truly embrace community and are willing to work hard, I believe you can make a success of it. There are rewards beyond money to be found and a powerful, rapidly growing niche that will sustain you long after many for-profit-only competitors have disappeared.


5. Your donations reach a wide number of causes and charities. What do you look for in charities and causes you support? 

Most of us have a particular cause that is close to our hearts. I have mine but that is not why I began this social enterprise. To date I have donated over $200,000 to almost 300 charities. I do my due diligence and provided I feel it is a good cause, then I am more than happy to help.



Goodwillwine Bottle Selection

Image supplied by Goodwill Wine



6. Apart from being a social enterprise, could you share other conscious practices within the business? 

Goodwill Wine uses 100% recycled cartons. Where I can I reuse the cartons the wine came in or I use new cartons made from recycled cardboard. We also offset all of our fuel, electricity and freight using Greenfleet.


7. What is next for Goodwill Wine – do you have any projects on the horizon?

Up until recently we have been operating soley as an online business. Recently we began approaching venues to stock our wine in support of Sea Shepherd and the response has been amazing.

With the help of these venues we aim to cover a significant amount of Sea Shepherd’s fuel costs as they head back into the southern oceans later this year to take on the Japanese whaling fleet.

Beyond that it is difficult to say.  The business took quite a few years to become truly sustainable and for the time being I’m just enjoying the feeling that I am making a small difference to the world, putting food on the table and having a warm shower.




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Twitter: @GoodwillWine

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