Wine festival toasts $261K in gifts

The Cincinnati International Wine Festival said it has now raised more than $6.75 million in total for local nonprofits since its inception 31 years ago, including $261,000 donated to 31 organizations as a result of this year’s $520,000 in fundraising.

The announcements were made at a private, invitation-only event at the Kenwood Country Club Sept. 13. Leaders from the benefiting organizations were present, and each received a portion of the festival’s donation in the form of individual checks presented to each charity.

Mary Horn, Wine Festival board member and vice president of fine wine sales and education for Heidelberg

“It is such a joy for us to be able to say we have now raised more than $6.75 million for our local charitable beneficiaries focused on our community’s arts, education, health and human services,” said Connie Wiles, Cincinnati International Wine Festival board president. 

“Like all nonprofits, we struggled through the challenges of the pandemic, but remained dedicated to doing whatever we could to ensure our mission to celebrate the wine industry and give back to our community continued on no matter what,” Wiles said. “We are grateful for the support of wine lovers near and far, and sincerely thank every single person who attended our amazing festival events this year.”

The festival is a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to celebrate the wine industry and raise funds for charities focused on the arts, education, health and human services. The annual celebration is recognized as one of the Midwest’s largest and most prestigious festivals.

Like many charitable causes, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the festival’s ability to regularly host its events the past three years, making this year’s fundraising achievement even more impressive. 

The festival is comprised of five prominent annual events: an international wine competition, a winery dinner series, grand tastings at the Duke Energy Convention Center, and a charity auction and luncheon. All the events were held in May this year rather than March for the first time ever due to COVID-19 spread concerns. The Russ Wiles Memorial Golf Tournament will be held this October.

In 2023, the wine festival expects to return to its usual schedule, with the bulk of its events being held in March. Save the date for the 32nd annual festival, which is set for March 9-11, 2023. Learn more at winefestival.com.

This year’s beneficiaries: ALS Association Central and Southern Ohio; Alzheimer’s Association Greater Cincinnati; Asian Community Alliance; Cancer Family Care; Carnegie Arts Center; Catholic Inner-city School Education (CISE); CHNK Behavioral Health; Cincinnati Ballet; Cincinnati Public Radio; Cincinnati Symphony Club-Audrey Dick Scholarship; Cincinnati Works; Concert Nova; Crayons to Computers; Dan Beard Council Boy Scouts of America; de Cavel Family SIDS Foundation; Dress for Success; Fernside; Freestore Foodbank; Kentucky Symphony Orchestra; Linton Chamber Music Series; Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly; Master Provisions; May Festival; Mercy Neighborhood Ministries; Miami University Foundation – Donald E. Becker Memorial Scholarship; Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State; Project Peace; Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati; Special Olympics Hamilton County; Stepping Stones; Tender Mercies; and Women Helping Women.

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