Recently I was reading a wine business news story about a major wine corporation donating thousands of dollars to a non-profit that had absolutely nothing what-so-ever to do with the wine business. It wasn’t for disaster relief, which one always understands; it was more an act of random kindness, from an outside observer’s perspective. I was really struck by that; because of my role in the wine business, as the founder and executive director of a wine advocacy group. Interestingly, this company does grow Petite Sirah, the variety I champion everyday, but they don’t support the advocacy group with membership.

I found this to be a bit ironic, and then moved on. I can’t even remember what company it was now… It was that forgettable, and probably that was a bit of self preservation at the time… “Just move on and don’t get emotionally involved” is something that I might have said to myself.

Then, I got this miraculous Email from Liz Conant on behalf of Mirassou Winery.

Hi Jo,

I’m contacting you with a suggestion for your wine blog “Juicy Tales from Jo Diaz.” I noticed that you sometimes write about news from different wine brands, so I thought this might be a fit and also something your readers may be interested in.

Mirassou Winery recently launched its inaugural Bright Ideas grant program which will award $20,000 in grants this year to entrepreneurial individuals to help turn their bright ideas (large and small!) into reality – perfect for someone who might be looking to start their own small business, or to ramp up a current small business. The grant program celebrates more than 155 years of Mirassou family history and pioneering spirit that is steeped in entrepreneurism, innovation and empowerment. From now until October 31, 2011, applicants may submit their bright idea (large or small) at for consideration and can also view the official terms and conditions. Applications may not exceed 1,000 words and will be judged on criteria that includes relevance of the bright idea to the Mirassou spirit of entrepreneurism, innovation and empowerment. Interested parties can learn more about the Bright Ideas grant program and apply on the Mirassou Facebook page:

I appreciate your consideration of this.

Are you kidding me? A company within the wine industry that”s giving back to its own industry is something that I can champion.

Does this have something to do with their logo being a sunshine? That’s definitely pretty bright, and a point of interest for me. I named my first daughter Katie Sunshine… I easily get that one.

Does this have something to do with the fact that their website has a drop down menu for “Wine Education?” That’s certainly brilliant… It says, “Consumers, you’re welcome here, and we know that some of you may not yet know all that you want to about wine; but, we’re here to help you through that.”

Does this grant say, “We want the best and brightest among you to put your thinking caps on, and work toward making your dreams a reality”? It surely does.

This single act of generosity, a grant that will total $20,000, which will stay within the business, is well worth writing home about.

Congratulations Mirassou, you got my immediate attention on a Friday night, as I was headed out the door. And, a personal big “thank you” to you.

For those of you interested in the possibility of making your wine dreams a reality, get your thinking caps on and good luck with this one!

Mirassou Bright Ideas™ Grant Program


BACKGROUND: The Mirassou Bright Ideas Grant Program is inspired by the Mirassou family’s more than 155 year winemaking legacy steeped in entrepreneurism, innovation and empowerment and passed down through strong women. As America’s oldest winemaking family, the Mirassou family’s pioneering spirit has led to numerous winemaking innovations that continue to shape the wine industry today.

GRANT PROGRAM: Mirassou’s Bright Ideas Grant Program will award five $3,000 grants to individuals with bright ideas to help turn their ideas into reality. In addition, the five grant recipients will also be voted on at the Mirassou Winery’s Facebook page, with the highest vote earner being awarded an additional grant of $5,000.



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