Giving Back

Fruit of the Vine

A California winery and the Anaheim Convention Center are greening the globe, one bottle at a time.

Meeting- and party-goers at the Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) can enjoy their wine with a clear conscience, thanks to a partnership between ACC and Trinity Oaks Wines, its house wine. Through its One Bottle, One Tree program, the St. Helena, Calif.– based winery plants one tree for each bottle of wine sold. In 2011, the convention center purchased about 6,300 bottles from the winery. As a direct result, 6,300 trees were planted.

“There’s no gimmick, there’s no fine print. They buy a bottle, we plant a tree,” said Tim Peters, marketing director for Trinchero Family Estates, parent company of Trinity Oaks.

One Bottle, One Tree was Peters’ brainchild. When he came on board in 2008, he felt that Trinity Oaks’ positioning wasn’t as strong as it could be and that the label was getting lost in a highly competitive market. Peters suggested taking the money the company had been spending on point-of-sale marketing (seasonal displays and paper products for liquor and grocery stores) and transferring it to a new cause-marketing program in partnership with the nonprofit organization Trees for the Future, which has been involved in reforesting since the 1970s.

Since the launch of One Bottle, One Tree four years ago, Trinity Oaks has helped plant more than six million trees, translating to thousands of new forest acres in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. And “on-premise” customers such as restaurants, bars, hotels, catering services, and convention centers embraced the promotion with such enthusiasm that the label is now focused on that market segment. “A lot of these accounts have their own green initiatives and they love the concept,” Peters said. “This gives them an opportunity to promote their green efforts, and all they have to do is buy a bottle of wine.”

ACC is one of those on-premise customers with a commitment to environmentally friendly practices. The largest LEED-certified convention facility in the country, ACC incorporates sustainable practices whenever possible – including a 2,000-square-foot green-roof garden that supplies fresh herbs to its catering services, and even its own herd of 75 grass-fed cattle.

So when Debbie Juliana, director of marketing and VIP services for Aramark, ACC’s catering company, learned about One Bottle, One Tree from her wine distributor in 2010, it sounded like a good fit. “Any time a vendor can partner with us on a story of being environmentally friendly or having green practices,” Juliana said, “it’s a plus for us.”

Trinity Oaks is available in all 50 states through distributors, so any meeting planner in the country should be able to request it for events. Of course, it wouldn’t matter how many trees the winery promised to plant if its product was no good. “A lot of the catering and convention-center business is price-driven,” Peters said. “Our price has to be good and our quality has to be good. After that, the focus of our sales pitch is One Bottle, One Tree.”

The Ask

Making your meeting greener could be a lot easier than you think – and might be as simple as starting a dialogue with your vendors. Debbie Juliana, director of marketing and VIP services for Aramark at the Anaheim Convention Center, regularly asks her business partners about their own environmental initiatives. One such conversation led her to the One Bottle, One Tree program. “The most important thing is to find out what resources you have at your disposal, and then utilize them,” Juliana said. “Ask questions.”

Learn more about the One Bottle, One Tree program.

Molly Brennan

Convene Contributing Editor Molly Brennan is a freelance writer and editor based in Highland Park, Illinois.