PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Willamette Valley Vineyards is helping raise money for food banks with a Willy Wonka-inspired idea!
Last summer, Willamette Valley Vineyards hid “golden” coins in 200 wine bottles. The program was so successful, they’re bringing it back on an even larger scale.
The idea was one that Willamette Valley Vineyards Founder Jim Bernau came up with in the shower.
“The program was really fashioned after the Willy Wonka golden ticket idea — and we really wanted to solve a problem and that was that our charities, especially our food bank charities, were having a great deal of trouble raising money because of the gathering restrictions during the pandemic,” Bernau explained.
Wine lovers who found a gold coin in their bottle also found instructions on how to get in touch with the winery. The lucky winners then let the vineyard know which food bank they’d like $50 donated to.
Bernau says they donated a total of $20,000 to various food banks.
“I was really worried about what was happening,” Bernau explained. “Food insecurity in Oregon is a serious problem. In fact, Oregon ranks among the highest states for food insecurity.
Coming off what Bernau says was their most profitable year in their 38 years of business — Willamette Valley Vineyards is expanding the gold coins this time around, hiding them in 500 bottles sold across the country. Those who find the coins this year will also get $100 toward a tasting room experience, along with being entered to win an Oregon wine country getaway — a promotion that benefits food banks and wine enthusiasts alike.
“We’ll host them at Willamette Valley Vineyard and feed them, our chef will take care of them and we’ll give them a great experience learning about Oregon wine,” Bernau said.
To find out more about the Golden Coin promotion, click here.