“Wine symbolizes fortune in our society. Our goal is to give the fortunate population an opportunity to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.” – Wine To Water
Doc Hendley, founder of Wine to Water, dreamed up the concept of this water charity while bartending and playing music in nightclubs in Raleigh in 2003. The dream became reality in 2004, when he held his first fundraiser – a wine event that helped him pay for the installation of water systems in Darfur, Sudan. In fact, Doc was living in Darfur in August of that same year, installing the systems, himself.
Wine to Water is based on Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding. When the host ran out of wine, Jesus told the servants to fill six stone water pots with water and draw some out for the headwaiter of the party. When the headwaiter tasted the water that had been turned into wine, he called the bridegroom and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now” (John 2: 9-10). Wine to water seeks to allow Jesus to turn this miracle around for the needy people of the world who don’t have access to clean water by turning the funds raised from the sale of wine into clean water projects.
Wine tastings are the main type of fundraiser event supported by Wine to Water; however, Doc encourages anyone to be creative – to get involved by hosting other types of events as well, such as “a benefit concert, a fundraising dinner, a 5K race or walk, or school dance.” Doc fullfilled this dream the only way he knew how at the time: by playing music and pouring wine; now he encourages others to use their unique talents for the common goal.
Wine to Water has helped to provide clean water to people in 9 countries since 2004. Those who don’t wish to host an event can still donate to the cause directly on the website. The organization also makes and distributes their very own wine – Old Vine Zinfandel and Estate Chardonnay – by the bottle or by the case. A portion of all proceeds from every bottle sold goes toward supporting clean water and sanitation efforts.