Same Sex Meritage: The Proof “Cause Wines” Work by Josh Stein

Same Sex Meritage Release Party at WineStyles Belmont, Chicago, IL
Same Sex Meritage Release Party at WineStyles Belmont, Chicago, IL

Same Sex Meritage is a wine pledging a portion of revenue to Freedom To Marry, their partner in the movement to ensure legalization and acknowledgment of same sex marriage in the United States. This California Meritage rivals its Old World inspirations by staying stylistically true to the philosophy that blended wines bring out the best from the grape better than the components alone. The price of the wine is $25/bottle. (source: Same Sex Meritage’s Facebook PageTo purchase Same Sex Meritage, visit this link:

“Hi, Josh. I’m Matt Gold. I’m happy to work with you on selling Stein Family Wines in Illinois. I have just one request. I have this idea for a wine no one will help me make…”

That’s how Same Sex Meritage, and now, coming in time for Valentine’s, Same Sex Moscato Rosato, came to be. Matt tried for several years to find assistance to make his idea reality to no avail. I was busy trying to balance multiple jobs, multiple careers, twins, a house, and a marriage. But without the time in the wilderness, the subsequent collaboration wouldn’t have gone as well and as smoothly as it has. Matt wouldn’t have had the in-roads with Freedom to Marry to trust us to deliver on a product and overall design which would only add to the movement’s momentum, and I wouldn’t have had the experience nor vendor connections to move so quickly on this project.

That phone call was fourteen weeks ago. In the intervening time, we’ve validated a business model, one which substitutes community value for surplus profits in our equation. Profit itself is neither a positive nor a negative—it’s all in what you do with the extra generated from the production cycle that determines its consequence. If you bank it for yourself, that produces a zero-sum game, with winners and losers. If you invest it into the future, into the community, allow it to become an engine of positive growth, then you produce open-ended increased opportunities and sales. Door after door, whole hallways of doors, Willy Wonka-fashion, have opened to us with Same Sex Wines because we were willing to put others on an equal level with ourselves in this fashion.

Happy drinkers of Same Sex Meritage in Florida!
Happy drinkers of Same Sex Meritage in Florida!

The response has been nothing less than breathtakingly phenomenal, and the reason why seems to me to be very simply expressed if not an easy idea to come to terms with: it’s all in the short game versus the long game. You can try to make whatever you can now. Or you can try to help people and along the way try to pay your bills. When folks know you’ll be around for a while, the relationships tend to develop rather differently. When they know you look through more than dollar signs at the world, refusing to put on green-colored glasses, if you will, then they are much more willing to voluntarily help you make the world better. Too much of today’s commerce only puts the emphasis on “just good enough” and “minimal viability” and “return on investment,” and that simply isn’t how you build anything of any size or shape and call it sustainably supporting the community.

I’m proud to work for and with nonprofits which understand commerce is the way forward, the way to demonstrate a different aspect of acting upon and within the world, one which generates ever more social and monetary profit because the end goal isn’t just to benefit our company. I’m humbled at the consumer and trade response we have gotten, the individual notes of gratitude for producing a wine with this name–untasted, unscored, just because it exists in the world–that have been beyond anything else in my eleven years of the wine business. You’re reading this guest blog post for the same reason—because ideas do have power, because the time is now to show whom you do and do not support, which policies you do and do not feel are civil and just and right for our children’s and communities’ futures.

While the rest of the back story and the tale of the subsequent bunch of weeks is an interesting one, one you can read more about at and, it needs to be understood as a case study within this context of 21st-century commerce or else the success of what we’ve done won’t be as meaningful. Same Sex Meritage isn’t just another wine—it’s a very different way of doing business.

Thank you for your time, for your eyes, and for your efforts on behalf of strangers in spreading their message of hope and positive change. Cheers to a happy, safe, and fully equal 2013!


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