There is now a George Mason University wine, and it’s for scholarships

A class making labels for Mason's wine. (Courtesy George Mason University Foundation; Photo by Alexa Rogers/George Mason University)
A class makes labels for Mason’s wine. (Courtesy George Mason University Foundation/ Alexa Rogers/George Mason University)

Some of the wine being sold to help fund scholarships. (Courtesy George Mason University Foundation)
Here are some of the wines being sold to help fund scholarships. (Courtesy George Mason University Foundation)

George Mason University president Angel Cabrera with the wine from the school. (Courtesy George Mason University Foundation)
George Mason University President Angel Cabrera is seen with the wine from the school. (Courtesy George Mason University Foundation)

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A class making labels for Mason's wine. (Courtesy George Mason University Foundation; Photo by Alexa Rogers/George Mason University)
Some of the wine being sold to help fund scholarships. (Courtesy George Mason University Foundation)
George Mason University president Angel Cabrera with the wine from the school. (Courtesy George Mason University Foundation)

WASHINGTON — George Mason University is building up its scholarship funds one bottle of wine at a time.

The George Mason University Foundation was looking for new ways to raise money for its scholarship fund when board member, and GMU alum Terri Cofer Beirne, who also serves as counsel for wine industry advocacy group The Wine Institute, said the foundation decided to launch and sell university-branded private label wines.

The foundation partnered with Springfield, Virginia-based wine wholesaler Siema Wines and ultimately sourced the wine from California, despite Virginia’s thriving wine industry.

“A lot of Virginia wineries are selling everything they make in their tasting rooms, so we had to go out-of-state to find someone to make a custom-crush wine with our label on it,” Beirne said.

The wines are sourced from a winery in Hopland, California.

GMU marketing students worked on the marketing plan and graphic design students designed the labels for the wines, which are now available at several retailers in the region as well as online.

The wines, a chardonnay and a Cabernet, have a fitting name.

“The brand is ‘Geo Mason Wines,'” Beirne said. “Geo, which is George from the old days when they used to abbreviate names to save on ink costs. We were trying to navigate around the University’s copyright protections with George Mason and GMU, so we decided to come up with something novel.”

The wines each sell for a suggested retail price of $19.99 and the GMU scholarship fund gets $3.50 from each sale.

The foundation has no goal for sales set yet, but believes enough wine has been sold to generate about $4,000 in donations in the first month or so.

The wine also has a guaranteed audience.

Beirne said GMU events and receptions, such as those at Eagle Bank Arena and the performing arts center, go through about 350 cases of wine a year, which would generate roughly $25,000 in donations to the scholarship fund.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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