Vintner With Charity In Mind: Staglin Family Vineyards

Page-1-Image-3Shari Staglin, has a lot to be proud of. Not only does she run the show at her family’s vineyard, but she is committed to more than producing exceptional wines; she is committed to giving back. Staglin Family Vineyards, located in Napa Valley, was founded by Garen and Shari Staglin in 1985. Mrs. Staglin wears just about every hat in the business. “I oversee everything from production in the vineyard and winery, the grape growing and wine processing, all of the marketing and sales, as well as accounting and any outside communications. Just like any CEO , you have activity in all of those areas.”

But Mrs. Staglin is definitely not a one-woman-show. The wine business is truly a family affair for the Staglins. While mom oversees the high-level decisions, her two children are heavily involved in day-today operations. Daughter Shannon is President of the vineyard, while son Brandon is Director of Marketing Communications. Garen, who is involved in outside investor relations, is also Public Relations Director for the winery. Mrs Staglin joked, “I love to say that he’s the bank. We have a lot of capital improvements we need to make over time, and because of his other positions, we are able to do those other things.”

 Mrs. Staglin is proud to admit that, while she finds enjoyment offering the experiences of wine, she takes the most pride in being able to give back.

As soon as the Staglins purchased the Vineyard, Mrs. Staglin made a swift move to change careers in order to learn everything she could about the industry. “I had always a career. I worked for a senator and I worked in the city of New York running a health service program. But as soon as we bought the vineyard, I went back to graduate school for a masters in viticulture and enology at UC Davis.” Her decision has clearly paid off.

As stewards of the land, the Staglins farm the vineyard organically, something very important to them. Mrs. Staglin explained, “Everything we put in this vineyard washes into the street, and into the ocean. We want to make sure everything we do is healthy for everyone. We live on the vineyard, so we have a vested interest.” The winery is the most eco-friendly winery in the region, gaining all its power from the solar panels on their estate and generating enough energy to give back to the grid and supply others with their renewable source of energy.


This year, the Staglin Family Vineyard earned a place as Honorary Chairs of Auction Napa Valley, one of the world’s highest-earning philanthropic events. The family has been a longtime supporter of the auction. “We’d been attending the event before we even owned the vineyard. Although I missed the first year, we’ve probably been to every one ever since,” recalled Staglin. As Honorary Chairs, they achieved lofty goals for this year’s event, one of which was to draw new bidders. In order to increase the auction’s worldwide visibility, Garen and Shari Staglin hosted dinners in Naples, Austin, Houston, Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York City and Los Angeles. “We got a lot of new people to come as a result of that. The auction sold out earlier than any of the previous the 32 years,” explained Staglin.

 Since they began farming the vineyard, they have raised nearly $725 million to support charities.

Impressively, The Staglins have also raised the bar to attract donors of several new and exciting auction lots. A few of those glitzy prizes include front row seats to a Chanel Fashion Show, a brand new car, and tickets to the Cannes Film Festival. “People are really charitable, you just have to ask them. They know it’s for a great cause, and we’re also having a ball doing it,” said Staglin.

The Staglins know a thing or two about charity themselves. Mrs. Staglin is proud to admit that, while she finds enjoyment offering the experiences of wine, she takes the most pride in being able to give back. “Being able to give back to causes that we care about is the most important for us.”

Since they began farming the vineyard, they have raised nearly $725 million to support charities, including their main cause, the Music Festival for Mental Health. The issue of mental health is something the Staglins hold very close to their hearts, as their son was diagnosed with, and still fights, schizophrenia.

The work that the Staglins have done to fight mental illness has even spawned two high-profile charities: Bring Change 2 Mind, run by Glen Close, is working to erase the stigma and discrimination around mental disorders; and One Mind for Research, now headed by Retired General Peter Chiarelli, fights to reduce the global burden of brain disorder disabilities.

When asked what she is most passionate about outside of her charities, family, friends and the vineyard, she responded, “That’s it! I would never choose to do anything else. This is the most wonderful life I could imagine.”