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Straight From the “Nut” House

“The North County wine community is unique – we are more of a community.  In the true sense of community.”
–Ray Derby, Owner, Derby Wine Estates

Ray and Pam Dec 2014(2)For those of us raised on the Central Coast, to see the historic Almond Growers Building brought to its former glory the last few years has been iconic.  Touring the building (or shall we say art piece) with Ray and Pam Derby, it is clear it was, and still is, a labor of love for them.  Purchased in 2010, Ray and Pam spent three years researching, designing, retrofitting and rehabilitating the building.  No longer the “nut house”, it is now home to Derby Wine Estates tasting room and production facility as well as serving as an iconic landmark for Paso Robles.

But the Derby’s are more than just the Almond Growers Building – they are also an integral partner at must! charities, donating time, energy and resources to improving the community we live in.  And in the ride up to the top of the nut house, where their granddaughter Daisy (see her cute photo) loves to change the color of the tower’s lights, the Derby’s began to share their story that brought them to must! charities.

Ray had been thinking for some time about Derby’s giving policies – were they making a difference?  Was their givingdaisy planned?  Did their giving align with their own values?  At that same time, he heard must! charities’ Executive Director Becky Gray speak with great conviction at a local Rotary meeting.  Giving back to the community while at the same time doing so responsibly resonated with him.

He and Pam began re-evaluating Derby’s giving policies and decided that with increased focus and accountability, their giving could greater impact their community.  They chose to align themselves with must! charities for many reasons, but they keyed in on what must! requires of project collaborators – the level of accountability to create sustainable, long-term change was important to them.

Derby Wine Estates now has a clear and concise giving policy – all charitable giving is directed to must! charities.  All.  Those three letters still get our Executive Director teary eyed today because it was such a momentous commitment and collaboration; not only in dollars going directly back into the community, but also serving as a model for other businesses to emulate.

Being the family-oriented business owners they are, the Derby’s wanted their team members to still have the opportunity to help causes close to their hearts.  As part of their giving policy, employees can purchase wine at a discount (that’s a deep slash cut discount) and donate the wine to charities of their choosing.

Ray and Pam are not only a couple of deep conviction and strong roots, they are innovators in local philanthropy. To support Derby Wine Estates, follow them on Facebook or visit their tasting room at 525 Riverside Avenue in Paso Robles.