History | Gracious Gift Wine
The Gracious Gift

History

Cindy Sebek, founder and owner of The Gracious Gift Wine, was attending church in August 2012 when she experienced a life-changing moment. The subject of the sermon that Sunday was hunger, and as her pastor preached about the epidemic, statistics flashed on the display screen overhead.

" All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

About cindy

Cindy Sebek, founder and owner of The Gracious Gift Wine, was attending church in August 2012 when she experienced a life-changing moment. The subject of the sermon that Sunday was hunger, and as her pastor preached about the epidemic, statistics flashed on the display screen overhead.

Cindy assumed the data was about hunger in a Third World country, possibly the destination of the church’s next mission. She was shocked to learn the figures were based on the town in which she lives: San Antonio, Texas.

The knowledge that hunger was so prevalent in America didn’t sit well with Cindy. She resolved to make a difference.

It was serendipity that, at that same time, Cindy was attending Texas Tech University’s executive MBA program in the Rawls College of Business. She had her first spark of inspiration while sitting in one of her executive business classes. The professor taught a segment about businesses centered on social responsibility. Cindy was intrigued with the idea of forming a company based on charitable giving.

In late 2012, just a few months after the church service, Sebek was on a girls’ weekend, where she had enjoyed a wine sampling. Later that night, inspiration woke her from a deep sleep. What if she used wine as a way to make a difference?

In one of her executive MBA classes she had learned that, even during a depressed economy, alcohol sales never declined. Her plan was to sell a bottle of wine and use proceeds to feed the hungry. Donations could be made directly to food banks. Upon returning home, she created a name for her company and a tentative business plan.

In January 2013, seeking advice, she reached out to the beverage director for H-E-B supermarkets, a grocery store giant based in San Antonio. The beverage director told Cindy she had a golden idea, and encouraged her to run with it. Within a month, she had hired a lawyer to legally establish the business, developed a label and trademarked the business name: The Gracious Gift.

The remainder of 2013 was filled with decisions. Cindy had to find a winery to bottle her wine, locate a distributor and find grocery stores to carry her product. She wanted a wine that stayed around the $15-a-bottle mark. By August of 2013, a year after that church service that opened her eyes to hunger in America, she was visiting wineries in California.