Camelot Cellars hosts unique events designed to support local charities

It’s been a year since Janine Aquino took ownership of Camelot Cellars and what a year it has been. The Short North boutique winery and wine bar has been totally renovated, the wine menu has been revamped, and its wines have won more than 30 awards.

After accomplishing so much in just one year, what could one expect to see happening at Camelot in 2012? More philanthropy, of course.

“Our goal is to have almost 90 percent of events tied to charity,” says Aquino.

Camelot currently puts on three philanthropic programs, each focusing on providing a great experience while benefiting the community at large.

The first includes partnerships that allow proceeds from an event to support a local charity. For example, when Big Rock Little Rooster and Camelot teamed up for Bridal Couture, proceeds from the fashion show supported Wish Upon A Wedding, which provides weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation.

Another partnership event is Camelot’s Celebrity Bartender Nights. Camelot picks an influential person to serve as bartender for an evening, who then decides which charity receives a percentage of bar sales made during their shift. Selected charities have included Peletonia, the Economic and Community Development Institute, and Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

The second program allows charities to host a wine tasting at Camelot Cellars. A baseline price is charged to the charity for the wine used during the tasting, which allows them to decide how much of the proceeds they want to retain for their work. The charity is not charged for the space.

“We try to have events that are outside of the box, that no one has done before,” Aquino says. “Since I’m not an expert in all areas, I partner with those who are to help us. We typically let the partner pick the charity to increase their feeling of ownership in the event we’re hosting.”

For the third program, Camelot hosts special events or nights with proceeds benefiting a specific charity. An example  is Camelot Couture, a fashion show featuring clothing from several Short North boutiques that took place in September. The event provided proceeds to Colony Cats and Dogs because Aquino loves animals and had lost a cat at that time.

“I want people to have fun, so they’ll want to come back again,” Aquino says.

Larger events, such as Bridal Couture, typical net between $1,000 and $2,000 for a charity while smaller events, such as Celebrity Bartender Nights, usually raise several hundred dollars.

“We’re happy to help a charity have an event here,” she says. “The door is always open.”

For businesses looking to incorporate philanthropy into their work, it’s important that their efforts come from the heart.

A business has to believe in their charity because all the passion shows through, she says.

Camelot Cellars
958 N High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
New ownership: February 2011
Number of Employees: 4

One upcoming event at Camelot is a mini spa night with Mukha Custom Cometics and Medi-Spa  from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 20 that will support Colony Cats & Dogs. The event will include manicures, make-up application, and chair massages.

Additionally, Amy Schmittauer will be bartending to support Friends of the Shelter from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 16.

Philanthropic Pursuit is a monthly feature on The Metropreneur, powered by Community Shares of Mid OhioIs your business giving back to the community or partnering with a local nonprofit in a unique way? We want to hear about it. Contact Ryan Kovalaske at [email protected].