“Stewardship is an essential thread bringing the traditions of wine-making and fly-fishing together. In every facet of our work, we strive to be environmental stewards and bring thoughtful, innovative programs to fisheries, communities and local economies.”
Except for the “wine-making” part, that statement could be a mission statement for any environmental group that thinks fly-fishing is good for everybody.
However, that statement comes from the StoneFly Vineyards, a private for-profit company with a commitment to helping business and the environment work together.
Earlier this summer, I met Nick Papadopoulos, StoneFly’s director of vineyards and chief fly-fishing officer (CFFO).
No kidding. Nick’s title on his business card is CFFO.
This is no a gimmick. StoneFly is dead serious about its commitment to the environment through fly-fishing and wine-making.
I met Nick at an event called Wine on the Fly. This year’s event was held at the High Lonesome Guest Ranch. It was the creation of Brian Lamborn of Lamborn Vineyards.
The objective of the event was to pair fine boutique California wines with fly-fishing fanatics who like to drink wine. I fit both categories, so my wife and I went.
The venue hosted three vineyards, StoneFly, Lamborn and Schug. Each vineyard presented its wines, one each night, after a day of fly-fishing. Accompanying the wine were meals that can be described only as “over the top.” The event was so successful that Brian has formed a company, Outdoor Wine Adventures, to host future Wine on the Fly events.
Before Nick began to pour his wine, he took some time and told the nonwine story of StoneFly. He told us how StoneFly, in conjunction with The Orvis Company, has created the StoneFly prize.
According to StoneFly, “The prize is awarded annually to a fisheries conservation program that is working to conserve and restore North American cold water fisheries.”
To fund the prize, StoneFly Vineyards has committed 5 percent of their annual gross sales.
The 2009 award, in the amount of $13,000, was awarded to California Trout Inc.
In and of itself, that award is a great way for any business to help the fly-fishing world. However, StoneFly also has created a program to help small businesses and organizations who derive their income from fly-fishing.
While StoneFly is not completely altruistic, the company does need to sell wine and make a profit. The Customer and Partner Loyalty Program helps fly-fishing businesses reward their customers. For the businesses that qualify, StoneFly will sell them their wines, to be used as gifts, at a discount of 33 percent.
In case an owner doesn’t know anything about wines, the professionals at StoneFly will help with the proper selections.
Once all that is done, StoneFly will ship the wine directly to the business-valued customers, with proper acknowledgement to the businesses. This seems like a win-win deal to me.
To an old business curmudgeon, this is a great way for a company, big or small, to make a difference to the sport we all love.
Also, this type of commitment doesn’t have to be relegated to a company. Any individual can get involved with a program to make a positive impact on fly-fishing.
(Fine print: I have not received anything of value from StoneFly for writing this, nor did the CFFO of StoneFly ask me to write nice things about them. )
Reach Don Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org