Avila Beach Columnist

‘Kelsey Cares’ Giving Program Is Good Business

By Judy Salamacha

“Symbiotic Networking” (a term this writer coined) is defined as “business and community representatives of like-purpose and interests coming together for mutual benefits.”

It happens regularly, but is rarely recognized for its magical win-win business relationships — and profits — for all concerned. Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards is another San Luis Obispo County business enterprise that practices “symbiotic networking.”

Laurie Kelsey explained that with “Kelsey Cares” the family picks a non-profit organization they are passionate about and then gives 15-percent of the profits from wine sales at the vineyard’s tasting room and gardens or online on the first Sunday of every month.

“We select something in the community close to our hearts,” she said. “Isn’t that what God put us here to do? And what we’ve learned over the years is we will introduce Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards to people who didn’t know us before, but visited to support the group we chose to benefit.

“And most of them will come back for another Sunday afternoon of music in our beautiful gardens in See Canyon and, of course, our wines.”

Kelsey Cares was officially launched with a May 2017 news release that stated, “The Kelsey Family has been part of the SLO community for four generations and we strive to contribute to people who make a difference. That’s why we ask you to join us the 1st Sunday of each month, as we donate a percentage of all our wine sales to a local community organization.”

The Family Care Network, the Morro Bay Maritime Museum, Wood’s Humane Society, and Zoo to You were organizations that benefitted from the program in 2017.

Now in 2018, Family Care Network was again celebrated in July. “Our winemaker, Jac Jacobs, is a board member,” said Laurie. “We actually started helping the group when Colleen Gnos’, who has designed all of our award-winning labels, son Bodhi was diagnosed with cancer and the band Mother Cornshuckers came out to play.”

She continued the upcoming schedule. “Aug. 5 our ‘Dog Vineyard Walk’ benefits Woods Humane Society. We’re dog friendly and kid friendly in our gardens where families can picnic. Keith and Nicole Kelsey foster dogs and cats and are very active in rescue services. People enjoy meeting our winery dogs.”

Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 2, Kelsey Cares will support the Morro Bay Maritime Museum (MBMM). Keith Kelsey — co-managing partner with sister-in-law Laurie — has been on the board of directors for the museum for over 25 years.

The family owned Antoine Sylvester’s Tug Boat Service in Morro Bay, which patriarch, Dick Kelsey, retired in 1999 and ultimately repurposed the family ranch into Kelsey See Canyon Winery. Their tugboat Alma was responsible for being first on scene to rescue the oil tanker Montebello’s crew after the ship was torpedoed by a Japanese sub in December 1941 off the Coast of Cambria at the beginnings of World War II.

Alma was donated to MBMM and after 15 years of restoration efforts with support funding from the Hind Foundation, she was placed on display at the museum, 1210 Embarcadero, along with the Navy submarine Avalon.

Meanwhile, by 2003 Kelsey See Canyon Winery had taken over the shop and warehousing business of Richard Kelsey (Laurie’s husband) who once rebuilt tugboat engines.

Laurie indicated the beneficiary for October’s Kelsey Care Sunday has not been finalized and in November the plan is to celebrate Veteran’s Day weekend and move from the first Sunday to Nov. 11 to honor the Wounded Warriors Project.

The business solidified how it could help others through the Kelsey Cares program tragedy befell friends of Laurie’s and Richard’s daughters, Brittni and Bryne Frase of Atascadero. The girls were killed in a car accident and Kelsey Cares helped establish a scholarship fund for a runner at Atascadero High School and a shoe program with a Go Fund Me Campaign, thus, supporting their parents during the hard times.

“We have the platform,” Laurie said. “We have the venue. It always works to bring them to us. It works for us and works for what we are compassionate about. And every little bit helps groups and people who are doing good things in our community. The Kelsey Family wants to do our part.”

Their website: www.kelseywine.com invites all to the vineyards and tasting room “…located in a beautiful canyon nestled next to a year-round creek and towering Sycamore trees.” The winery is just 3 minutes from Avila Beach and open daily from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. They are kid and dog friendly.

“Come see what we’re all about!” they said.

Freelance writer, columnist and author of “Colonel Baker’s Field: An American Pioneer Story,” Judy Salamacha is a regular feature of Simply Clear Marketing & Media. Contact her at: judysalamacha@gmail.com or (805) 801-1422 with story ideas.

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