Doc Hendley

  • Founder and President, Wine To Water
  • CNN Hero, 2009

Doc Hendley is founder and president of Wine To Water, a non-profit promoting clean water resources in poverty stricken countries worldwide. His is a captivating story of an ordinary bartender who's changing the world through clean water. He never set out to be a hero. In 2004, Hendley launched a series of wine-tasting events to raise funds for clean-water projects and to bring awareness to the world's freshwater crisis. He planned to donate the proceeds through traditional channels, but instead found himself traveling to one of the world's most dangerous hot spots: Darfur, Sudan. He braved tribal warfare and natural disasters, and encountered fascinating characters in far-flung regions of the world. He gives an authoritative account of a global crisis and his inspirational tale proves how ordinary people can improve the world. Today, Doc and Wine to Water continue to help stricken peoples repair and maintain water- containment systems in places like Darfur, Cambodia, Uganda, and Haiti.


Doc Hendley headshot
Past Hosts Include:
  • NC State University
  • Brilliant Lecture Series - Conversations with Brilliance
  • Southeast
Rave Reviews About Doc Hendley as a Speaker
Doc was not only charming and modest, he is one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard. He takes you on an emotional journey to communities whose living conditions are unimaginable to most of us, and his ability share his vision, his passion, his commitment and his excitement for his global mission has ignited a flame of passion in our membership as well. We have had the pleasure of Doc's company at all of our events since that one last winter, and we have united behind him and his efforts to make a difference in the world. We are better people as the result of knowing Doc... We think Doc is indeed a 'HERO'!

TEDxAsheville - A Bartender's Quest for Clean Water in the World - Get Sharable Link
Talks & Conversations with Doc Hendley
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Digging for Hope: Turning Wine to Water & Other Modern Day Miracles

Teaches us to do what we can with what we have Illustrates the immense power of relationships to transcend perceived barriers Proves the power of one to transform the impossible into the inevitable ...

  • Teaches us to do what we can with what we have
  • Illustrates the immense power of relationships to transcend perceived barriers
  • Proves the power of one to transform the impossible into the inevitable

Hell or High Water: How One Man Turned Wine into Water and Transformed Customers into Crusaders

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Books by Doc Hendley

Doc Hendley is a 2009 CNN Hero. He is President/Founder of the organization Wine To Water and is one of the most sought after public speakers.

“When the idea came to me to start Wine to Water the only real job experience I had was tending bar,” said Hendley, “I dreamed of building an organization that fought water related death and disease using different methods than anyone else. So, I started raising money to fight this water epidemic that best way I knew how, by pouring wine and playing music.

In 2003, he dreamed up the concept of his organization while bartending and playing music in nightclubs around Raleigh, NC. In February 2004, the first fundraiser was held for what would one day be Wine To Water and by August of that same year Hendley was living in Darfur, Sudan installing water systems for victims of the government supported genocide. Putting his life in peril, along with those on his team who were committed to providing clean water for the world, two of which were killed during this period, Hendley returned home with an even stronger sense of the need of clean water around the globe.

When Doc returned home in August 2005, after spending a year in Darfur, the haunting memories of what he had seen in Darfur drove him to continue building the organization he started two years prior.  In 2007, after working two jobs and volunteering his time for 3 years, Wine To Water became an official 501 (c) (3) and Doc’s dream finally became a reality.  He now has projects in 9 different countries around the world and has saved thousands of lives by providing humanity’s most basic need and right, clean drinking water.

Doc lives in Boone, NC with his wife, Amber, and two sons, Justice and Beattie.  Balancing family life and the demands of building Wine to Water, Doc Hendley continues to travel to underdeveloped, war-ridden nations, working in the field to bring clean water to those in need.