Between Covid, hurricanes, fires, and floods, this has been a crazy year and a year where we find so many of our friends and neighbors hurting. Seeing the need, various wineries have stepped up, helping with fire recovery in California, Oregon, and Washington, and offering assistance to those who may have lost their jobs, or are working overtime as our essential workers throughout the pandemic.
This morning at 11am on KXAS-TV/NBC DFW I share a few stories of just a handful of the many wineries that are giving back. Here is a bit more on the wines I discussed, and more. If you want to help, please reach out directly to the wineries through their website, as that is the best way to show your support, and get some tasty wines just in time for the holidays. A link to the segment is here.
From Benovia Winery in Russian River Valley, their “Courageous Care” Pinot Noir ($40) will donate a percentage of every bottle will be donated to Feeding America, providing food for those in need, and Direct Relief, helping provide PPE to medical workers. The winery celebrated their 15th anniversary earlier this year, and the wine just continues to get better! This beauty delivers juicy pomegranate, cranberry, ripe cherry, and cola, with just the slightest hint of toasted cedar, pepper, and black tea. Balanced and fresh, with bright acidity melding with well-integrated tannins.
Frank Family Vineyards just began its latest #FrankForACause fundraising campaign. Throughout November 15% of the funds from the online and tasting room sales of their Frank Family Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($58) will be donated to the James Beard Foundation Open for Good Campaign, providing critical support to independent restaurants and workers, especially hurt by the pandemic.
Blending fruit from throughout Napa, the inviting wine harmoniously melds ripe red and black fruits with a dusty earthiness that is the signature of the Rutherford AVA, a key component in the wine. Full-bodied, and bold, while bringing in a lovely freshness and balanced palate, with notes of earthy leather, toasted baking spice like nutmeg and clove, wrapped around bright plum, berry, and cherry notes.
Considered one of Washington state’s premier family-owned estates specializing in high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Quilceda Creek dug into their library selections to raise funds to help those in the restaurant industry hurt by the pandemic. Earlier this year Washington’s Quilceda Creek Winery, located in Snohomish, WA, donated $365,000 to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF). One of Washington state’s oldest family-owned wineries, they typically only sell their limited production selections to its small private mailing list. But, this year has been anything by typical. In April they hosted a ten-day #QuilcedaCares campaign offering highly sought-after library wines to all.
The donation from Quilceda Creek included 50% of the proceeds from the sale of the wines plus additional donations made during the campaign and included their stunning 2017 Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($200). Aged 20 months in 100% new French oak, the wine is big and bold, wrapping toasted cedar and cigar box notes with the classic crushed stone, and woody herb notes of Columbia Valley. The lingering, velvety wine melds ripe blackberry, black cherry, crushed violets, and a touch of mocha, creating a truly satisfying wine.
A leading advocate of working to reverse the effects of climate change, Robin Lail and Lail Vineyards donates 10% of every bottle purchased through their website of the Lail Blueprint wines to organizations that help fight climate change. The intensity of the wildfires, hurricanes, drought, etc. we are experiencing has a direct tie to climate change. In February 2019, Robin Lail was made the U.S. Representative to the Porto Protocol, a global initiative asking companies to demonstrate their leadership on climate action and share best practices.
Lail Vineyards is actively doing their part to change the trajectory with their smart farming practices, and through donations like this. Lail Blueprint Cabernet Sauvignon ($80) has refined character, with lovely texture, concentration, seamless structure, and beautiful length. Juicy and rich, this is one of my favorite wines to toast a special evening with as it is as delicious as it is helping such an important cause, layering ripe blackberry, roasted espresso, mocha, and spice.
In the rolling hills of cool Los Carneros, the magnificent Donum Estate gives guests a complete experience, transforming their vineyard estate into a sculpture garden, with large-scale sculptures dotted throughout the vines. Art paired with wine, a perfect pairing, for as inspiring as the artwork is, the wines are arguably better.
Donum Carneros Estate Pinot Noir ($85) blends Dijon and heritage Pinot Noir clones from throughout the environmentally farmed estate, delivering a red and black plum, blackberry, toasted vanilla, and spice-filled wine, perfect for Thanksgiving as well. Throughout the month of October and November Donum is donating $10 for every order over $100 to the 2020 NorCal Wildfire Relief Fund. This Latino Community Foundation effort invests in reputable and impactful grassroots nonprofit organizations in Sonoma and Napa Counties.
Proceeds from the tiny production (100 cases only ) of the 2017 Spoto Family Wines Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($150) will be donated to the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund. 2017 Spoto Family Wines Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is aged for 34 months in custom made Tonnellerie Leroi French oak barrels with nearly 90% Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville Station’s vineyard with small but perfect blends of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec, creating a benchmark, cult-status Cabernet from the Napa Valley.
Earlier this year Adelsheim Vineyards in Willamette Valley partnered with the Portland Trailblazer NBA basketball team to create a wine to celebrate the 50th season for Rip City basketball. As Gary grew up in Portland, a.k.a. “Rip City,” and we are huge fans of Adelsheim, I was thrilled to hear about this selection. Bonus, the team and winery also partnered to donate 10% of the proceeds from the sale of the limited production wine to the Trail Blazers Covid-19 Relief Fund to help those effected by the pandemic in their community. Good people doing good for others. We like that. The Trail Blazers Pinot Noir ($50) and Chardonnay ($50) are produced from LIVE certified estate fruit grown in the Chehalem Mountain AVA.
Halleck Vineyard “Find Your Light” Pinot Noir ($55,) mixing fruit from throughout the Sonoma Coast, this pretty, red fruit and spice-filled Pinot Noir benefits Josh Groban’s “Find Your Light Foundation. “The Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to experience a quality arts education. The belief that is best achieved through direct support of exceptional arts programs combined with education, advocacy, and outreach. In a year where all education has been changed, often art education has been put on the backburner. But, the creativity that the world of art gives to children can help them through difficult times, and help them emerge stronger, as more well-rounded individuals.
And, a sincere thank you to Lahaina Galleries for my background display this morning. Behind me is an assortment of some of the last original paintings by Darrell Hill. Hill lived on the Big Island and is a beloved Plein Air painter of the landscapes and people of Hawaii. I love his wine pieces though, with light dazzling in the glasses and bottles. Hill passed away about nine years ago. We are so lucky to have a treasured assortment of his originals still available. Reach out to me for more on his work, or visit the gallery website, here. Wine and art….a perfect pairing. #Cheers