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Looking to blend your philanthropy with your enology? 'Tis the season.
A limited-production wine is almost always a personal endeavor, but for the Bump family their recently released Darms Lane Linda's Hillside Vineyard cabernet sauvignon is truly a labor of love.
The wine is named in honor of Darms Lane vineyard co-owner Linda Bump, who died of ovarian cancer in 2007, and one-third of the bottle's recommended selling price of $75 is slated for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
"Having this wine is really nice," says Tricia Bump Davis, Linda's daughter. Smooth and restrained, the wine, mostly cab with a little cabernet franc and petit verdot added in, is an elegant blend that fits the kind of flavor profile Bump preferred, adds Bump's other daughter, Tricia. "We like to say that we think she would have enjoyed this wine."
Linda's Hillside, available directly from the vineyard, is one of several ways you can sip for a cause during the holidays.
At Gallo Family Vineyards, based in Modesto, you can mail in a cork from any of the company's wines between now and Dec. 31 and the winery will donate $5 to the Meals On Wheels Association of America, for a total of $25,000.
In a non-wine endeavor, The Macallan Scotch Whisky's oldest and rarest whisky ever bottled -- a 64-year-old single malt -- has traveled the world in a one-of-a-kind Lalique decanter. Tiny tastes of about 3 ounces have been auctioned off with proceeds benefiting charity. A high point was $41,000 raised in Taipei.
Since the tour began in April 2010, The Macallan and Lalique have raised about $145,000 for the nonprofit group charity: water, which works to provide safe drinking water to developing nations. The tour ends with a final auction of the Lalique decanter filled with 1.5 liters of the 64-year-old liquid on Nov. 15 at Sotheby's New York .
"Every $5,000 that we raise allows charity: water to build a well," says The Macallan brand ambassador Graeme Russell , who has tasted the 64 year old whisky and calls it "out of this world."
"To raise $5,000 is spectacular. To reach totals like $41,000 has just literally blown us away," he says.
And then there's Ehlers Estate in the Napa Valley, where 100 percent of proceeds from wine sales go to support the nonprofit Leducq Foundation in Paris dedicated to funding international cardiovascular research.
The Leducq Foundation has awarded $187 million to cardiovascular researchers in 16 countries over the last 11 years.
The winery property was acquired, piece by piece, by the late French entrepreneur and philanthropist Jean Leducq, starting in 1985. The land he and enologist Jacques Boissenot chose included the home of the historic vineyard of Napa Valley pioneer Bernard Ehlers, hence the name. The winery produced its first vintage in 2000 and is known for Bordeaux-style blends.
Not surprisingly, the winery, which has a heart logo worked into the "E" in "Ehlers," gets quite a few visits from people involved in the health care industry as well as former patients.
"There's a nice connection there," says general manager and winemaker Kevin Morrisey. He likes the estate purely from a winemaker's point of view; the grapes are 100 percent organic and the location in the north of the Napa Valley is "really quite amazing. There's no winemaker that wouldn't want these grapes. It's really a sweet spot."
"I'm not here to be a do-gooder, I'm interested in the world-class wine we're making from this site. But at the end of the day it's really great to know what our ownership is doing with the money," he adds.
For Bump Davis, raising money for a cause that has touched her family so closely could be bittersweet.
But, in fact, she's happy to talk about the new wine, which is mainly being sold online.
"Being here on this property actually makes me feel closer with her, just because the memory of her is really strong here," she said. "I like thinking about her and I like remembering her."
Gallo cork fundraiser: http://www.everycorkcounts.com
Darms Lane: http://www.darmslanewine.com
The Macallan: http://www.themacallan.com