The people in the wine industry are some of the most generous people I know. Despite the fact that they are typically middle class citizens themselves, most of the folk I’ve had the pleasure of meeting can be counted on to donate very generously; wine to charity auctions, their time to tastings and events, and even money get donated constantly by winemakers, vineyard workers, sales reps, and more, and these donations often help do amazing things and support all kinds of terrific causes. There are countless examples of this, and so many wonderful people in this industry — I won’t start naming them because you don’t have time to read the list. If you want concrete examples, read my posts about VinNebraska from back in March and April, and event that raised $280K this spring to help support Partnership for Kids, a terrific local charity that does an amazing job of serving at risk children in our community. It genuinely is a heartwarming phenomenon, this generosity, and one that reinforces my love for wine and the people who make it while genuinely doing a lot of good for a lot of important causes throughout the world.
On that note, I recently became familiar with a very cool project that is part of the Brook & Bull Winery in Washington State. Vital Wines is a non-profit winery that was founded for the sole purpose of improving healthcare for vineyard workers in the Walla Walla Valley — one of Washington State’s most consistently exceptional AVAs. All of their profits fund a bilingual healthcare clinic that has an open-door, no questions asked policy, and is completely free. I love this, and it doesn’t hurt that their wines are terrific as well. To learn more, visit vitalwinery.com.
Last night, after a barbecue, Sonja and I had our neighbors over and shared a bottle of Vital’s 2016 Rose’ on the front porch. I reviewed Brook & Bull’s rose’ last week, and it was terrific, so it was no surprise to me that Vital’s rose’ would be killer as well. A low 12.3% ABV adds to the delicacy of this subtle, elegant wine. A pale salmon hue and a fragrant nose have more in common with Provence than most domestic rose’ wines I’ve had. Hints of rose petal and strawberry, faint notes of citrus and white peach lead towards a pleasant, lingering finish. 77% Syrah, 12% Grenache, 11% Mourvedre, this wine is 100% terrific. Fermented in neutral oak and limited to 438 cases, it’s a wonderful wine, and just as importantly helps meet an important need. I’m going to be sure this wine and others from the Vital line are available in Nebraska soon, but in the meantime you can support them through the web page I shared above.
Remaining on the topic of generosity, but shifting gears from wine to one of my other passions, running, this morning I went for an eight mile run, pushing Titus, who napped most of the way with a waffle in his hand. I got up early and we left before it got scorching hot outside, but the heat and humidity still slowed me down. Titus sang to me when he was awake, and I got in one last good run before pacing Hospital Hill next weekend in Kansas City.
As friends and readers of this blog are well aware, I recently took a head coaching job at the high school where I work, coaching our distance runners in both cross country and track. One thing I learned upon taking the job was that while some of our expenses are paid for, there is no budget for the program, so all of our meals, gatorade, etc. come from fundraising. With that in mind, I devised a fundraiser for our team wherein people pledge runners (and coaches) by the mile. My friend Matt, a regular reader of the blog, along with his lovely wife, pledged $.10 per mile, so my run today means they will donate 80 cents to help our team. Many of our other friends, who I suspect might be embarrassed by public recognition, have also donated generously, and of course I am grateful to them. With a few months of running left, and a team full of runners getting commitments, we’ll have all the money we need to cover food, travel, and other important expenses this coming season.
At Matt’s suggestion, I’m going to begin to include my mileage totals and donation totals at the bottom of some of my blog posts, below the signature line, so if you, too, support the team in this way you’ll be able to get regular updates on our progress. In total, I am pledged right now at $2.98 per mile, with a week or so left to get more support. I’d love to get to $10 a mile, my goal being to run a few hundred miles between now and the start of our season on August 6, when this fundraiser officially ends. If you’re interested in supporting our team in this way, please contact me either in the comments section or via email. My team and I would be grateful for your support!
I am constantly humbled by the generosity of others, and Sonja and I try our best to match the generosity we see on display all around us in this big, beautiful world. I love projects like Vital Wines, and plan to support them as much as I possibly can in the months and years to come. I can’t recommend that rose’ strongly enough! I hope your Memorial Day is full of great memories and appreciation for all that we have and hold so dear. I am grateful for all that we have, and to all of the friends who support me through their readership and love.
Cheers to generosity, to gratitude, and to this big, beautiful world we all share,
Miles run to support the team this summer: 8 Funds raised to date: $23.84