Fill Your Glass with Brands That Give Back: When You Give a Bottle of These Spirits and Wines, You Give TwiceNov 21, 2021 06:35PM ● By GINA BIRCH
The holiday season is all about giving. And it’s not just about gifts to family, friends, and co-workers. It’s also the biggest time of the year for charitable donations—especially to organizations such as food banks, those providing toys for children in need, help for struggling families, and a variety of services for those living in underserved communities.
Wine and spirits are some of the most popular gifts for party hosts and general enjoyment of the season. Many producers do more than just reap the financial benefits of your purchases; they pass it on to charities, form foundations, and more.
When purchasing wine and spirits to give this year, consider the following brands that make it possible for you to give twice, thanks to their donations and charitable affiliations.
Joe Wagner is a fifth-generation winemaker, the creator of Belle Glos, a brand known for vineyard-designated pinot noir. With one of his new labels, Böen Wines, he partners with No Kid Hungry, a national campaign working to end childhood hunger in America. Through the “Enjoy a Bottle, Help Give Meals” initiative, Böen and No Kid Hungry are providing meals to kids in need through May 31, 2022. Böen wines come mostly from California’s central coast, along with a pinot noir from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. The Santa Barbara pinot noir is full of dark berries; rich and lush. The chardonnay has balanced flavors of pineapple, apple, and spice.
Geodesy owner Judy Jordan is famous for establishing J Vineyards in Sonoma. At that time, she says, there was not another female face around, from the vineyard to the barrel room. She is on a mission to change that. She sold her successful winery and created Geodesy with the vision of providing scholarships and support for young women in the field of agriculture. Based in Oregon, Geodesy bottles chardonnay and pinot noir, along with a fantastic red blend from Sage Ridge Vineyard in Napa. The 2018 is a luscious Bordeaux blend, a beautiful balance of red and dark fruits, with mild tannins. If you happen to have any left at the end of the night, it is just as fantastic, if not more so, the next day.
This whiskey comes from the Sonoma Coast in Northern California, where giant, majestic redwood trees grow. It’s also the inspiration for the name of this brand, which gives back to the land. Redwood Empire partners with Trees for the Future. For every bottle of whiskey sold, a tree is planted—more than 225,400 so far. Redwood produces three whiskeys, including Pipe Dream bourbon, which is nutty, woody, and peppery on the finish. Emerald Giant is a rye that has a cinnamon finish. Lost Monarch is blend of straight whiskey that is sweet and spicy, with vanilla, caramel, and pepper.
The Vice Wines is an exciting brand focusing on a wide range of small-production, organic, biodynamic, and vegan wines such as the Tri Blend. Winemaker Malek Amrani, a member of USA Triathlon’s amateur team, supports the USA Triathlon Foundation with this limited-edition wine. A portion of sales goes to furthering the foundation’s mission of transforming lives through swimming, biking, and running. An interesting blend of St. Laurent, malbec, and cabernet franc, it’s juicy and herbal with red fruit like pomegranate and a hint of leather. Each sip makes you want to go back for more. The Vice Wines also makes Pinot Noir Rosé, Limited Pride Edition, which supports The Trevor Project, providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.
Featuring a prominent paw print on the label, this bottle makes it obvious to even the casual observer that someone behind this brand has an affinity for dogs. Roaming Dog, made in Washington State’s Columbia Valley, is named after Blue, a “scruffy old hound” that roamed into the vineyards one day and stayed. The animal-loving owners donate $1 from every bottle sold to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Roaming Dog makes rosé, Riesling, chardonnay, and an enjoyable red blend. The 2018 cabernet sauvignon is an aromatic glass full of fresh fruit that starts with flavors such as cherry Jolly Rancher, then finishes with blackberry.
When the McBride sisters were developing their brand, not only was it difficult to find women mentors, but also nearly impossible to find any of color. She Can is part of their successful McBride Sisters Wine Collection. It’s the name of not only festive canned wines but also their scholarship fund. Established initially to help women in the wine and spirits world, She Can has expanded to provide financial assistance, mentoring, and leadership coaching for female entrepreneurs in all arenas of business. Canned wines include refreshing Island Citrus and Coastal Berry spritzers, along with a white blend and rosé.
Tom and Sally Jordan are considered pioneering vintners in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. Not long after taking over full ownership of the family business, their son John established the John Jordan Foundation with winery funds. The foundation’s primary mission is to support the disadvantaged through a variety of education and health initiatives. Organizations supported include The Heights Foundation in Fort Myers. Jordan is known for elegant chardonnays and silky cabernet sauvignons that are more understated than over the top. The 2019 chardonnay is made in Burgundian style and is deliciously tropical with pleasing acid. Great alone, it’s even better with food.
Gina Birch is a regular contributor. A lover of good food, good drinks, and a fun time, she is also a well-known media personality in Southwest Florida.