Mar 5, 201409:58 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Drinking Well While Doing Good

There are several options for quality wines that raise money for worthy causes.

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Since we all consider ourselves very fortunate people (I hope you do), we never shirk from opportunities to give back to our community, to help others who are in a jam, or to pitch in and support a worthy cause (I hope you do these things, too).

There are lots of ways for us to show that we value our good fortune, and sometimes there are even immediate rewards back to us. We don’t need or maybe deserve those thank-you’s, but it’s not something we turn down when offered.

So how about the opportunity to enjoy fine wine and do a good turn, all at the same time? Does it get any better than that? I think not.

There are multiple fundraisers and party events devoted to gathering resources, usually money, and applying those funds to a desired outcome or cause. New Orleans has been the recipient of so many of those kinds of celebrations, and we recognize that now is our time to pay back some of the sincere feelings that have come our way over the past eight years or so.

If in the process, we reap a little benefit, like fine wine or a good party, then so much the better. Who would not leap at a bargain like that? There are several wine programs designed to raise money for worthy causes and if we are purchasing wine anyway, why not support one of these efforts while sacrificing nothing in quality. Drinking wine is all about feeling good and enjoying the moment. One more layer of good juju is lagniappe, without question.

One Hope

Not only has the team behind One Hope wines produced a wide range of varietals at several levels of definition of quality, but they have devoted each label to aid excellent causes. And a couple of those causes are devoted to projects right here in South Louisiana. It’s very cool stuff.

All of the wines are labeled One Hope and they are California-designated, all are reasonably priced. Half the profits from these wines go to causes devoted to important issues.

Zinfandel – Support Our Troops
Brut Sparkling Wine – End Childhood Hunger
Sweet Red – Support Our Veterans
Pinot Noir – Fund Pet Adoptions
Cabernet Sauvignon – Assist Children with Autism
Merlot – The Fight Against Aids
Chardonnay – Breast Cancer Research and Assistance to Victims
Sauvignon Blanc – Save Our Planet

The profits from certain packaging configurations are devoted to “many causes,” which means the One Hope Foundation has determined the worthiness of needing charities. The foundation is working now on its second million dollars raised, which proves the success of the business model, and proves the wines are pretty darn good.

One Hope Wines are available at fine wine shops throughout the area. Louisiana coastal rebuilding will receive funds from the Reserve Pinot Noir label sales, as well as from the Reserve Chardonnay proceeds. 

Ehlers Wines

In 1985, a French visionary and philanthropist acquired land and a winery in Napa Valley. Jean Leducq showed great respect for what had come before, which was the Ehlers Estate dating back to 1886. Leducq and his wife, Sylviane, worked diligently to bring back the powerful wines this estate had produced for so many years.

Leducq died in 2002, but not before defining international cardiovascular research as a benefactor of his winery. More than $30 million a year is given to this effort from the Leducq Foundation.

As you would expect, the Leducq Foundation embraced organic and sustainable techniques to which they are still quite committed. The wines are outstanding and the logo for Ehlers, imprinted on every bottle, is an E contained in an outline of the shape of a heart.

Doing Good and Drinking Colby Red

(Note: I first wrote about Colby Red May, 2013. Since that time, more than $500,000 has been raised for children’s cardiovascular research and patient assistance.)

Colby Groom was a very, very sick 9-year old little boy. He underwent back-to-back surgeries to repair his ailing heart. He lived through the grueling experience but the road to recovery was a long one.

He determined as he went down that road that he wanted to do something for children’s heart disease research and for charities that were funding such important work. But how was a little boy going to raise meaningful monies for such big projects?

That was more than three years ago and today, Colby, now in good health, has raised more than $500,000 for charities that support heart programs. Not bad for a guy who has not yet seen his 15th birthday, and not bad for a guy who just a few years ago had very low prospects of ever experiencing that milestone.

Colby’s dad is Daryl Groom, an extremely talented winemaker in Australia and California, who, at Colby’s suggestion, blended a wine, Colby’s Red, comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Shiraz and Petit Verdot.

Colby is now traveling the country as a spokesman for the American Heart Association, and has made donations to more than 100 groups all over the U.S. involved with finding solutions to heart diseases, as well as helping families who are facing heart-health crises.

Camp Bon Coeur, a Lafayette-based camp for children with heart issues, has been a recipient of donations from the sales of Colby Red.

The wines are available all over our area at Walgreen’s (yes, you read that right), at a few CVS stores, and Dorignac’s. It’s good stuff, reasonably priced, and just by purchasing the wine, you will be helping a little boy who has a big heart do important work for others in need. Thankfully.

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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

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In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.

 

Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; the Executive Editor and monthly features writer for Gulf Coast Wine + Dine Online; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.

 

Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.

 

Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.

 

They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.

 

Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.

 

Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

 

Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.

 

It’s a good gig. 

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