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.