, , , , ,

There is never a better time for a nice bottle of wine than around Christmas and New Year’s. Why not try something different and make your holiday party festive for your friends and helpful to a community cause?

Every community across our nation has a good a good cause or organization thatGrape Sense Logo can use your support. Recently a group of friends held a wine tasting, encouraged a set donation, and then made contributions to two different good causes. The group supported a local health clinic and a health care initiative in Oregon providing coverage for migrant vineyard workers.

Here is how it worked. The three leaders decided to pour Oregon wines since part of the proceeds would go to an Oregon-based charity. The wine lineup included two Pinot Gris wines under $20 and four Pinot Noirs. The Pinot Noir wines ranged from $22 to $55 a bottle.

Now the group has some real wine geeks and they provided the wine knowledge during each pour. We had a great lineup of small bites including flat breads, pâté and the usual assortment of cheese and crackers.

Talking about iSalud and Winderlea wine

Talking about iSalud and Winderlea wine

We used social media friends’ lists and personal connections to invite people to the wine tasting/philanthropy event. We had a spokesman for the local health clinic in our group. He gave a five-minute presentation on what the local clinic was all about and then it was back to the wine.

Essentially, it was a wine event for a good cause.

The organizers bore the cost of the wine and food, though we may look at a way of writing that into the cost in future events. What you can suggest as a donation is different in every community but our group gave $50 per person – all of which went to the two charities. We ended up with a nice-sized group for the evening and raised more than $700 to split between two charities.

You don’t need some “real wine geeks” to host a party either. Just generate some conversation about the wine. What did it smell like? What flavors do you taste? What do you like or dislike about the wine? What food would pair with the wine? Take a few moments and do an internet search on each wine you’re going to pour and you’ll find plenty of talking points.

And pick any wines you like at any price point but be sure to try something new and something different.

Our group is already planning ahead for February. The next event is shaping up to be big red winter wines and supporting local summer youth sports.

In seven years of wine writing the one thing I’ve learned over and over is people do want to know about wine and actually talk about wine. There is no better way to do it than in a festive social setting.

Great wine always leads to great conversation. When the combination can benefit a good cause, everyone comes out a winner.