By Katie Foote, Epicure & Culture Contributor
There’s nothing like a glass of wine to help you relax after a stressful day at work, or to complement a meal. While the alcohol in wine helps make you feel good, you can enhance that warm fuzzy feeling by purchasing the following bottles. With these you won’t just be sipping your everyday merlot; but wine that gives back to social causes and the environment.
Read on to choose which sip you want to support, from sustainable seafood to stopping animal cruelty to providing jobs for ex-inmates and beyond. Cheers to that!
1) Save The Oysters With Sauvignon Blanc
Proud Pour (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
When Proud Pour CEOs Berlin Kelly and Brian Thurber realized they shared a love for Mother Earth — and wine — a genius beverage was born. Their sauvignon blanc donates 100% of proceeds to the planet. In fact, the purchase of each bottle restores 100 oysters, which in turn helps clean 3,000 gallons of water per day. Adds Kelly, “Often times 100% of our profits aren’t enough to restore 100 oysters or plant 875 wildflowers per bottle, so we’ll forego salaries and use our personal savings to do the work.”
Their sauvignon blanc is sustainably grown on a family-owned vineyard in California. The wine’s floral notes are well balanced with minimal acidity and a smooth minerality to pair perfectly with farmed oysters.
2) Energize People For A Cause With A Pantsuit Pinot Noir
Nasty Woman Wines (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
Sparked by the results of the 2016 Election, Meg Murray decided to create Nasty Woman Wines, an unapologetic and high quality wine brand celebrating impressive women —and even raising funds to get more females to the table.
Twenty percent of the net profits go toward female empowerment organizations such as The Women In Public Service Project, a nonpartisan program dedicated to “accelerating global progress towards women’s equal participation in policy and political leadership.”
Her Pantsuit Pinot Noir has attention-grabbing flavors of rose, earth and cherry.
3) Feed The Hungry With Wishful White
Peace Water Winery (Carmel, Indiana)
In Indiana, charity-based Peace Water Winery focuses on wine that gives back. In fact, they donate 50% of profits from tastings and bottles to charity. Best of all, patrons choose the charity of their choice by placing a token in the affiliated basket. The charities change year round, and the hope is the donation effort that involves their customers will have a ripple effect. A few charities to choose from currently include Peyton Manning’s Children’s Hospital, the local soup kitchen and Art with a Heart, which serves at-risk children.
Recommended: the “Wishful White,” made with grapes grown in Napa Valley. The wine showcases flavors of honeysuckle, butterscotch and caramel.
4) Empower Ex-Inmates With Gorgona Costa Toscana IGT
Frescobaldi Toscana (Tuscany, Italy)
It’s not just Americans who are crafting wine that gives back. Inmates on Tuscany’s island penal colony produce “Gorgona Costa Toscana IGT” wine as an empowerment project. In 2012, project developer and President of Frescobaldi Toscana recognized that recently released inmates struggle to find work. Wanting to find solutions to Italy’s recidivism rates, he established this winemaking program to give inmates tangible skills, preparing them for re-entry into society once released.
Though the program, inmates earn a wage to help support their families — about 2/3 of what they’d earn outside of prison. Additionally, having a job helps inmates feel a sense of pride in their work. Since the project began, three released inmates have secured jobs working at wineries throughout Italy, one of which was hired at a Frescobaldi wine estate.
A unique blend of Vermentino and Ansonica grapes, “Gorgona” has delicate scents of Mediterranean rosemary and thyme accented by flavors of chamomile, banana and peach.
5) Grant Wishes With A Red Blend
Ca’Momi Winery (Napa, California)
Ca’ Momi and the Do It For The Love Foundation partnered to create “Do it for the Love Red,” which funds a wish granting foundation providing hope and healing through music. All proceeds are donated to this nonprofit, allowing those living with life-threatening illnesses, children with severe challenges and wounded veterans to attend live concerts.
This silky blend features syrah, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot and zinfandel. It showcases notes of black currant, plum, plum, roasted nuts and eucalyptus.
6) Support Sustainable Seafood With Pinot Grigio
Williamsburg Winery (Williamsburg, Virginia)
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center joined forces with Williamsburg Winery to create a “Sensible Red” and “Sensible White,” designed to pair well with local seafood offerings. For a wine that gives back twist, a portion of proceeds go toward funding the Sensible Seafood Program.
The Sensible Seafood Program promotes ocean-friendly seafood that comes from local and sustainable sources. These are not over-fished or harvested in a way that destroys the environment. This program also partners with local grocery stores, fishmongers and restaurants to identify and promote best alternatives for consumers.
The Second Edition of their stainless steel-aged “Sensible White” is fresh and fruit-forward with notes of green apple, pear and citrus.
7) Stop Animal Cruelty With Pinot Noir
Great Oregon Wine Company (McMinnville, Oregon)
Help stop animal cruelty across America with Great Oregon Wine Company’s best-selling Golden Retriever-inspired “Rascal Wine.” This wine that gives back benefits the Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue team. The goal: that all animals will one day be treated with the love and respect they deserve.
Their pinot noir is an Oregon classic with bold fruity juicy flavors against a backdrop of oak and a hint of dark cherry.
8) Expand Beekeeping Communities With Honey Wine
KingView Mead (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Mead — or honey wine — relies on bees to make the product; but KingView Mead is so passionate about bees’ vital role in the environment, they donate a portion of profits to local beekeepers. That even goes for when the beekeeper’s honey doesn’t go into the beverage.
KingView Mead wants the local beekeeping community to grow. This helps keep food costs lower and increases the biodiversity in forests, meadows, waterways — basically the entire planet. Their Mead-For-Bees program donates 10% of all sales to the direct purchase of new boxes, frames and bee colonies for local beekeepers and apiaries. These are then given away via sweepstakes drawings. Every $1 donated helps to release 150 bees into the world.
For a delicious wine that gives back try KingView’s “Cranberry Maple Mead” featuring fermented honey, cranberries and local maple syrup warmed with cinnamon and orange peel.
9) Empower Women With Vineyard Voignier
Cambria Winery (Santa Maria, California)
Cambria is a female, family-owned winery working to encourage women to change the world. The winery founded a Seeds of Empowerment program in 2014 to create positive waves of change. Within the program, a $100,000 annual grant recognizes remarkable women leaders and non-profit organizations, including Vital Voices — an international organization that focuses on emerging women leaders.
Cambria has created two wines to celebrate the program. Additionally Julia — one of the owners — is an artist, so her watercolors depict inspirational women on the labels. For example, the “Cambria Clone 4 Chardonnay” features entrepreneur Dr. Victoria Kisyombe, who’s worked to redesign the traditional model of micro-finance to better serve 200,000 women in Tanzania. This wine is bright and fruity with citrus, apple and peach flavors.
10) Fight Leukemia With Tough Guy Wine
EFESTĒ (Woodinville Wine Country, Washington)
In 2007, the five-year-old son of EFESTĒ’s owners was diagnosed with A.L.L. Leukemia. Inspired by his strength of spirit and personality, EFESTĒ made a 2012 “Tough Guy Wine with a Cause,” where all proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
This powerful wine that gives back is made with 100% Klipsun fruit. It uses native fermentation to open up aromas of red currant, dark cherry, black licorice, marjoram, dates and black raspberry. The palate is full, lush and has the concentration and structure to age for several years.
What are your top pick for wine that gives back? Please share in the comments below!
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