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Purple Heart Red Wine, good cause

Purple Heart Red Wine, good cause

I recently tasted and added to my repository of exceptional wines Purple Heart Red Wine, not only for the quality and value but the story behind the label.

Purple Heart Red Wine recognizes the sacrifice and service of U.S. military men, women and families while promoting the Purple Heart Foundation, a nonprofit that provides services to veterans and their families. The foundation, in collaboration with C. Mondavi & Family, receives a major contribution from wine sales.

Last year the foundation helped more than 19,000 veterans secure $300 million in Veterans Administration benefits with their professionally trained VA Service Officers. The foundation assists with service dogs programs, educational scholarships, resources to help cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and money for research to treat traumatic brain injuries.

Winemaker Ray Coursen, a Vietnam veteran, and consulting winemaker David Grega, an Iraq veteran, share a passion for winemaking and for service to our country. As an accomplished winemaker and longtime friend of the Mondavi family, Coursen was the perfect person to lead the winemaking team for the inaugural release of the 2013 Purple Heart Wine. Coursen’s experience and his stellar history with Elyse Winery as founding winemaker and owner was the leading factor in the quality and exceptional style of this wine’s future.

Starting with the 2014 vintage, consulting winemaker Grega joined the team. After service in Iraq, he fell in love with winemaking. Grega is quickly earning a reputation as a winemaker to watch in the Napa Valley.

The wine is a traditional Bordeaux blend with 80 percent merlot, 15 percent cabernet sauvignon, 4 percent petite syrah and 1 percent petit verdot.

2014 Purple Heart Red Wine Napa Valley, California (about $20 retail)

Pouring empathy into “giving back”

Pouring empathy into “giving back”

Whenever I shop — be it for groceries, clothes or even shoes — I am always searching for those companies “giving back.” The idea of a winery “giving back” is not a new concept, but vineyards and wineries aren’t likely to immediately come to mind for most of us when we think of charitable companies.

More wineries are becoming involved in projects to benefit not only their community but others as well. I can’t think of a better way to spend money than enjoying a glass of wine and making a difference.

The Candoni De Zan family, owners of Candoni Wines, participates in several ongoing programs, including a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation in connection with Earth Day. During certain months, the family pledges to plant a tree in a national forest for each case of Candoni Organic Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Buongiorno Red Blend sold. Candoni Wines also supports the National Breast Cancer Foundation with the sales of its Candoni Elviana Rosé.

Josh Cellars works with organizations that support first responders, current military and veterans. In the past, Josh Cellars has donated $1 for every bottle sold during November and December to Operation Homefront.

Onehope Wine is produced in partnership with Rob Mondavi Jr. The company donates half of the profits of wines sold during specific months to charities that focus on breast cancer and AIDS prevention, autism research and childhood hunger.

Charles Smith Wines works with a variety of groups and organizations including the American Heart Association, Planned Parenthood, Meals on Wheels, Ronald McDonald House and Alzheimer’s Association.

This list is far from comprehensive. Many other brands support a variety of organizations. So when you are looking for your next bottle to serve at a dinner party or just enjoy yourself, consider grabbing one that gives back.


  • 2014 Onehope Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $14 retail)
  • 2013 Candoni Organic Merlot, Italy (about $12 retail)
  • 2013 Candoni Organic Pinot Grigio, Italy (about $12 retail)


  • 2013 Josh Cellars Merlot, California (about $20 retail)
  • 2013 Charles Smith Syrah “Boom Boom,” Washington (about $18 retail)
  • 2013 Josh Cellars Chardonnay, California (about $20 retail)