Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wine For Free -- Well, Sorta

Stag's Leap Wine CellarsImage via Wikipedia
Here's the deal. I just  got a really nice case of wine -- for free.

I guess some explanation is needed. First of all, if I told my wife I wanted to buy a case of wine I'd go through interrogation worse than any dished out by Homeland Security. Not that my wife doesn't like wine, she does, and we enjoy it together. We don't have a vast stockpile of wine, but I have 20 to 30 bottles on hand (you never know when there'll be a power outage or we'll be snowed in!). She is, however, unlikely to say, "Sure, indulge your whims, pick up a case or two of reserve quality wine."

So how do I end up with the nice case of Sheldrake Point (Finger Lakes) Gewürztraminer? It turns out that this is really a wonderful double-play.

You'll notice in the upper left corner of our page a link to Wine for Haiti. This is a fantastic effort put together by our friends at Palate Press, the top online wine magazine, to help raise money for the relief effort in Haiti through an online wine auction.

Now here's the free part: My wife told me that we needed to make a contribution to the Haiti relief effort. I told her about the wine auction and she basically said we had a choice. I could simply make a designated contribution to the American Red Cross or I could bid in the auction (proceeds of which go 100% directly to the Red Cross Haiti fund).

Hmmm... This was quite a dilemma. Should I simply contribute $100 or more, or should I contribute the exact same amount, going to the same charitable cause, and get a "free" case of wine in recognition as well. As you can imagine, I deliberated on this for many, many, many...  milliseconds.

Wineries and individual wine enthusiasts have contributed wine and wine-related items for the online auction. Here's the link to the auction catalog. Here you will find crazy good deals on wine -- ranging from fine French wines to cases from great Finger Lakes wineries like Heron Hill, Hazlitt, Knapp and others. You'll find vintage wines and also large format wines. There is a 6 liter bottle for auction -- that is the equivalent of eight bottles of wine. At the risk of people bidding against me, I also want to mention what I think is a great deal -- the McGregor Vineyard (Finger Lakes) Reserve Cabernet Franc. The Stag's Leap Collection is from Stag's Leap employees and includes some very special bottles. Here are some of the great offers:

Raphael First Label Merlot

Fine French Sampler

A Pair of Napa Cult Wines

Dunn Vineyard Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

McGregor Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Franc

A Stag's Leap Collection

The format of the auction is fun and easy. You make your contribution directly to the American Red Cross Haiti relief fund. The e-mail notification will go to Palate Press and they will arrange with the seller to ship your wine to you.

It's simple and it's your chance to contribute to the important work of recovery in Haiti, and reward yourself with some "free" wine for your trouble.

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