Charity Case Foundation wine - '09 Sauvignon Blanc and '08 Rose
Charity Case Foundation wine - '09 Sauvignon Blanc and '08 Rose

The headline immediately grabbed my attention: “A little rain, some big needs, and generous hearts.”

Well, I admit, it kind of helped too that the note was included alongside two bottles of wine–an ’09 Sauvignon Blanc, and an ’08 Rosé.

But the story that followed was equally compelling. Formed in 2008 (that difficult, rainy vintage don’t you know it) Charity Case Foundation was formed to help Napa Valley Charities by selling wine made 100% by volunteers and from donates grapes. The bottling will vary year over year depending on the grapes made available through kind contributions from those winemakers looking to help the cause.

Napa pitches in

According to organizers, in 2010 over 10 tons of Chardonnay were donated. Wow. Yes, stand and deliver. Some quick and dirty tablecloth math would suggest that rings in at just over $20K in value (assuming about $2,000 per tonne of Chard, but the number could be slightly higher by about 5% or so).

Best of all, the expenses of the foundation are naughta. Zilch. That means all “the wines, labels, bottles, corks storage, shipping and marketing efforts” are provided entirely by volunteers. 100% of the net benefits Napa non-profit organizations that provide services to children in need and their families.

As the story goes…

…it all started when Jayson Woodbrige of Hundred Acre, Layer Cake, and Cherry Pie started calling around to see who’d pony up some juice. I’m gathering they returned his calls, emails and tweets. The effort took off. One of my favorite bits of trivia relates to Jayson’s mother who spent a year getting all the paperwork in place to form the foundation. They must be pleased to finally see the fruits of their labor manifest itself in these charming, colorful bottles of wine.

And the wine?

Yes, yes, of course… I did sample and taste. Only one bottle so far. I chose the Sauvignon Blanc simply because it appeals to me in general more than Rosé. The good news is that the wine is quite good. Those expecting something like a super floral Kim Crawford (for some reason everyone and their brother references it when it comes to SB) might be either disappointed or pleasantly surprised. For me it was the latter. I don’t like the flower in the water effect. Too herbaceous. So this Charity Case SB ($11.99) is about as far from New Zealand as you can get in that regard. That’s not necessarily good  or bad. It just depends on your palate. There is light, refreshing melon/gooseberry action here, but without too much creaminess. Stone and subdued does the trick on the finish.

Like Matthew Sweet, everything here is 100% Fun… literally as the tasting note suggests. 100% pure Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc grapes. 100% fermented in new French oak barrels. And: 100% made for a good cause. To clarify, not everything is 100% here. The alcohol content rings is at 14.1%.

The causes

The Wolfe Center – drug and alcohol program for teens and families in Napa County.

Cope Family Center – support and education to parents and caregivers to help them cope with stressful situations.

Aldea Children and Family Services – helping young people with serious social, mental, and behavioral difficulties.

Foster Kids Fund (KFK) – a non-profit helping children in foster care.

Stark Sips – Share the Love

2009 Charity Case Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley $11.99

2008 Charity Case Rosé, Napa Valley $11.99

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear