Drinking for a cause

Following President Obama's announcement that he'll be deploying 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, it's time for the rest of us to do our part. In the past, Americans have helped out on the home front by planting gardens, rationing food and saving tin foil. In 2009, we're being asked to crack open a bottle of Zin.

ONEHOPE, a new winery based in Graton, Calif., promises to donate 50% of the profit from its California Zinfandel wine to the troops and their families through the Snowball Express organization. A black bottle with a gold memory ribbon logo on its label, the wine is priced under $20 and described as containing red berry and currant flavors, a touch of allspice and a smooth, crisp finish.

However, it is the purpose behind the product that sets it apart. In a statement on its website, ONEHOPE says the reason it chose to support the troops is because military families have always paid a "steep price". They write, "One in 75 American troops who have gone to war has never returned and more than 4,735 people have perished in Iraq...In many instances, children are left without moms and dads, some never even getting to know their fallen parents."

It's enough to make you start drinking whether there's a charitable purpose or not.

ONEHOPE is nothing if not purposeful. In fact, every wine produced will donate 50% of its profit to a specific cause. Sip a Chardonnay, donate to breast cancer research. Open a Cabernet Sauvignon support Autism Awareness. Merlot benefits AIDS research through Life Cycle, and the Sauvignon Blanc raises money for "The Planet," while giving specifically to the American Forest charity.

The winery has also instituted a Charity Affiliate Program (CHAP) designed to provide fund raising opportunities using custom micro sites connected to Onehopewine.com.

But how do they taste? Well, since I'm writing this on a crisp morning full of sunshine and have barely finished my coffee, you'll have to wait to hear my amateur review. However, I can report that most of the wines have won awards at the Long Beach Grand Cru, Tasters Guild Wine Lover's Consumer Competition, Dallas Morning News Wine Competition, and Florida State Fair International Wine Competition.

This wine plans on getting a buzz going one way or another. A company that's altruistic and entrepreneurial? I'll drink to that.

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