Monday, December 11, 2006

A Menu for Hope III

Well peeps it looks line vino girl and winemonkey are finally doing something productive! As participants in this year's A Menu For Hope, we hope you take full advantage of all of the raffle items being offered and going to a good cause. We'd love it if you threw out a $10 spot to try and grab a free one year subscription to the soon to be launched Bon Vivant Wine Guide (an $80 value mind you), but we'd much rather just have you give to a good cause. We have included Alder Yarrow's super post on the subject which you can also find over at and has all of the wine related prizes being offered. Instructions are at the end or go directly to the A Menu for Hope donation page

'Tis the season...

-The Bon Vivant Wine Guide Staff


Vinography: A Wine Blog

Wine and food adventures in San Francisco and around the world.

Longtime readers will remember the annual giving campaign that I participate in called A Menu For Hope. First organized by my friend and fellow blogger Pim after the 2004 Tsunami, this campaign has turned into a serious annual fundraising event that demonstrates the power of the food and wine blogging world. Last year we raised almost $18,000 for charity, and this year, I predict, we will raise well over twice that amount.

This year's event is structured differently than in past years. In addition to participating bloggers posting their prizes on their individual blogs and there being just a single location for listing them all, this year there are regional hosts for bloggers all over the world and one topical host for prizes of a certain, flavor, shall we say?

Vinography is proud to be the host for all the wine blogging prizes for A Menu for Hope III. My job is to provide a summary of all the prizes donated by wine bloggers, and to point you out to their sites to check out the fabulous gifts, services, and yes, even wine, you can have a chance to win simply by doing something that we all should do around this time of year: donate to charity.
This year's deserving charity is the UN World Food Programme -- a fitting recipient of the goodwill from food and wine bloggers and their readers. I hope you will consider donating something. The smallest amount is a mere $10, which if you're sitting in front of a computer that you own, you most certainly can afford.

The campaign is essentially a big raffle for prizes. You look through the prizes, figure out which one(s) you want to try to win, and then you buy "virtual raffle tickets" -- one for each $10 of donation you make to our cause on the special web site set up for that purpose.
When you make your donation, you simply specify the prize number(s) (each prize should have one) and the "number of tickets" your donation is buying. Donate thirty bucks, get three tickets, and use them for one prize, or for three. Just be specific in your request.
Here's the site to enter / donate.

So first of all, remember that these are just the wine blog prizes. There are TONS OF OTHER PRIZES awaiting you over on our fearless leader's site. Go check them out too. But not before taking a look at these incredibly generous and creative donations from wine bloggers far and wide:

WB01 - Dinner with Eric Asimov, Wine Critic. Courtesy of The Pour

The ultimate wine geek experience: dinner with a world famous wine critic. One lucky person can join Eric Asimov, the New York Times wine critic for an intimate dinner in New York City. Spend an evening enjoying great wine and conversation with this down-to-earth and charming writer. Eric will pick up the tab for dinner and wine at a casual restaurant with a great wine list somewhere in Manhattan. Date and restaurant choice will be determined in collaboration with the winning bidder. Suggested starting bid: $100

WB02 - Vinography Is Your Sommelier for a Night. Courtesy of Yours Truly.

I will be your personal sommelier for a night for a dinner party of up to six people. You decide the menu (I can offer guidance), and I will select wines to pair with your dinner, including some from my personal cellar. I will bring the wines to your party, and serve as sommelier for you and your guests, pouring the wine and explaining it throughout dinner. We can make this as formal or as informal as you like (my wife tells me I clean up pretty well in a suit). Theoretically I am also willing to do this at a restaurant, but you'd have to pick up the tab for my dinner and the corkage fees. I'm willing to do this anywhere in the general San Francisco Bay Area, and farther afield as well if anyone wants to pay for travel. And before you get TOO excited, you should know my cellar is not filled with $300 bottles of perfectly aged Burgundy. I don't have any doubt, however, that I can offer wines to please anyone's palate, and will provide a thoroughly enjoyable evening for you and your friends regardless of your level of wine knowledge. Approximate value: $200.

WB03 - Fork & Bottle Specially Selected Artisan Wine & Cheese of Sonoma County. Courtesy of Fork & Bottle

Jack and Joanne of the Food and Wine site
Fork & Bottle have put together a precious gift basket for any gourmet wine lover. Here’s your opportunity to drink two perfectly aged Sonoma County legends and enjoy local cheeses with them. Jack pulled two of our oldest Sonoma County bottles from our temperature controlled cellar for your drinking pleasure. Kistler and Rochioli have long been two of the five top wineries in Sonoma County.
2000 J. Rochioli Chardonnay Russian River Valley River Block
1997 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
In addition the lucky winner will also receive four Sonoma County made artisan cheeses: from the likes of Andante Dairy, Two Rock, and Pug’s Leap. Joanne will personally make selections from what is showing best and is available at the time of shipping.

Wine will be shipped only to a reciprocal state – otherwise you'll have to come and pick it up! Approximate value: $250.

WB04 - Russian River Pinot Noir Pack. Courtesy of Pinotblogger

Josh, from Pinotblogger: the Capozzi Winery blog will be choosing three (3) of his favorite pinots from the Russian River Valley. Josh will include a short write-up along with his reasons for choosing each bottle - along with the wine of course! Indulge your pinot cravings for a great cause, and since most RR pinot retails for around $35 a bottle, this raffle is an absolute steal. Approximate value: $110

WB05 - 10 Wines from Wark Communications Clients. Courtesy of Tom Wark'sFermentation

Tom Wark, winery PR consultant and the owner of the Fermentations wine blog is offering ten (10) bottles of wine from his various client wineries:

-1997 Handley Cellars Brut Rose (Anderson Valley)
-2000 Schug Carneros Estate Pinot Noir (Carneros)
-NV Humanitas L’Huile Du Garagiste Red Table Wine (Napa Valley)
-2004 Cima Collina “Chula Vina Vineyard” Chardonnay (Monterey County)
-2004 Bucklin “Old Hill Ranch” Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley)
-2002 Astrale e Terra ARCTURUS (Atlas Peak)
-2005 Goosecross Cellars Chenin Blanc (Napa Valley)
-2005 Hook & Ladder Winery Gewurztraminer (Russian River Valley)
-2004 Saintsbury “Brown Ranch” Pinot Noir (Carneros)
-2004 Mayo Family Winery “Ricci Vineyard” Reserve Zinfandel—Old Vine

Approximate value of these wines: $350

WB06 - Northwest by Northwest. Courtesy of The Wine Offensive

I offer my favorite pairing in a box: Wild mushroom and hazelnut farro with Nebbiolo, the epitome of Northwestern Italy, accented with my favorite ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to give something that paid tribute to my grapey goddess Nebbiolo, and took it from there. Not as high concept as it sounds, the hearty food tradition of Piedmont comes alive in autumn and worships mushrooms, truffles, and whole grains like risotto and farro. Up here in the Northwest, our dank autumns bring on a shroom cornucopia, and our truffles? Well, though not quite legendary, they are attainable.

Included in this item, lovingly packed by moi:
one bottle of 2001 Roagna Langhe Rosso
handwritten recipe for Wild mushroom & hazelnut farro
and almost everything you need to make it, including:
organic Piedmontese farro, a wedge of Quillisascut Farm's aged Curado cheese, fresh-dried wild mushrooms from Seattle's Found & Foraged, Washington truffle salt from Found & Foraged, with container, Washington filberts, detailed tasting notes, a handmade gift card and gorgeous packaging, suitable for re-gifting., Approximate value: $100.

Maggie Dutton is author of The Wine Offensive and writes about booze and beer for the Seattle Weekly.

WB07 - Your Health and Wine: A Free Consultation. Courtesy of Dr. Enouch Choi

Dr. Enoch Choi of the Stanford Medical center is a physician by day, and wine blogger by night. He is offering a free 30 minute consultation about wine and your health, no co-pay needed! In this day and age of HMOs this prize probably has a real value of about $800!

WB08 - Personal Wine Blog Feed. Courtesy of Winecast

The winner of this raffle will receive their own personal blog (RSS) feed written by Winecast host Tim Elliott. There will be at least one post per week for a year on the winner's subjects of choice. Also included is a phone call, instant messaging session or email exchange to better understand the winner's interests in wine before starting. These posts can be read online, via an RSS reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines or via an email subscription. You can also share this feed with friends and family, if you choose.

Examples of posts are personalized wine recommendations, food matching tips, wine events of interest, wine education and perhaps a podcast or two. It will really depend upon what the winner would like to learn more about. Want to know more about Rhone wines? The best restaurants in Napa and Sonoma valleys? What wines will age well for your child's (or grandchild's) 21st birthday? What red wines are best with eel? Whatever you would like that is wine related is fair-game.

WB09 - The Italian Wine Guy is Your Sommelier for a Night. Courtesy of The Italian Wine Guy

I will be offering to be the sommelier at someone's private dinner party for up to six people in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas Area for an evening (or farther if someone wants to pay transportation costs). They will choose the menu to cook for their friends (or the restaurant to eat at) and I will bring the wine, including some from my cellar to match the cuisine and tell people about them. Approximate value: $200

WB10 - Free Subscription to the Bon Vivant Wine Guide. Courtesy of Drink The Good Stuff

Get online and become inspired by the great Cabernet and Merlot based wines of the world. This independent, subscription based wine website focuses on quality wines produced using traditional Bordeaux varietals. Bon Vivant brings you information on cult finds, hidden treasures, promising new producers, and how vintages are progressing. Not only will you receive access to a database of more than one hundred wines per month but you will be taken back stage to learn of the winemaker’s personalities and the wineries’ passions for producing the most talked about, collectable, and captivating wines. Find out more by visiting and join Bon Vivant on their never ending quest to drink the good stuff. Offer valid January – December 2007. Approximate value: $80

WB11 - Cult Sake and a Sake Bar Tour. Courtesy of Tokyo Through the Drinking Glass
Sake fans take notice. The winner of this prize will receive two 180ml bottles of premium sake, guaranteed not to be available outside of Japan. This is the good stuff! And what's more, you'll also get a guided, insider tour of a locals-only sake bar in Tokyo, Japan, with the first drink paid for by your guide, Melinda of Tokyo Through the Drinking Glass. Plane fare and accommodations NOT included, but you don't have to wait 'til you visit Japan to get your sake.

WB12 - The Food and Wine Pairing Bible. Courtesy of The Corkdork

Longtime readers of The Corkdork blog know that one of the main reasons for starting to blog was to document great food and wine pairings. My donation to the Menu for Hope campaign benefiting the UN's World Food Programme is a new copy of Evan Goldstein's "A Master Sommelier's Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food"? (Hardcover) that I will do my best to have autographed by the author. While this does have many excellent recipes, it's real value is Evan's insights into the theory of why certain foods work best with very particular wine styles e.g., fruit-forward, dry bubblies (Brut style), earthy, minerally Chardonnays (Burgundy style), blended Sangioveses (Super Tuscan-style). He thinks the way I do...backwards. First you pick the wine you want to serve, then make a meal around it. I hope whomever wins this gets as much use out of their copy as I do from mine.

WB13 - The Cal-Mid Wine Gift Pack. Courtesy of The Good Grape

You've heard of Cal-Ital's? This is a "Cal-Mid" wine gift pack. Mid as in Midwest. This fantastic offering includes one bottle of the '99 Heitz Cellars Cabernet, Martha's Vineyard designate. Scoring a 92 by Wine Spectator, this legendary California Cabernet can be found on various sites on the Internet for $130 + dollars a bottle. From WS: Spicy mint and bay leaf aromas mingle with ripe currant and black cherry fruit, turning smooth and elegant on the palate while displaying richness, depth and concentration; finishes with a full chorus of ripe fruit flavors and firm yet supple tannins. Drink now through 2012.

Complement your Napa Cab experience with a bottle of the 2004 Cabernet from Olivery Winery in Bloomington, IN. The winery crown jewel of the Midwest, Oliver creates compelling value-based wines using estate grown fruit and grapes from long-time contracts in California. Priced at $22 a bottle, you'll get a wine that tastes like a $50 bottle priced for the Midwest market. Previous vintages have been medal winners at the Indy International Wine Competition, the 2nd largest wine competition in the country. Enjoy this brooding wine with moderate tannins and dark fruits after decanting for 1/2 hr. or use it as a conversation piece--a superb wine from the home of basketball that is barely in distribution.

While you're pouring yourself a glass, turn the pages on Cabernet by Charles O'Rear. A beautiful coffee-table style book with color-drenched photo's of the vine, the grape, and the people that make the wine this book will find a welcome spot in your home for you and guests to browse through for a 15 minute vacation. A $30 value.

Total Approximate value: $210

WB14 - The Ultimate Wine Reference Book. Courtesy of Dr. Vino

Hailed as "the most useful wine book ever" by Slate, this third edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine, edited by Jancis Robinson, tips the scales at 800 pages and 4,000 entries. Donated by Tyler Colman of, a contributor to the volume. Approximate Value: $40

WB15 - Custom Washington Wine Tour Itinerary. Courtesy of The Seattle Wine Blog

winemap_wa.jpgGene Stein, founder of the the Seattle Wine Blog, Washington's leading wine blog, will use his extensive knowledge of Washington wine and Washington's 400 plus wineries, to help you plan an exceptional tour of Washington's Wine Country. After understanding your taste preferences and travel dates, Gene will recommend which of Washington's AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) to visit and will provide you with an itinerary of which wineries to visit. This can include small little known wineries where you will be able to taste and purchase wines that are not generally available. Gene will help you make your wine country vacation unforgettable. Please note that this auction item includes consultation and information only. Buyer will be responsible for making their own reservations and travel arrangements. This item will expire one year after the close of the auction.

WB16 - The Two Ultimate Wine Reference Books. Courtesy of Purple Liquid

catherineprize_large.jpgBoth are edited or co-edited by one of my favorite wine writers Jancis Robinson. I use these two books constantly. The atlas is indispensable if you want to understand why and how vine grow in the great wine regions of the world. And I love the 180 or so detailed maps that are included in the book. The Oxford Companion has more than 3,000 entries on anything that is related to wine. The information is so broad and detailed at the same time that I have never been disappointed; I have always found in the book what that I was looking for. Approximate value: $80

WB17 - Taste the Hamptons Wine Basket. Courtesy of Lenndevours

hamptons_larger.jpgLong Island's Hamptons are best known for the celebrities who summer there and the lifestyle they bring with them. But, two of Long Island's best wineries, Channing Daughters Winery and Wolffer Estate Vineyards, also reside there. With a slightly cooler and shorter growing season than the North Fork, white wines rule the Hamptons. Taste and experience these delightful wines for yourself with the "Taste the Hamptons" basket, which includes:

One (1) bottle of Channing Daughters Winery 2005 Vino Bianco

One (1) bottle of Wolffer Estate Vineyards 2003 Reserve Chardonnay
A free tasting for four (4) at Channing Daughters Winery's tasting room
A VIP Tour and Tasting for two (2) at Wolffer Estate Vineyards
Four (4) tickets to a summer performance at the Southampton Cultural Center
Approximate value: $250

WB18 - "Big" Reds of Long Island. Courtesy of Lenndevours

The word "big" is a relative term in the world of wine. You won't find any 15% alcohol, big tanning, ultra-ripe red wines on Long Island. Rather, winemakers craft smooth, refined and nuanced wines made with restraint. This basket, which includes two wines from 2001 -- one of the best Long Island vintages ever -- and the red that was named Long Island's red blend last summer at the 2006 New York Food & Wine Classic. These wines are the "big" reds of Long Island both for their flavor and because two of the bottles are large format. This package includes:
One (1) 3-liter bottle of Raphael 2001 First Label Merlot
One (1) Magnum of Castello di Borghese 2001 Merlot
One (1) 750ml bottle of Roanoke Vineyards 2003 Blend 2
Approximate value: $295

WB19 - A Romantic Getaway for Long Island Wine Lovers. Courtesy of Lenndevours

harvestinn_larger.jpgLong Island's North Fork is one of the most beautiful, bucolic places in New York. With beautiful vineyards stretching from Great Peconic Bay to the Long Island Sound, quaint villages and rustic tasting rooms, it makes the perfect spot for a romantic getaway -- especially for wine lovers. This package includes a bottle of sparkling wine to toast the person you love, a night at one of the North Forks best bed and breakfasts -- including a gourmet breakfast -- and a van wine tour for two with one of Long Island's most knowledgeable tour guides.
One (1) night at Harvest Inn B&B, including gourmet breakfast the next morning
Tour for two (2) with Vintage Tours, which includes a 5-hour tour of at least three wineries and a gourmet picnic lunch
One (1) bottle of Martha Clara Vineyards Brut Sparkling Wine
Approximate value: $425

WB20 - Learn About and Taste Wines on Long Island. Courtesy of Lenndevours

learnabout_larger.jpgOne of the greatest things about wine is that you can always learn more. Expand your wine knowledge with one of Long Island's most dynamic wine education organizations, Grand Cru Classes, spend the night at a bed and breakfast and enjoy two bottles of wine from one of Long Island's smallest, most hands-on wineries. This special package includes:
One (1) night at Red Barn B&B for two, including a country breakfast in the morning
Two (2) gift certificates for two (2) people to take classes at Grand Cru Classes (4 classes total)
One (1) bottle of Waters Crest Winery Reserve Merlot
One (1) bottle of Waters Crest Winery Reserve Chardonnay
Approximate value: $520

WB21 - Taste the North Fork of Long Island. Courtesy of Lenndevours

taste_northfork_larger.jpgLong Island is making some of the most exciting wines in America today. Get a taste from many of the region's best wineries with this basket, which includes tastings, and in some cases, tours with winemakers:
A free tasting for two (2) at Paumanok Vineyards and a 35% discount on wine purchases up to $500
VIP Tasting and Tour for four (4) at Bedell Cellars, which includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the facilities, a wine and cheese pairing, and tastes of their premium wines
A Private Tasting at Martha Clara Vineyards at their private tasting bar
A Private Tour and Tasting for six (6) at Waters Crest Winery, conducted by the owners and winemaker
A Tour and Tasting for four (4) at Shinn Estate Vineyards, conducted by the owners
Four (4) Cuvee Tasting Flights at Macari Vineyards and a $25 gift certificate for the tasting room
Approximate value: $400

WB22 - Personal Tour of Long Island Wine Country. Courtesy of Lenndevours

personal_tasting_larger.jpgAnyone can drive around Long Island's East End and visit wineries, but where should you go? What wines are the best? Who is pouring the latest and greatest releases? There's nothing better than tasting through wine country with a local wine expert.

Win this lot and enjoy a personal tour for two (2) of Long Island wine country with Lenn Thompson of the Long Island Wine Gazette and He'll talk to you beforehand to customize the itinerary to your wine tastes and then join you as you visit some of his favorite wineries and taste his favorite wines.

Approximate value: $200

WB23 - Wine Label Poster. Courtesy of,, the photographic wine blog, offers one lucky prize winner a signed poster sized print of any of Jerry Hall's detailed wine label photos. Select from over 500 labels currently on display at, and your approximately 24 inch by 36 inch glossy color mounted poster will be delivered to you. Large format printing is courtesy of Nashville, Tennessee based

WB24 - A Signed Vertical from Puriri Hills Winery. Courtesy of GenevelynSteeleSwallows

labelfront_puriri.jpgA vertical from the Puriri Hills Winery, vintages 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 , signed by the winemaker Trudy Fowler.
This is an ABC wine (Authentic- Bourdeaux-style- Claret) from New Zealand. If you are a lover of unusual, well-made clarets hailing from unexpected places such as Long Island, then this is your prize. If you are in possession of a kick-ass wine collection of signed bottles, then this is your prize. Or if you are just interested in what Genevelyn Steele does actually swallow with regularity, this is your prize.

Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine says this about Trudy Fowler's wine:"Puriri Hills has consistently made Clevedon's best red wine since its first vintage in 1999." August 2006. Approximate Value $250.00


Here's what you should do...
1. Go to the donation page.

2. Make a donation. Each $10 will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. Do tell us how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code -for example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for WB01 and 3 for WB02.

3. If your company matches your charity donation, please remember to check the box and fill in the information so we can claim the corporate match.

4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone. We swear.

5. Check back on Chez Pim on January 15 when we announce the result of the raffle. (The drawing will be done electronically. Our friend Derrick, the code wizard at Obsession with Food, is responsible for the wicked application that will do the job.)

Thanks for your support.

1 comment:

  1. very cool!!! - be sure to update the list for us latecomers!-)

    see for WB27!

    cheers! - j