Wineries Compete to Raise Donations

Russian River Valley takes on Alexander Valley in charitable effort

by Andrew Adams
Judy Jordan (fourth from left) and John Jordan (third from right) are flanked by current and retired members of the U.S. Marine Corps, who collected 2,060 pounds of toys donated by 19 wineries in the Alexander and Russian River valleys.
Healdsburg, Calif.—Wineries in two areas of Sonoma County collected, literally, a ton of toys for less fortunate children in a charitable contest that pitted Alexander Valley against the Russian River Valley.

Led by Jordan Vineyard & Winery in the Alexander Valley and J Vineyards & Winery in the Russian River Valley, 19 wineries in the two AVAs squared off to see which could fill grape gondolas with the most toys.

An official weigh-in at the Jordan scale house Dec. 14 resulted in the Russian River Valley winning by 20 pounds with 1,040 pounds of toys to Alexander Valley’s 1,020 pounds. Both regions gathered a grand total of 2,060 pounds of toys for the Toys for Tots program, according to a statement released by Jordan and J wineries.

Toys for Tots is a charitable group affiliated with the U.S. Marine Corps. Every year, reserve Marine units collect toys and clothes for the program to ensure needy children receive gifts for Christmas. The toys collected by the winery gift drive will be distributed in the Sonoma County towns of Santa Rosa, Windsor, Healdsburg, Guerneville, Forestville, Sonoma, Rohnert Park and Petaluma.

Jordan winery owner John Jordan had organized toy drives at the winery in past years before making it an official winery event in 2011. For that collection, Jordan challenged winery departments to compete with each other to see which could collect the most toys. After gathering more than 1,000 toys last year, Jordan and his sister Judy Jordan, founder and president of J Vineyards & Winery, engaged in a little competition to see which of the siblings’ home AVAs could raise the most toys.

“The Jordans took their Toys for Tots donation program to the next level,” said Larry Williams, senior vice commandant of U.S. Marine Corps League Detachment 686, the unit that will distribute the toys. “We’re thrilled to have doubled Jordan Winery’s 2011 record (donation), and to have more wineries throughout the valleys participating.”

Wineries that donated to the toy drive include: Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery, Lancaster Estate, Munselle Vineyards, Robert Young Estate Winery, Stryker Sonoma and Silver Oak Cellars (all from the Alexander Valley); DeLoach Vineyards, Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Hartford Court, Lasseter Family Winery, Moshin Vineyards, Papapietro Perry Winery, Rodney Strong Wine Estates, Suncé Winery and Twomey Cellars (from the Russian River Valley) as well as the Alexander Valley Winegrowers Association.

Jordan spokeswoman Lisa Mattson said the hope is to spread the competition among all of Sonoma County’s AVAs next year, and then possibly pit Sonoma County against Napa County.

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