Website down, no references to any more wine made after 2011. Archiving this review now.
Charity Case was originally founded by Pat Woodbridge along with her friend Sheila Daugherty; winemaker Helen Mawson later joined. Pat and Sheila were introduced to each other by their sons – both women sat on the board of directors for The Wolfe Center (a drug and alcohol abuse out-patient treatment program for teens and their families located in the city of Napa). Today Peggy Garcia is also heavily involved in the day to date activities. All four women volunteer their time to this unique wine company and do not take salaries.
The focus of Charity Case is to create affordable quality wine that with community involvement helps support a number of local charities. As how a number of wine ideas have fermented in the Napa Valley, Charity Case was born over a nice glass of wine when both Pat & Sheila were discussing how they could help the community in light of recent cut backs in charity funding and the economic downturn. A recession is not always the best time to start a business especially a luxury one such as a wine brand – but all four women have good connections in the Napa Valley and the area vintners have been very generous.
Charity Case is truly a community effort – because the juice and or grapes have been donated, along with bottles & corks, the labels were made at cost and the wine-making time has been given so generously including the facilities – Charity Case has effectively eliminated many of the inherent costs of making wine! This allows them to focus on donating as much of the proceeds from the sales as possible to charity. Napa vintners have been extremely supportive donating all the juice and or grapes for their wines each year.
Long time Napa vintner Jayson Woodbridge (Pat’s son) has been instrumental in the growth of Charity Case. It was his idea in 2008 to contact vintners for wine bled off before fermentation using the French Saignee method – as often this juice was not used for making wine especially when grapes are harvested after a rain storm (the fruit swells up with excess water). 2008 was a particularly rainy harvest in the Napa Valley. Jayson contacted a number of vintners and eight wineries gave them this bled off “juice” to make a Rose for their first release.
Jayson also came up with the name for the winery and designed their label. Where else can you find such extremely affordable wines hand crafted by one of the sought after wine teams in the valley – Jayson and his winemaker Helen Mawson. Helen makes the Charity Case wines at Woodbridge Winery.
Today Charity Case supports 4 area non profits: the Wolfe Center, Cope Family Center, ALDEA Children and Family Services and the Foster Kids Fund. The money is not just donated without direction – the focus of their proceeds is on basic needs – for example some of the proceeds have been used to purchase computers, backpacks, braces, and glasses for the children.
Their first vintage was released in 2008 and was a Rose. A Rose has been made every year with additional varietals released including a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay. Wines will in part be released based upon the fruit sources donated from year to year. The label on each bottle makes their mission clear. Words such as empathy, compassion, generosity, and “believe in purpose” are testament to their goals.
The 2009 Rose is a blend of several varietals; it is salmon colored in the glass. It presents an opulent and showy nose with ripe fruit. Hints of pencil shavings and other mineralities breath in the background with notes of crushed citrus leaf more pronounced. However there is plenty of fruit both on the bouquet and the palate including cranberry and strawberry. The mouth feel is rather satiny in texture. This Rose has an alcohol slightly over 14%. Its texture leaves fine grained tannins that barely kiss the palate as the finish lasts for some time. This is a fun and easily quaffable wine that among friends, quickly leaves an empty bottle!
The 2009 barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc is a bright straw color in the glass. The nose has plenty of power – showing underlying tropical notes of pineapple and passion fruit and also orange peel and a graphite component. Tropical flavors abound – the mouth feel is rounded and soft throughout – the finish persists for some time showing both fruit, alcohol and an influence from the oak that was used during the barrel aging.
The fruit for the 2010 Chardonnay was donated by Stanley Ranch in Napa’s cooler Carneros appellation. This wine is dark golden in the glass – the inviting bouquet shows ripe fruit – pineapple, some honey characteristics, wonderful floral notes and a variety of baking spices. It is very aromatic. There is a lot of fruit on the palate – almost like drinking dessert but the wine is entirely dry! The finish is clean and quick. For a cool weather sourced wine, this is a bold display of varietal power not always seen with Carneros Chardonnay.
To date Charity case has donated $30,000 and has also secured material donations such as from Nike who donated 150 pairs of shoes for children. Their total production is under 1000 cases. Most of their distribution is local – available at select restaurants in the valley including Allegria in the city of Napa as well as select distribution along the “strip” in Las Vegas.
Pat remembers the challenges of trying to sell wine year round as a certified 501(3) non profit. At the time they applied for their license non profits could only pour their wine at a few select events each year. This limitation was going to make it quite difficult to promote their wines so Pat pushed for new requirements for non profits promoting wine. Charity Case was the first such non profit to be allowed to pour and promote their wines year round, rather than just at a few events each year.
NOTE: This review has been archived.
REASON: Stopped producing wine commercially
Video by Peter & Allie of My Wine Words
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