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Monday, October 15, 2012

Blog Action Day: The Wine and Social Justice Connection

For the past three years we have participated in Blog Action Day, an effort to get bloggers around the world to focus on one topic and thereby raise awareness of an important issue. In 2010 the topic was climate change and last year the theme was water.

This year the theme is “The Power of We,” which is defined as a” celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, either for their own communities or for people they will never meet half way around he world.”

How, I wondered, does the wine community make a positive difference in the world? The idea that wine can be an impetus for social good has a solid foundation. In Proverbs 31:6-9 it says:
Give strong drink to one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty,
and remember their misery no more.
Speak out for those who cannot speak,
for the rights of all the destitute.
Speak out, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Apparently King Lemuel was focused on carousing and not the poor and downtrodden. His mother urged him to turn that idea around and told him to focus on those in despair. 

For some of us the closest connection to wine in the public interest is attending a benefit gala. Many worthy causes are aided this way and the wine distributors and volunteers deserve appreciation for all their efforts in this way.

But one example really brought home to me what a difference the fruit of the grape can make in the lives of people.

A shining example is Shoe Shine Wine, which makes “authentic, handcrafted Petite Sirah with equal passions for quality, beauty and social justice.”

Winemaker Eric Cohen briefly worked in the financial work of New York City before he became turned off by corporate greed. He moved out west to fine other like-minded individuals and volunteered working harvest at a couple of wineries.
Gabriel Flores Romero
Through his wine he satisfies his passion for wine and his equal need for social justice. He believes the working poor need to be celebrated and elevated. Shoe Shine Wine is the embodiment of that statement.

A main cause for Shoe Shine Wine is a National Living Wage and their vision is to be a resource and a catalyst for the national living wage movement as they expand across the country. Shoe Shine is among the first in the industry to celebrate and feature LGBT designs on their front labels.

Their vineyard designated Petite Sirah is food friendly, complex, elegant, balanced, and ageworthy. Some spectacular Petite Sirah grapes go into the bottle, but it is also important to note what doesn’t go in. Shoe Shine Wines do not have any added sugar, acid, tannin (excluding that from oak barrel aging), enzymes, copper sulphate, coloring agent, or fining agents.

The wines range in price from $25 to $75. Instead of a tin, aluminum or plastic capsule, the wines come with vintage fabric capsule.

With Shoe Shine Wine you can raise your glass and raise an important cause as well.


Founded in 2007, Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day. Past topics have included water, climate change, poverty and food with thousands of blogs, big and small, taking part.
Photo by Gabriel Flores Romero

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