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10 Years of WineCollective

Celebrating a Decade of Sharing Wine

2019 marks 10 years since the first WineCollective subscription packages shipped and it’s incredible to see how far we have come. We’ve seen great growth over the last decade and we are so excited by the number of Canadians we help discover and expand their love of wine. WineCollective was created on a foundation of wine education and sharing, which is still at the forefront of what we do. We have a great team that has grown a lot since 2009. One thing that will never change is our commitment to get Canadians sharing, enjoying, and learning about wine.

Humble Beginnings

What began as an idea to deliver great wine and wine information to people, quickly lead to learning that it’s a trickier business than one would think. Canada is a great country full of wine enthusiasts in all corners, however we are also very large and cold. Determined as ever and eager to bring wine to the masses, we worked hard to ensure our subscribers always have access to the wonderful bottles we select to share. It’s one of the reasons we are the longest running wine subscription service in the country! Delivering bottles of wine to the far corners of our huge country is no easy task. But we are committed to getting the best wine into the hands of Canadians and being a reliable resource for wine information and discovery.

Giving Back

Having now been in business for 10 years, WineCollective is able to support many community charities and events. It’s one of the greatest parts of being a small business. Our passion is wine, but our hearts are always rooted in our communities.  We’re honoured to support many local and national charities including MS Society of Canada, Everett’s Wings, Movember, and many more. Our WineCollective team is constantly active on a local level. Our retail store in Calgary supports many local charities through direct donations from in-store sales. It’s just one of the many ways we give back – all thanks to you!

Looking Ahead

Community, family, and friendships are built around great bottles of wine and we are so excited each month to send our subscribers the very best wine Canada and the world has to offer. We hope that with every cork you pop or top you unscrew, you are learning, sharing, and enjoying amazing wine. Thank you for 10 excellent years and here’s to many more!


Wine and Charcuterie Pairings

The Ultimate Hosting Pair

There is nothing quite like setting up a really impressive charcuterie board for guests. The word itself sounds fancy, so offering charcuterie as a host earns you big points. The best way to elevate your charcuterie game and make it fully impressive, is to serve the right wine alongside your offerings. Today we’re exploring the world of charcuterie and wine: two of our favourite things.

Choosing Your Charcuterie Mix

No two charcuterie boards are the same, which is part of the appeal of them. In fact, the fun of charcuterie platters is mixing things up and trying new food combinations. That being said, the basic tenets of a good charcuterie offering include:

  • Cheese: There is no shortage of cheese readily available to be shared. The cheese case at the grocery store or farmer’s market can be truly overwhelming. The best way to start a charcuterie board, is to include at least one type of cheese from each category:
    • Soft: Feta, soft artisanal Goat Cheese, Brie
    • Semi-soft: Havarti, Munster, Gorgonzola
    • Hard: extra-aged Cheddar, aged Gouda, Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Meat: Getting a selection of salty, cured meat will compliment the cheese and wine very nicely. Some meat to include that are well-loved:
    • Prosciutto
    • Sopressata
    • Soujouk
  • Add-ons: This is where you can get creative! It’s always nice to include some bread items like sliced baguette or crackers, alongside spreads like apricot jam, paté, and stone ground mustards. Adding in fruits like green or red seedless grapes, strawberries, and cantaloupe are refreshing breaks for the salt of the cheese and meat. Olives, figs, and dates are also nice treats to mix in.

Bring on the Wine

One of the nice things about sharing a charcuterie board, is that both white and red wines pair really well. There are a number of options between the two that work great with the food found on charcuterie boards. So whether you’re a red or white fan—or want to serve both—we’ve got you covered.

Red

Two of our favourite reds to serve with charcuterie hail from Cotes du Rhône in France and any French Syrah. Reds from Cotes du Rhône are often full-bodied and lush; an outstanding partner for an evening in with friends. Cotes du Rhône wines are very quaffable and forgiving in how to pair, which makes them a great companion for the varied items on a charcuterie platter! French Syrah is a major player in the Northern Rhône region of France and is considered the “Mecca of Syrah”.

We are enjoying French Syrah blends lately, as well, which are a great option to bring out with your charcuterie board. Some bottles we love include: The Long Little Dog Rouge de Vin 2017 and Le Cirque Rouge.

White

If red is not in the cards for you, there are white wine options that are great companions to your charcuterie offerings. Sharing wine you love is key, so we always want you to go with what you enjoy! An unoaked Chardonnay would be an excellent pairing, such as Château Fuissé Saint-Véran or Domaine Gérard Tremblay.

When building a charcuterie board and sharing with friends or family, the most important part as always, is to enjoy yourself! Don’t put too much pressure on doing things “right”. Food and wine should be fun.


Wine Gifts for Dad

Thinking Outside the Bottle

Gifting wine is a pretty traditional scene. You bring a bottle to hosts, give a bottle to friends during the holidays, and keep some on-hand for when you forget to grab something. As the popularity and access to great wine grows, more people are getting interested in the world of wine. Which is great news because there are so many options now to gift wine drinkers––besides pricey bottles. Dads in particular are the perfect gift recipients to great wine accessories. Who doesn’t know a Dad that doesn’t love tinkering around with new gadgets or showing off a new item they just picked up that few others have? We’ve rounded up some great wine gift ideas that will get Dad excited about his wine collection again.

Coravin Wine Preservation System

The Coravin System allows you to access, pour, and enjoy your favourite wines by the glass whenever you like, without pulling the cork. This is the ideal gift for Dads who enjoy tasting their wines without finishing a bottle in one sitting. The innovative design keeps wine safe from oxidation, allowing it to continue to age naturally. It’s a truly unique gadget that will get any wine fan talking.

Wine Aerator

There are a number of options in the wine aerator market. Wine aerators are helpful in speeding up the process of opening wines up to breathe, which is important for flavour development. Aerating wine allows for enhanced tasting and a smoother finish, without the waiting time that traditional decanting requires. Models like the Vinturi Wine Aerator require no batteries and are compact enough to leave in the kitchen drawer. A great gift for any red fan in particular.

Tasting Journal

It can be difficult for anyone to keep up with the wines they tasted. Keeping short notes in your phone or trying to remember which bottles you loved, isn’t very comprehensive. Tasting journals are a really great way to get Dad to enjoy the wine experience more and also learn from what he has tried. There are some wonderful options out there for tasting journals. One we love is from Wine Folly, for its tasting method guide and overall quality. Getting Dad to track his wine is a really thoughtful gift he will use for years to come.

Enjoying Wine Together

With so many options available in the wine world these days, you’re sure to find something that not only gets Dad enjoying his wine, but sharing it too. We hope you’re able to take in a glass or two with the Dads in your life and talk about the great wine you’ve been enjoying lately! Happy Father’s Day!


Wine Camping Tips

Taking the Cellar Outdoors

As Canadians who have to endure months of cold, snowy winters, the summer months are truly a time to cherish. We shed our many layers, pile in the car, and head outside –– to the mountains, the lake, or wherever the wind pulls us. The fresh air filling our lungs is wonderfully satisfying and can only be improved by one thing: great wine. Which is why we think stepping out of our houses and into the woods doesn’t mean you have to leave the wine at home. In fact, this is the perfect time to tote your favourite vintages and varietals to the great outdoors!

Wine Transportation in Mother Nature

Foldable Wine Bags

Don’t be skeptical of the compactness of foldable wine bags. These are the way to go if you’re camping and want to bring a good amount of wine with you. Super portable and easy to use, foldable wine bags are wine convenience at its finest. Easily found anywhere from Amazon to MEC, wine bags can vary in size and price, depending on your needs. These are definitely the way to go if you’re backpacking or having to carry your supplies any sort of distance. No one wants to haul full glass bottles into the woods.

Wine in a Can

That’s right. We said it. Wine in a can. It might seem blasphemous, but canned wine just might be the way of the future. Super portable, easy to clean-up and take with you once empty (can crushing contest, anyone?), and easy to chill in the river, canned wine is great. There are also a ton of quality wine options in cans now. One of our favourites is Oro Bello Blanc des Blancs.

Vacuum Containers

If vessel-size isn’t a huge concern for you, but temperature control is –– then vacuum containers are the way to transport your wine. These range in size from single portion tumblers to half-gallon jugs. By sacrificing weight and portability, your options for quality control definitely goes up. Insulated containers are well-sealed so you don’t have to worry about spillage and they keep your white wine chilled and your red wine temperate. We’re big fans of lidded insulated tumblers for their portability and temperature control. In fact we’re such big fans that we included a 10th Anniversary edition insulated tumbler with our cabin cases this year! They are truly the perfect outdoor wine companion.

Choosing Camping Wine

Generally when we take on the great outdoors, we have to plan ahead for meals. This is the perfect time to figure out if there are certain meals you’re going to have that would work well with camping. If you aren’t interested in figuring out meals and pairing beforehand or just want to enjoy some wine as the sunsets, we have some great ideas to take with you.

Camp Food Pairings

The best camping meals are made over the fire, which is one reason we love spending a few nights under the stars. Secondly, food tastes better with a little bit of ash cooked in. So if that sounds appealing, we have a few great suggestions for wines to pair with your camping dinners:

  • Burgers: No matter how you dress up your burger, this wine is made for camp dinner.
    Barbera Da Vine – Barbera | Piedmont, Italy; the acidity levels, richness, and hint of berries make a great companion to any fire-blazed burger.
  • Spicy Italian Sausage: Elevated hot dogs for adults, are ideal camping food fare.
    Clos du Soleil – Pinot Blanc | Similkameen Valley, Canada; this stunning white will combat the spice with good acidity and punches of citrus.
  • S’mores: Are you even camping if you don’t cook up s’mores over the fire?
    Tawse Spark – Riesling | Twenty Mile Bench, Canada; Dare we suggest bringing a bottle of sparkling wine with you? If you’re packing up supplies for s’mores, it’s worth making some extra room for this Canadian sparkling white.

The Key is Having Fun

No matter how you decide to spend your time outdoors, it’s important to make the most of it. Our time in the sun, amongst the trees, is short in Canada. So if you enjoy a great glass of wine to unwind after a trek through the woods or a long day on the lake, we say Cheers to that!


Featured May Wine

Hand Selected Wines for May

We’re welcoming in spring with open arms here at WineCollective. Our May wine subscription packages are out across Canada and we want to share all the great bottles your fellow WineCollective members are drinking. With the flowers blooming, we’re finally ready to enjoy time on the deck or patio. In short, it’s time to enjoy the fresh air with a nice glass of wine. This month we featured 11 wines from around the world, with a mix of blends, white, and reds. All of these pair well with good company. Which we like to think all wine should.

Some Features to Note:

  • Two of the wines were bottled in 2014, however, they can both rest in the cellar for another 5-6 years. In addition to that, both 2014 wines are from Spain.
  • Also noteworthy in our Spanish wines: in Spain, the Viura varietal is referred to as ‘Macabeo’.
  • Chardonnay is featured in two bottles – both in a blend and on its own. Now, not everyone claims to be a fan of Chardonnay. As a result, we think it’s important to mention the value in trying different styles!

WineCollective May Wine Features:

Héraldique Cuvée Prestige (Grenache, Marselan, Mourvedre, Syrah) – Pays d’Oc, France | 2017

Gaintza Aitako (Hondarrabi Zuri, Hondarrabi Beltz, Chardonnay) – Getariako Txakolina, Spain | 2015

Condado de Haza Crianza (Tempranillo) – Ribera del Duero, Spain | 2014

Monteci Bardolino (Corvina, Rondinella) – Bardolino, Italy | 2018

Hazy View (Chenin Blanc) – Western Cape, South Africa | 2018

Monteci Roveiago (Corvina, Rondinella, Merlot) – Verona, Italy | 2017

Marqués de Nombrevilla (Viura) – Calatayud, Spain | 2018

Elias Mora Descarte (Tinta de Toro) – Toro, Spain | 2014

Bottega Vinai (Pinot Nero) – Trentino, Italy | 2016

Stuhlmuller (Chardonnay) – Alexander Valley, USA | 2016

Hazy View (Pinotage) – Western Cape, South Africa | 2016

We love sharing amazing wine with you, so stay up to date with what we feature by following us on social media or subscribe to WineCollective and become a member!

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Celebrating All Amazing Moms

Moms are really amazing people and come into our lives in different ways—whether as an aunt, family friend, in-law, neighbour, or co-worker, we all have outstanding moms around us. One of the great things about a holiday like Mother’s Day is that we can make it our own and celebrate moms matter who they are. And we think that’s pretty awesome!

Getting Mom the Perfect Gift

Here at WineCollective we believe one of the greatest things about wine is that it brings people together—much like Mother’s Day. It can be stressful trying to pick out the perfect gift for the Mom in your life and despite being (a little) bias, we think a WineCollective gift suits most any Mom. Every month a wine delivery arrives on their doorstep and will act as a reminder about how much you care. Wine is always great to have on-hand and our gift options allow for people to really explore and learn about new types of wine that they might otherwise not take a chance on.

Head to our Mother’s Day gifting page to learn more about our gift options and get that special Mom you care about something she will be truly excited to receive this Mother’s Day!

 

 

If you want to stay up to date with all the great events and specials we have coming up in the year to come, be sure to follow our socials! Instagram Facebook Twitter


Featured April Wine

Amazing wines hand-picked for our members

April might have some showers, but one thing it definitely has if you’re a WineCollective member is (as always) amazing wine. We like to share what bottles made it in to subscription packages so that you can see the great variety we offer each and every month. We are lucky to have awesome relationships with some of the best wineries in the world.

April also marks an exciting time for WineCollective. It’s officially the start of our 10 year anniversary! We are planning to celebrate all year long, so are very excited to have you along for the ride. We look forward to celebrating the next year with our subscribers and you, over many glasses of excellent wine. Cheers!

Our April Featured bottles:

River Retreat ShirazMurray Darling, Australia | 2016

River Retreat Pinot NoirMurray Darling, Australia | 2017

Donna Laura Ali (Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon) – Tuscany, Italy | 2017

Donna Laura Bramosia (Sangiovese, Merlot) – Tuscany, Italy | 2016

Adria Vini Barbera Da VinePiedmont, Italy | 2015

Poderi di Carlo Sauvignon (Sauvignon Blanc) – Friuli, Italy | 2017 **WC Exclusive**

Vallepicciola Pievasciata (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese) – Tuscany, Italy | 2015

Fournier La Chaudouillonne (Sauvignon Blanc) – Sancerre, France | 2016

Batasiolo (Gavi) – Piedmont, Italy | 2017

Maycas de Limarí Reserva Especial (Pinot Noir) – Limarí Valley, Chile | 2016

Maycas de Limarí Reserva Especial (Chardonnay) – Limarí Valley, Chile | 2016

 

We are so excited to share an exciting year of wine with you, so stay up to date with what we are featuring by following us on social media or subscribe to WineCollective and become a member!

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Earth Day & Recycling Your WineCollective Materials

April 22nd marks Earth Day and at WineCollective we take our impact on the world around us pretty seriously. In fact, it’s one of the reasons we chose to forgo traditional print tasting cards in favour of our digital tasting guides. Since our business relies heavily on shipping fragile product across a very large country, we have to ensure our shipments are protected to minimize breakage. We are always looking for innovative changes to wine shipping and try to source packaging that is sustainable and protective enough so that you always get unbroken bottles that are ready to drink.

The reality is, because of the fragility of wine bottles, we need something substantial to protect them. So we ship our wine in cardboard boxes with expanded polystyrene (EPS) #6 inserts – which is the most readily recyclable Styrofoam material. Luckily over the years it has become increasingly easier to recycle EPS, however we do acknowledge it is still not a perfect process.

Polystyrene (EPS/Styrofroam) Recycling in Canada

(Updated September 2019)

We wanted to take the time today to highlight the locations across Canada that allow for recycling of EPS:

BC

AB

  • Airdrie: Eastside Recycling Depot, 21 East Lake Hill
  • Cochrane: Eco Centre, 50 Griffin Industrial Point
  • Grand Prairie: Aquatera Eco Centre: 10431 – 96 Avenue

SK

  • Regina: Crown Shred & Recycling, 225 6th Avenue East

ON

  • Keswick: Georgina Transfer Station, 23068 Warden Ave
  • Niagara Region: acceptable to place in your Blue Box
  • Richmond Hill: Elgin Mills Community Environmental Centre, 1124 Elgin Mills Road East
  • Vaughn: McCleary Court Community Environmental Centre, 130 McCleary Court
  • Walkerton: The Walkerton Landfill, 320 Kincardine Hwy

NS

  • Pictou County: acceptable in Blue Bag
  • Colchester County: Packaging can be placed in your Containers Product Bag (bag #2) and left curb-side with your other recycling before 7am on pickup day

YK

  • Whitehorse:
    • Raven Recycling, 100 Galena Rd
    • Whitehorse Waste Management Facility, Mile 91972 (Mile 919.72) Alaska Highway

Wine: Reuse & Recycle

Did you know there are a number of ways to recycle wine products?

As everyone tries to work harder and make changes in their lives to reduce their plastic consumption, recycle more, and change old habits, WineCollective is right there with you. We are always striving to look for new ways we can have minimal negative environmental impact and hope that as time goes on, there will be further changes in the packaging industry to offer sustainable and protective shipping solutions.

Happy Earth Day and let’s celebrate our amazing home with some wine by candlelight!


Celebrating The Wonderful World of Malbec

It seems like every day is a new “national” day of celebration – whether it be for hot dogs, beans, or umbrellas, everything gets its own day of recognition. Celebrating is fun, so it’s not that we’re complaining. We bring up this phenomenon because today is Malbec World Day! The name may sound a little funny to English speakers, but the sentiment is all the same: let’s celebrate great Malbec.

Malbec World Day was started in an effort by the Argentine government to ramp up the purchasing of their Malbec and now Argentina produces over 85% of the world’s supply of Malbec. That is quite the market share. Even though the grape originated in France (where it is often known as ‘Côt’), Argentina was the first to really embrace the Malbec varietal. Wine Folly has a really great blog post comparing the two, if you would like to learn more. It is undeniable that the hard work put in by Argentina to expand Malbec as their main grape varietal has allowed the wine type to flourish. Though you can also find Malbec being made in the US, Chile, and Canada – Argentina and France still remain as the world Malbec powers.

Over the years we have had a number of amazing Malbecs cross our paths. Malbec is a great wine to pair with classic Argentine dishes and BBQ – but it also pairs well with Indian cuisine featuring cumin. It’s a great wine to keep on-hand as Malbec is a fantastic wine for sharing that is generally very palatable. We currently have three Malbecs from Argentina available to members:

  • La Chamiza Polo Amateur Malbec : The Amateur line from La Chamiza are intended to portray more youthful and energetic qualities, which is evident in their Malbec. This is a fruit-forward profile on the nose, but there is something extra with every swirl. When tasting, there is a distinct jammy quality in the mid-palate that gives this a bolder presence and fuller body while still remaining effortless with moderate acidity.
  • Sierra Los Andes Malbec : If you want a pure, quintessential example of a mid-priced Argentine Malbec, this is it. Grown from the pristine El Alto Vineyard located in Ugarteche, the 1050 meter altitude gives rise to a balance of fresh acidity, plump texture, and vibrant fruit flavours. This Malbec offers a plush, velvety mouthfeel and lightly chewy tannins. It is definitely dry, but balanced by the ‘sweet’ flavours of sun-kissed fruits, giving us a textbook Malbec.
  • Klassen Astrum Barrel-Fermented Malbec : This premium Malbec is a truly special experience to enjoy. Fermentation occurring directly in oak barrels imparts soft, silky tannins and better oak integration, making this Malbec very quaffable. Medium to full-bodied, good tannin structure and balanced acidity, try serving a glass with a charcuterie platter or lamb. We have a small, finite quantity of this vintage and are very excited to share it with those who choose to invest in such an exceptional Malbec.

No matter which Malbec region you choose to imbibe, we always recommend selecting a Malbec produced by a knowledgeable, reputable grower. Luckily there are many in the world who are sharing incredible wine that can be enjoyed any time of year. So raise your glasses and help us in celebrating Malbec World Day! ¡Salud!


Featured March Wine

Is that Spring, beckoning our call? It just might be! March is a finicky month – with strange weather and often no stat holiday. All the confusion of being between seasons and dealing with a time change, makes March the perfect time to embrace a chilled Pinot Gris or a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Curious about the selections WineCollective sent out to subscribers in March? Check out the list below!

 

 

  • 13th Street Winery – Gamay | Ontario, Canada
  • Cellers Sant Rafel Joana – Grenache/Merlot | Monstant, Catalonia, Spain
  • Fielding Red Conception – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah | Ontario, Canada
  • Racine – Picpoul de Pinet | Languedoc, France
  • Château Boutisse 1999 – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot | Bordeaux, France
  • Luigi Baudana Dragon – Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Nascetta | Langhe, Italy
  • Torrae del Sale – Sangiovese | Puglia, Italy
  • Crowded House – Sauvignon Blanc | Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Casa de la Ermita Crianza – Monastrell | Jumilla, Spain
  • Wally – Pinot Noir | Loire Valley, France
  • Cintila – Castelão | Península de Setúbal, Portugal
  • Ladybird Red Blend – Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot | Paso Robles, California **Exclusive!
  • Ladybird – Chardonnay | Central Coast, California **Exclusive!
  • Ladybird – Cabernet Sauvignon | Paso Robles, California **Exclusive!
  • Domaine of the Bees Grenaschista – Grenache | Côtes Catalanes, France **Exclusive!
  • Laughing Stock – Pinot Gris | British Columbia, Canada

It can be daunting to take on this many wines, but luckily we are professionals here at WineCollective. Throughout the year we are travelling the world – both in person and in our wine glasses at home, to make sure we are sending out the best wine on the planet.

Stay up to date with what we are featuring by following us on social media or subscribe to WineCollective and become a member!

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Why join a wine club?

We will admit that we are a bit biased in answering this question. Even so, we have a pretty good argument as to why you should look at joining a wine club (if you haven’t already).

There are quite a few different wine clubs on the market these days; however, that wasn’t the case when WineCollective started way back in ’09 (yes, we just aged ourselves). We’re very proud of our history and the almost 10 years that we have spent sharing thousands of bottles of wine with our members.

Regardless of which club you belong to, there are some common benefits you will enjoy:

  • Convenience. We are hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy the ease of having wine shipped directly to their door.
  • Curation. Let the club sift through the millions of bottles and bring you the best of the best.
  • Experience. Our members have described receiving their wines as being equal to having “Christmas every month.”
  • Education. Wine clubs take pride in sharing their wealth of knowledge with you in a digestible and shareable format.
  • Exposure. Try wines that you would have never picked for yourself, or that you would never have had access to otherwise.

We realize that the local liquor retailer might be just around the corner, and maybe you really enjoy shuffling through the aisles looking at the pretty labels. We think of the club as an opportunity to supplement your current wine habits, not entirely replace them.

Your time and hard-earned paycheque are important to us. We hope to reduce the possibility that your random grab at the chain retailer is a dud, and give you a selection of wines that are already pre-vetted to be of top quality and value. You can buy great wine without breaking the bank!

You deserve a gift – even if it’s from yourself. We like to think that wine clubs (and most subscription clubs) are a great way to reward yourself with something great! We want you to be excited when you see your mailman coming (we think that they appreciate us too!)

By taking this wine journey with us, we hope you pick up some tricks and tips along the way and become a more educated wine buyer. Arm yourself with the knowledge to pick that bottle from the shelf or wine list with confidence. You may find wines you appreciate, but don’t love, and others that become your new favourites. The club experience is a great way to find out what you really like in a wine.

WineCollective works hard to find unique and interesting wines for our members, and a large selection of our wines are exclusive to our club. By committing to the club and being part of the collective, you give us the power to search for wines that we think you will love, and that you definitely deserve.


Success for ARTS in September

Last month we were host to ARTS Senior Animal Rescue. Throughout the month, customers at Highfield could purchase bottles of wine with a portion of the proceeds going to the non-profit. We also collected donations from patrons throughout the month, and held a meet n’ greet with some of their ‘adoptables’. Can you think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon- sampling wine and petting furry friends?

We are happy to report that with your help, we raised $790 for ARTS, and one of lucky seniors found its forever home! Thanks again for all who joined us and donated!

Stay tuned for our upcoming monthly partnerships, like the donation drive for the Mustard Seed that is running until October 31st.