Unfiltered knows that Richard Gere, who owns the Bedford Post Inn in New York’s Hudson Valley, has more than a passing interest in good wine and food, so it was no surprise that the actor took an active role in the recent ARTWALK NY charity auction to benefit the Coalition for the Homeless. Along with co-chairs Alec Baldwin and Carey Lowell, Gere helped raise approximately $850,000 for the charity, in part by exhorting the likes of menswear designer John Varvatos and Gossip Girl actor Matthew Settle to bid on artworks by Andy Warhol, Nan Goldin, Jeff Koons, Jenny Holzer and honoree James Rosenquist. In between his charitable duties (perhaps on a scouting mission for his inn’s restaurant wine list?), Gere took the time to taste a Sacha Lichine Sauvignon Blanc and the Mas de la Source Réserve Rosé, provided by wine sponsor Sud de France, an umbrella group that represents all the wines of France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region.
• Not long ago, the New York Times cited a quip about the challenge of the current market for California Syrah. “There’s a joke going around West Coast wine circles: What’s the difference between a case of Syrah and a case of pneumonia? You can get rid of the pneumonia.” The Rhône Rangers, a group of American vintners that promotes Rhône varieties (including Syrah), proved they not only know how to take a joke, but that they could capitalize on it to attract some attention and support a good cause. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), an organization that helps immunize needy children around the world, has teamed up with dozens of Syrah producers to launch the Pneumonia’s Last Syrah campaign. During the month of November (Nov. 12 is World Pneumonia Day), participating wineries will donate $10 to GAVI for each case of Syrah they sell. Ten dollars happens to be the cost to produce and administer one dose of the pneumonia vaccine. Participating wineries can be found at www.rhonerangers.org. Do them and the needy children of the world a good deed this month: Sip, sip, Syrah!
• There are plenty of ways to recycle your popped wine corks—repurpose them into cork boards, flooring, high-end designer coffee tables, a tuxedo or just a brand new trivet for Mom—but we’re pretty impressed with the return on investment that comes with the newest option. Gallo Family Vineyards is now donating $5 to Meals on Wheels for every Gallo cork mailed in from now until the end of 2010. The Meals on Wheels Association of America provides meals to senior citizens and families in need. “We are thrilled Gallo Family Vineyards shares our mission of putting an end to senior hunger and has found a simple way for everyone to get involved," said Enid Borden, president of Meals On Wheels. The winery will donate as much as $25,000 by New Year’s. Mail your Gallo corks to: Corks to Fight Hunger Donation, P.O. Box 1154, Grand Rapids, MN 55745-1154. That’s 5,000 corks to go people; get poppin’.