Stars of Wine Industry Step Up for Ukraine Refugee Relief

From the Vinitaly international wine fair to a London-based wine NFT club to Ukraine-born Mila Kunis’ Washington state wine project, grape-fueled Ukraine aid is pouring in

Stars of Wine Industry Step Up for Ukraine Refugee Relief
From left: F1 racing star Lewis Hamilton, World Central Kitchen founder and chef José Andrés and activist-actress Mila Kunis (Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images; MEGA/GC Images)
Apr 8, 2022

Among the many important lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic has been that the wine and restaurant industries are both incredibly resilient and generous, and it’s been no surprise that chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen have been leading the way with their response to the refugee crisis created by Russia’s war on Ukraine. WCK has served more than 5 million meals to refugees as well as civilians and emergency responders in Ukraine. In March, Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winner City Winery held a benefit concert for Come Back Alive, a non-governmental organization supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And relief efforts continue from leaders in the food and drinks industry around the world.

Vinitaly’s Wines for Peace Auction Showcases Tuscan Gems

Italy’s Vinitaly international wine and spirits exhibition in Verona will include a charity auction next week benefiting Caritas Internationalis, which is providing humanitarian aid to refugees of the war in Ukraine. Tuscany’s three leading trade groups—Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico and Consorzio Vini DOC Bolgheri e DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia—are teaming to provide 30 lots of Italian wine treasures for the Vini per la Pace (Wines for Peace) charity auction, to be held Monday, April 11, in the Auditorium Verdi of the PalaExpo at Veronafiere.

The auction promises to offer a wide range of unique Tuscan bottles from rare vintages and in large formats. One such auction lot includes a half-case each of Il Paradiso di Manfredi Brunello di Montalcino 2015 and San Lorenzo Brunello di Montalcino 2017, a magnum each of Castello di Radda Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2011 and Biondi-Santi Tenuta Greppo Brunello di Montalcino 2015, and a jeroboam of Campo alle Comete Bolgheri Superiore 2015.

The auction is organized in collaboration with Sotheby’s Italia, and interested wine lovers not attending Vinitaly can bid online at ViniPerLaPace.BidInside.com.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ Outside Wine Adds to Couple’s $35 Million Raised for Ukraine

Actor-activist couple Ashton Kutcher and Ukraine-born Mila Kunis have raised more than $35 million for refugees of the war in Ukraine through their Stand with Ukraine GoFundMe page; the funds are being distributed to Flexport and AirBnB, earmarked for their respective Ukraine relief efforts (the former is a freight-forwarding company that is expediting relief supplies to refugee sites in Eastern Europe; AirBnB is providing free short-term housing to refugees fleeing Ukraine).

Joining their effort is Washington’s Nocking Point Wines, which has previously partnered with Kutcher and Kunis on two charity wines, their 2019 Quarantine Oregon Pinot Noir and 2019 Outside Washington Cabernet-Syrah blend. Now Nocking Point has released a special-edition Ukrainian flag label of the 2019 Outside red blend ($25), with proceeds going to the Stand with Ukraine GoFundMe campaign. More than $45,000 have been raised so far, putting Nocking Point’s $100,000 goal in sight.

“Ashton and Mila are Nocking Point Wines family, and we are proud, inspired and prepared to do all that we can to support the people of Ukraine,” said Nocking Point Wines co-founder Andrew Harding in a statement. “Not only have we created this exclusive label and committed to donating all of the profits from the wine sales, our team will be personally and significantly matching large portions of the funds raised, beginning with myself and Nocking Point Wines co-founder Stephen Amell.”

England’s Crurated Wine NFT Community Raises $134,000 for Ukraine Relief

London-based members-only wine community Crurated, which connects wine lovers with top producers and creates authenticity-verifying NFTs for each bottle sold, hosted an online charity wine auction of more than 250 bottles in March, raising $134,000 for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a UN agency dedicated to aiding and protecting refugees.

Among the All Heart auction’s highlights were trophy bottles from Champagne, Burgundy and Piedmont, including a six-vintage vertical of Robert Groffier Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses ($10,000); a six-vintage vertical of Champagne Pierre Péters L'Etonnant Monsieur Victor Edition ($9,330); a three-bottle 2014 horizontal of Domaine Méo-Camuzet Richebourg, Vosne-Romanée Au Cros Parantoux and Vosne-Romanée Aux Brulées ($6,775); a magnum of Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche 2009 ($3,185); and a half-case of Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Artist Label 2016 ($3,900).

Most of the auctioned wines were donated by the wineries, with the remainder donated by members of the Crurated community. “It has been amazing watching the world unite to help the people of Ukraine,” said Crurated founder Alfonso de Gaetano in a statement. “Our auction initiative represents how I feel about wine and its ability to offer such a generous gift to the world.”

“We have had a special link to Ukraine for more than 20 years, and have sponsored a charitable event to help young dancers and their families in Lviv. We’ve also raised funds for the Lviv pediatric hospital,” read a statement from Jean-Nicolas and Nathalie Méo of Burgundy’s Méo-Camuzet. “Some of the children we had at home for summer vacation are probably old enough to be fighting now, and we dread the thought of their involvement in this war. We hope that the very special wines we have donated for the auction will receive an appropriate welcome and help support the needs of the Ukrainian civilians.”

Formula 1 Partner Ferrari Trento Auctions Driver-Autographed Jeroboams for Ukraine Relief

Italy’s Ferrari Trento, one of the leading sparkling wine producers of Trentodoc and the official toast of Formula 1 auto racing, has kicked off the 2022 F1 Grand Prix season with a series of charity wine auctions benefiting the International Committee of the Red Cross and its work supplying humanitarian aid to refugees of the war in Ukraine.

The first such auction, all of which are being hosted on the F1 Authentics memorabilia site, featured three F1 podium 3-liter jeroboams of Ferrari Trento, each autographed by the winners of last year’s Portugal, Spain and Austria Grand Prix races; a second auction followed featuring the top performers from the 2021 Hungary, Belgium and Brazil Grand Prix. Each of those six large-format bottles was autographed by F1 superstars Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen (if not both).

Ferrari Trento has also donated more than $30,000 to organizations supporting refugees from the Ukraine conflict, including more than $10,000 each to Save the Children, UNHCR and Centro Astalli, an organization supporting refugees seeking asylum in Italy. Ferrari Trento communications director Camilla Lunelli is also hosting two refugees in her home.

Royal Wine Corp. Earmarks Vodka Sales for Ukraine Refugee Relief

Beginning in February, kosher wine specialist Royal Wine Corp. is donating 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of Royal’s two leading vodka brands—Ukraine’s Xdar and Poland’s Lvov, named for the Ukrainian city of Lviv. An initial donation of $30,000 has already been made to Vaad Hatzalah Rescue in Ukraine, which is assisting war refugees with humanitarian aid. Royal Wine Corp. CEO Mordy Herzog is estimating donations totaling more than $100,000, with forthcoming funds disbursed to charitable organizations based on need.

“It is important for Royal Wine to stand with the people of Ukraine and demonstrate our support for their independence,” said Herzog in a statement. “Civilians are putting their own lives on the line to protect democracy and national identity. As a flagship Jewish-American business, we are committed to their material and moral sustenance in their fight for freedom.”


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