Small California Wineries Support Small Farmers Affected by Katrina

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Dover Canyon Winery in Paso Robles, California is one of five wineries in the U.S. to join the Slow Wine for Slow Foods movement sponsored by Slow Foods USA. Dover Canyon and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in Livermoore, California will donate a portion of their wine sales for the entire month of October. Dover Canyon was one of many Paso Robles wineries affected by an earthquake on December 23, 2003 that measured 6.5 on the Richter scale.

Dover Canyon Winery in Paso Robles, California is one of five wineries in the U.S. to join the Slow Wine for Slow Foods movement sponsored by Slow Foods USA. Dover Canyon and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in Livermoore, California will donate a portion of their wine sales for the entire month of October.

“I would really like to see more wineries supporting our small and artisanal food producers,” said Mary Baker, administrative partner of the Dover Canyon. “What is wine without food?”

Throughout the month of October, Slow-spirited restaurants, wineries and wine shops across the country will donate a portion of their wine sales to Slow Food USA. (For a complete list of participants, check the SlowFoodsUSA website at http://www.slowfoodusa.org/events/slow_wine_supporters.html.) The money will go toward ongoing Slow Food USA programs as well as to a special fund initiated for the small farmers, fishers and food producers affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Among the millions of people affected by Katrina are hundreds of small farmers, fishers and food producers. The struggle to stitch back together their businesses and their lives will take months, even years. Among the hardships the region now faces:

  • Damage to livestock and crops estimated at one billion dollars.
  • Loss of 70% of South Florida's avocado crop.
  • Almost total loss of pecan crops in Southwest Alabama.
  • Suspension of Louisiana shrimping and oyster harvesting.
  • Rise in costs of distribution and cultivation of produce.

Dover Canyon is a small, family-run winery producing less than 2500 cases a year. Although the winery also purchases fruit from nearby vineyards, the owners maintain a small, sustainably farmed vineyard and walnut orchard. The property is a certified wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.

“The original intent of Slow Wines for Slow Foods was to raise money for Slow Foods USA,” said Baker, “but when Slow Foods recognized the plight of food producers affected by Katrina, they revised their plans. I had already committed to donate, and I was pleased and proud when they phoned to inform me that they would be diverting funds to Katrina-affected producers as well.

Dover Canyon was one of many Paso Robles wineries affected by an earthquake on December 23, 2003 that measured 6.5 on the Richter scale.

“We can’t undo this loss,” said Baker, referring to Katrina. “This is about courage, and rebuilding, and loving what you do.”

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Mary Baker
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