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Giving Tuesday 2020: Celebrating Brands With Heart This Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday 2020: Celebrating Brands With Heart This Giving Tuesday

As you enjoy the fantastic deals that are being offered on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, don’t forget to check out the brands with heart and those that are giving back. Shopping with these altruistic will help bring happiness to someone who needs it and can help benefit all of us as well. Whether they are donating to a worthy cause or helping to save our planet, for Giving Tuesday 2020, we are highlighting companies that are helping to make our world a better place.

Giving Tuesday 2020: Celebrating Brands With Heart This Giving Tuesday

From coffee that’s fighting injustice around the world, soaps that help those in need, eyewear and water bottles that help reduce the use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas, and a wine that supports Restaurant Workers as they remain out of work. It is our pleasure to celebrate these brands that are doing these wonderful things this Giving Tuesday 2020.

1. Generous Coffee Co.

Giving Tuesday 2020: Celebrating Brands With Heart This Giving Tuesday

Generous Coffee provides single-origin, traceable, craft-roasted coffee that exists to change lives in eight flavor offerings. Started by Former ABC Bachelor, Ben Higgins, and former President of Humanity and Hope United, Riley Fuller, Generous Coffee, which officially launched online in January of 2018, works closely with their roasting company to help farmers convert cocaine fields into coffee farms. This transition from coca to coffee creates a better life for the farmers and their families, who are then paid 80% more than the local price.

Generous Coffee believes if you’re going to buy coffee anyway, it might as well be quality, life-changing coffee. The for-profit biz sees themselves more as a FOR PURPOSE biz. They sell products, to make money so that they can turn right around and give that money straight back to nonprofits fighting injustice around the world. Today, Generous has two coffee shops, an apparel line, eight coffee selections, an online store, and an ambassador program of people fighting to end injustice together! What started out as a coffee company, has quickly become a community of people that have set out to change the world!

 2. Soapbox Soaps

Giving Tuesday 2020: Celebrating Brands With Heart This Giving Tuesday

We highlighted this wonderful brand in our Love Your Hair: Products to Maintain Healthy Hair at Home feature. Each purchase of their products donates a bar of soap to someone in need and also funds hygiene education taught by the people in the communities we serve. Soapbox’s mission is to empower people to change the world through everyday, quality purchases. This year, Soapbox joins the Giving Tuesday movement by doubling its donations of soap that will reach vulnerable communities in the US and around the world. The company is also offering 15% off all items purchased through its website with the code GIVE2020.

3. HydraPak RECON

Giving Tuesday 2020: Celebrating Brands With Heart This Giving Tuesday

Hydrapak, makers of innovative hydration solutions has launched its RECON Series of outdoor bottles. These outdoor water bottles are made from  50% certified recycled content in both the cap and bottle. Vividly clear, and virtually indestructible, the RECON bottle is topped with a new patented twist cap that provides the perfect flow rate for a glasslike drinking experience. It was born out of the belief that outdoor gear can, and should, have a lower impact on the environment. RECON uses Tritan Renew technology, which uses recycled plastic as a raw material while reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas footprints. They use a variety of sources with the primary source being PET (polyethylene terephthalate) single-use bottles. To be exact, it takes x9 single-use bottles to upcycle into outdoor water bottles.

The new HydraPak RECON Series outdoor bottles are available in two convenient sizes, 750ml ($15.00) and 1L ($16.00), and are available exclusively through HydraPak’s specialty retail partners and online at www.hydrapak.com.

4. Smith CORE Sunglasses

Smith Eastbank CORE sunglass

The Smith CORE sunglasses, $129.00, boast frames made from 5 recycled post-consumer water bottles. They are available in three styles: Eastbank CORE, Shoutout CORE, and Lowdown 2 CORE. Each CORE frame is made with Evolve bio-based polarized lenses and uses an embossed logo to avoid the use of adhesives. The eyewear comes in a microfiber bag made from recycled PET water bottles and is shipped in 100% recycled packaging.

The gray lens tint provides true color perception for exact color definition. This lens creates a soothing effect on the eyes in bright and sunny conditions. They also include polarization to cuts glare, and they provide 100% protection from harmful UVA/B/C rays.

5. Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay 2018

Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay 2018

Russian River Ranches Chardonnay is beautifully focused on the palate; it boasts flavors of crisp, zesty lemon, green apple, lime, and barrel spice. The wine rounds out with their signature citrus acidity and a nicely balanced long, flavorful finish. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian River Ranches Chardonnay sales will directly support Sonoma-Cutrer’s $100,000 donation to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (RWCF). This advocacy and action nonprofit was created by and for restaurant workers. Also, in the spirit of Friendsgiving, they announced a joint $50,000 donation to No Kid Hungry with Woodford Reserve. The 13.8% ABV white wine is available DTC via the winery website and retailers nationwide.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this list of companies with heart. Will they be a part of your Giving Tuesday 2020 shopping list?

Cheers to South African Wines: Graham Beck Cap Classique Wines

Cheers to South African Wines: Graham Beck Cap Classique Wines

The pandemic has affected so many industries. While some American states allowed many spirit retailers and bars to remain open to sell alcohol, not every country was allowed to do so. We highlighted this in our “How Can South Africa’s Wine Industry Recover from COVID-19?” article. One of the South African winemakers who was affected by this lockdown was Graham Beck and their delicious Cap Classique Wines. We got to know more about their wines through a tasting and conversation with Graham Beck Cellarmaster, Pieter Ferreira, and Winemaker, Pierre de Klerk. The alcohol ban has since been lifted and everyone can continue to celebrate what matters with these delicious MCC (Méthode Cap Classique) sparkling wines.

Cheers to South African Wines: Graham Beck Cap Classique Wines

The Graham Beck Cap Classique portfolio comprises of three sparkling wine tiers – the Non-Vintage (NV) Collection (Brut NV, Bliss Demi-Sec NV, and Brut Rosé NV); the Vintage Collection (Blanc de Blancs, Brut Zero, and Brut Rosé); and The Prestige Collection (Cuvée Clive).

Cheers to South African Wines: Graham Beck Cap Classique Wines

During our tasting we had the pleasure of enjoying the Vintage Collection pictured directly above; these are the wines we’ll be highlighting today.

Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs

Cheers to South African Wines: Graham Beck Cap Classique Wines

Say hello to South Africa’s most awarded sparkling wine. The Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine is a 100% Chardonnay varietal. Its grapes are hand-selected from the limestone-rich vineyards on Graham Beck’s Robertson estate using the highest quality juice for fermentation. Boasting a bright lime green color, this well-rounded and creamy sparkling wine features rich aromas of fresh lime and ripe apricot; It features an exciting fine mousse with an explosion of tangerines on the palate; and a great brioche and yeast complexity that broaden the palate, leading to a long and elegant finish.

Graham Beck Brut Zero

Cheers to South African Wines: Graham Beck Cap Classique Wines

Why zero? This ultra-dry, crisp, and refreshing sparkling wine was created without the use of additional sugar in the dosage; the liqueur which is added just after removing the sediment from sparkling wines. With only 1.46 grams per liter of sugar, it is great for health-conscious wine lovers looking to reduce their sugar intake. This 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay blend boasts a low pH and high natural acidity. Its golden peach hue promises a vibrant bouquet of cherries, blueberries, almonds, and earthy spice. It features a delicate yet complex palate abound with red berry, yellow stone fruit, and hints of brioche. One sip rewards you with great balance and a long and slightly salty finish.

Graham Beck Brut Rosé

Cheers to South African Wines: Graham Beck Cap Classique Wines

Last, but by no means least, the delicate and delightfully demure Brut Rosé.  A unique first for South Africa, this complex Pinot Noir Rosé is the result of whole bunches of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay jointly pressed as a blend. This gives this bubbly its beautiful salmon pink hue. The 92% Pinot Noir lends a berry-laden ripeness and subtle spiciness, while the 8% Chardonnay contributes its creamy complexity. Its mouthfeel leaves an explosion of raspberry fruit and slight honeysuckle flavors on the palate, with a persistent yet delicate mousse.

We promise you’ll bid farewell to all other sparklings after one sip of these Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wines. Aside from being absolutely delicious, the award-winning range of Graham Beck wines is characterized by unmistakable sophistication, elegance, quality, and consistency. For more information and availability in the US, visit www.grahambeckusa.com.

Zero Sugar, 100% Delicious: PURE Winery Low-Calorie Wine Cocktails

Zero Sugar, 100% Delicious: PURE Winery Low-Calorie Wines

To say it has been a stressful time is an understatement. We’ve had so much to deal with; so much so that Wine Shops were deemed essential. And truth be told, it has been a necessity. It’s gotten to the point where you need to reach for a glass of wine to escape the mental trauma that is 2020. The problem is, drinking lots of wine has begun to take its toll. Together with all the food we’ve been constantly eating, our sugar intake is double what it used to be. Thankfully, PURE Winery has come to the rescue with the launch of their new PURE Winery zero-carb, zero-sugar wine varietals. Which leaves us with one thing left to ask, ‘Won’t you join us in some zero sugar QuarantWine?”

Zero Sugar, 100% Delicious: PURE Winery Low-Calorie Wines

Blending unique and traditional techniques in their wine fermentation process, we’re able to convert all-natural sugars into alcohol. Using blends of only the finest grapes — Pinot Noir, Pinot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Barbera, and Merlot — their wines are crafted by seasoned winemakers in one of Italy’s most respected wine regions. From red and white to sparkling white and sparkling rosé, they have a zero sugar wine variety to match every occasion. This occasion just so happens to all for wine cocktails. We’re sharing some low-calorie cocktail recipes, featuring three out of the four available varietals: PURE White Wine, PURE Red Wine, and PURE Sparkling White. Let’s get to know these guilt-free wines:

Zero Sugar, 100% Delicious: PURE Winery Low-Calorie Wine Cocktails

Sparkling Rosé:

Light pink in color with orange highlights, this sparkling rosé presents fragrant aromas of citrus, young red fruits, and red flowers. It is full-bodied, smooth, and velvety, with a fine effervescence and pleasantly sharp finish. This is a rosé that will take your palate seamless into the coolness of the fall season. The grapes in this varietal include Pinot, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. Our cocktail recommendation? Pour and enjoy it.

Sparkling White:

Clear in color with golden reflections, this sparkling white wine also features a fine effervescence and pleasantly sharp finish. It boasts a vibrant floral and fruity aroma with a fresh scent, complimented by a velvety and full-bodied taste. Grapes in this varietal include Chardonnay and Pinot. The I Feel Good cocktail recipe below gives a new twist on the traditional mimosa.

I Feel Good

Zero Sugar, 100% Delicious: PURE Winery Low-Calorie Wines
5 grams Yerba Mate infused in 50 ml Vodka
Macerate for 1-hour minimum and then strain well and mix.
100 ml Orange juice
Top with PURE Sparkling White
In a shaker or jar with ice, shake and serve in a glass. Garnish with an Orange peel

White Wine:

Balance is the name of this mellow white. Clear in color with golden reflections, this white blend offers light, floral and fruity notes. While it is full-bodied and fresh, it is well-balanced and boasts a nice acidity on the palate with a velvety finish. Grapes in this varietal include Chardonnay and Sauvignon. You can’t go wrong with a refreshing drink, so we know you’ll love the Green & Fresh cocktail. For those who want a bit of a kick, the Wise Hope cocktail has what you’re looking for. Enjoy them below:

Green & Fresh

Green & Fresh Low Calorie Cocktail

50ml PURE White Wine
50 ml Coconut Water
7 – 9 Big green grapes
Put in a shaker or jar with ice, shake and serve in a glass.

Wise Hope (Sabia Esperanza)

Zero Sugar, 100% Delicious: PURE Winery Low-Calorie Wines

50 ml Tequila white
1 Lemon Juice
30 ml PURE WHITE WINE
30 ml Capresse Cordial*
In a shaker or jar with ice, shake and serve in a glass.

*Capresse Cordial
200 ml Herbal Gin (BETTER OPTION) or Vodka
100 ml Honey diluted in water 1:2
Skins of 10 lemons.
5 – 10 Basil leaves
Oregano to taste.
Macerate the above ingredients for 24 hours. Strain with a superbag or coffee filter and ready to use. Garnish with a Basil leaf

Red Wine:

Red wine fans will love this blend for the use of Barbera grapes. Ruby red in color with hints of violet, this blend is a dry, smooth, and drinkable red. It is sharp but balanced and features an aroma that offers fresh and fruity notes of cherries and red fruits. The Barbera and Merlot grapes come together for a soft finish. Merlot-infused coffee beans exist and Barbera is perfect with anything earthy, and the below Stay ay Home cocktail celebrates those flavors.

Stay at Home (Stay in Home)

Zero Sugar, 100% Delicious: PURE Winery Low-Calorie Wines

50 ml PURE Red Wine
30 ml London Dry Gin
6 Strawberries
5 coffee beans
In a cocktail shaker or jar with ice, shake and serve in a glass. Garnish with Strawberries.

The PURE Winery, based in Italy was founded with the vision to create a new category of zero-sugar and zero carb wine to meet the needs of today’s wellness-conscious consumer. PURE is passionate about empowering wine-lovers with a solution to the common dilemma between pleasure and guilt. The wines are crafted by seasoned winemakers in one of Italy’s most respected wine regions. Each PURE Winery bottle is available for $15.00 – $20.00 at Total Wine & More stores and other select retailers in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Bread & Butter Wines Brunch

Brunch with Bread & Butter Wines and Chef Ashton Keefe

Growing up, there’s nothing we enjoyed more than watching with than our mom creating delicious treats in our kitchen. It was with total adulation that we watched her every move and of course the gift of participating was priceless. We watched our mom make the best cakes, bread, drinks, and much more; as you can imagine, this fueled our love of creating. This is why when we were invited to brunch with Bread & Butter Wines and Chef Ashton Keefe to bake bread, we were ecstatic.

Bread & Butter Wines Brunch Bread & Butter Wines Brunch

Although we were a little late, we jumped right into the breadmaking process with the approachable wines. The classic California wine company boasts easy-drinking wines with rich and lush fruit flavors. The entire breadmaking process brought back memories of helping our mom and how much fun we had creating delicious dishes in the kitchen.

Bread making Dough Rising

While we were waiting for our dough to rise and our delicious brunch by Chef Ashton Keefe, we learned quite a bit about Bread & Butter Wines. Throughout the day’s event, we enjoyed three of their varietals, Bread & Butter Chardonnay California, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir California, and their Rosé. The wines were wonderfully paired with the courses of our brunch.

Bread & Butter Rosé wine

Pre-brunch, and again with our starters, we started with the Bread & Butter Wines Rosé. This delightful rosé features generous aromas of fresh strawberry, green melon with hints of hibiscus and rose petal. Its rich texture is complemented with balanced acidity leading to a refreshing and supple finish. The event started with “welcome toasts” consisting of eggs and prosciutto toast and mushroom and ricotta toast. Our brunch featured Gem Lettuce Salad with Bread & Butter Cabernet Sauvignon dressing; Harvest Panzanella with heirloom tomatoes, plums, fig, burrata and toasted bread; Vegetable Tart with eggplant, peas, parsley & eggs; Quiche with roasted zucchini and goat cheese with squash blossoms.

Bread & Butter Wine

The Chardonnay (shown above) opens with rich notes of vanilla bean and almond husk, reminiscent of a decadent crème brûlée. The creamy notes are balanced by a soft minerality and a hint of tropical fruit.  Those creamy notes continue to your palate where they are joined with bright acidity and well-integrated oak that leads into a long, creamy finish.

Bread & Butter Wines Brunch Bread & Butter Wines Brunch

The Cabernet Sauvignon expresses captivating aromas of mocha, ripe berries, violets, and blackcurrant with intertwining layers of subtle black pepper, toasted oak, and rich vanilla. This beautifully crafted Cabernet Sauvignon enters the palate with layers of ripe blackberry and chocolate-covered cherries. The round mouthfeel is accented by soft tannins and a little spice that weaves into a smooth, lingering finish.

Red Wine

The above Pinot Noir boasts juicy red fruit. Think cherries and raspberries with a touch of cassis. It features delicate hints of cedar and bay leaf to balance the sweetness of the fruit; this creates an enduring bouquet.  That luscious fruit bouquet continues onto the palate, where it’s joined by soft flavors of oak and savory notes. The rich mouthfeel is complemented by a long and beautifully smooth finish.

Bread & Butter Wines Brunch

For dessert, we had a Boozy Bread Pudding with Bread & Butter Chardonnay and berries. We love the idea of adding the heavy berry and subtle spice of the Cabernet as a component of this delicious dessert. As you can imagine, we were quite full after that hearty brunch and was excited to take our dough, along with a bottle of Bread & Butter Wines, home to bake in own ovens. Let’s just say, once we did, our fresh bread did not last very long.

Have you tried one or more of the Bread & Butter Wines? What are your thoughts on these easy-drinking California wines?

Wine it Up for Less: Five Summer Wines (Mostly) Under $15.00

Summer is the season of wines, but let’s face it, the continuous and multiple purchases of summer wines can become expensive, especially if you want a good wine. Or does it? We’re here to tell you it doesn’t! Today we share five amazingly delicious, and inexpensive perfect-for-summer wines that you can enjoy without destroying your budget. From white to red, and sparkling, these five summer wines retail for under $15.00…….mostly.

Bollicini Cuvée and Rosé Sparkling Wines ($12.00/4-pack) – We’ve enjoyed our share of wine in a can but these single serve cans of Bollicini Italian sparkling wines are not just light, crisp and refreshing, they are absolutely delicious! Add in the fact that they are packaged in convenient and attractive mini cans (how adorable are these pink and blue cans), and you’re sure to wow at any party. Straws are optional!

Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire ($15.00) – We all know summer is the season for Rosé wines and who doesn’t enjoy a glass of pink bubbles? Especially when it’s from a winery who has over 150 years of winemaking heritage and tradition. This creamy and well-balanced wine has notes of red fruit which pairs well with fish, white meat or dessert.

Schloss Johannisberg Gelblack ($30.00) – Produced by the architect and first 100% Riesling estate in the world, this off-dry wine has notes of white flowers, lemon peels, and pears. It’s a perfect accompaniment to salads and roasted chicken.

Capezzana Barco Reale ($15.00) – The bright red fruit flavors of this Sangiovese dominant blend, is sure to please the crowd. The lush, velvety texture and dark berry fruit flavors lend to the wines versatility and pairs well with an array of dishes including pasta, red and white meat entrees.

Pertinace Barbera d’Alba ($15.00) – This red is ideal for your next BBQ as it pairs well with a variety of grilled meats. The blackberry and black cherry fruit flavors lead to a long, lingering finish.

Could these delicious five summer sippers help you beat the heat, please your palate, and keep your wallet happy? Absolutely! Trust us when we say you’ll enjoy every last sip of these summer wines.