Local winery makes commitment to charities

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courtesy The Telegraph Feast

February 9, 2011

LaBelle Winery in Amherst donated the equivalent of 10 percent of its sales to a number of charitable organizations and causes across the state in 2010.

“We have a responsibility to give back to our community, especially because we are so blessed in both our business and personal lives,” said Amy LaBelle, winemaker and co-owner of LaBelle Winery.

Her husband and co-owner, Cesar Arboleda added, “We want to support the community around us, just as they have supported our growing business.”

LaBelle Winery participated in 12 charity tastings that supported many causes, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the New Hampshire Lakes Association, the Newport Opera House, Child and Family Services and the Manchester Chorale Society. The winery also donated wine and tastings for numerous nonprofit auctions and dinners.

Not only did the winery participate in charity tastings, it also hosted the first wine tasting for pulmonary fibrosis in September. More than 50 attendees were able to sample LaBelle wines while bidding on silent auction items. The event raised $3,000 for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, and the winery’s partnership with the organization will continue to help raise funds and awareness for the cause.

Introduced in September, LaBelle’s Virginia Mae Sweet Blueberry wine also will contribute to the winery’s charitable efforts. In memory of the wine’s namesake, winemaker Amy LaBelle’s aunt, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to help fund Lou Gehrig’s disease research.

A unique program to the winery is a request for donations at its monthly open house and wine tasting events. The winery asks that guests bring donations for a different local charity selected each month.

This tradition has continued since 2008, and in the 2010 season more than six truckloads of food, clothing and toys were collected. Charities partnered with this season included the Milford SHARE program and the Support Center at Burch House.