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Charity Watch: Restaurant and Wine Industries Support Hurricane and Earthquake Victims

Time:2017-09-27 10:39wine - Red wine life health Click:

Wine Watch Industries Restaurant charity

It’s been a devastating month for some parts of the Americas. An unprecedented flurry of deadly hurricanes started at the end of August, when Hurricane Harvey hit southeast Texas, followed by sweeps in Florida and the Caribbean by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico. On Sept. 19, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake shook central Mexico; powerful aftershocks continue to threaten the region. The restaurant and wine industries have been quick to put all hands on deck to help. Here are some highlights from ongoing charitable efforts.

The owners of Commander's Palace in New Orleans are organizing One Night, One Meal, One Nation on Oct. 2 to support the Hurricanes Harvey & Irma Hospitality Employee Relief Fund, in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Louisiana Restaurant Association. The family knows all too well how devastating a hurricane can be, with one part of the family in Louisiana and one part in Houston.

"We New Orleanians will never forget the help we received from the whole nation, but particularly from Houston after Katrina," Commander’s Palace co-owner Ti Martin told Wine Spectator. Her brother Alex Brennan-Martin, who owns Brennan's of Houston, had set up a fund for New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit the area. "The restaurant community of our country rallied and we helped so many," said Brennan-Martin. "Unfortunately now the roles are reversed and we have many we need to help rebuild their lives."

They are still recruiting restaurants for the event. Participating Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners include Commander's Palace, the Tides in Vero Beach, Fla., and Dante and Lola in Cleveland. Restaurants can be as creative as they want with their Oct. 2 menus and, at their discretion, will donate a percentage of their proceeds to the Relief Fund, which will go toward individual grants for hospitality workers, as well as to Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, and local school partners in Texas and Florida. Martin hopes to raise $1 million.

Southern Smoke, an initiative by chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston, brings together famous chefs from the South for an evening of barbecue, wine and beer. The event typically benefits the Multiple Sclerosis Society, but this year Shepherd has partnered with Legacy Community Health to aid employees of the food and beverage industry who have been affected by Harvey.

Among the big names participating are Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, John Besh of his eponymous restaurant group, Ashley Christensen of AC Restaurants in North Carolina, and Justin Yu of the soon-to-open Theodore Rex in Houston. Krug, Failla, Iron Horse and Clos du Val are among the wine sponsors who will be pouring at Southern Smoke. The event will be held Oct. 22; general admission tickets are $200 and VIP tickets $350.

On Sunday, Sept. 24, Houston wine bar Camerata hosted the kick-off party for Wine Above Water, a month-long, wine-focused online auction that will contribute to the Southern Smoke effort. "This event is the perfect example of the collaborative, team-oriented spirit of the Houston beverage industry," said wine director and general manager Chris Poldoian. "We've really been humbled by the number of wineries and importers and suppliers that [donated] premium wine for the event."

Guests at the Sunday event bought $100 tickets and got to sample foods from local Houston restaurants and wines donated by local suppliers. Mayacamas, Hanzell, Cayuse, Domaine Huët, Clos Fourtet and Paolo Scavino were among the many wines on offer.

The party launched the Wine Above Water online auction, which continues until Southern Smoke on Oct. 22. The items on sale include rare and old bottles of wine, vineyard tours and tastings, and all-inclusive trips to wine regions. Some highlights include an 11-course tasting menu at SingleThread Farms for six people, with wine pairings including Dauvissat Chablis, Marc Morey Chassagne-Montrachet and Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Champagne ($14,000 estimated value). Colorado stalwarts Frasca Food & Wine and the Little Nell are offering a multicourse tasting menu for two, with customized wine pairings by Bobby Stuckey and Carlton McCoy, respectively (both $500 estimated value). Paul Hobbs, Chappellet, Williams Selyem and Matthiasson, among others, are contributing private tastings and tours of their wineries.

All of the proceeds from both the event at Camerata and the online auction will contribute toward Southern Smoke's fund-raiser.

Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group is having its own fund-raiser for victims of Hurricane Harvey, in partnership with Tito's Handmade Vodka (a company based in Texas). Every restaurant in the USHG portfolio is offering a Tito's Texas Relief cocktail; the restaurant group will contribute $5 per cocktail, with Tito's matching another $5, for a total of $10 per cocktail donated to the Houston Food Bank. The fund-raiser is running through the month of September, and beverage director John Ragan is expecting to raise upwards of $100,000 for the organization.

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