Wine Fellowship Group Tasting to Support UW Rotaract Project

–submitted by Ellie Schatz; photos by Martha Casey & Mike Wilson

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“Keep a Child Alive” is the mission of the Mashambanzou Care Trust, Zimbabwe, an international service project of the UW-Madison Rotaract. Fifteen of our club members and guests joined 2 Rotaract students and a representative of the project to enjoy an evening of fellowship while learning about and supporting the needs of “Orphans of Aids” in Africa. “A new day, a new dawn,” is the meaning of the word Mashambanzou and exactly what this project gives the children in an area with the 4th highest AIDS death rate in the world.

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Photos left to right: (Photo 1: From left: Rachelle Richardson (Purple Feet Wine Rep), Pauline Michalik & Weston Halter (Rotaract students); Photo 2:  Pauline and Weston talk about the Mashambanzou Project; Photo 3: From left: Rachelle Richardson, Pauline Michalik, Weston Halter & Mike Wilson–“Let the wine tasting begin!”

The enjoyment was spelled w-i-n-e, and there were 14 different sparkling wines, whites, and reds from respected vineyards in California, Australia and Italy for our group to taste, along with accompanying cheeses, crackers, breads and Patty Wilson’s ever-tasty chocolate-covered strawberries.

Mike and Patty Wilson hosted the event, with Mike helping tasters to appreciate not only the wines themselves, but also corked versus capped bottles and new versus old vines. All of us were familiar with blends, but I, for one, learned something new when presented with a “field blend,” meaning not that the grapes were mixed after picking, but that the vineyard features a blend of grapevines.

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Photos left to right: (Photo 1: Ginny & Ken Yuska; Photo 2:  Tim Muldowney & Jackie Hank; Photo 3: Paul & Ellie Schatz

UW Rotaract was presented with a gift of a soapstone statuette that represents “the oneness of us all” from the sisters who run the project in Zimbabwe. One and all of us seemed ready to step up to help the Orphans of Aids that the project feeds and supports with health care, residential care, psychosocial care and education. From the bustle in the kitchen with wine-order forms, I think our Rotaract friends and our evening’s hosts can rest assured a success in this, the wine fellowship’s annual fundraiser for Mashambanzou. “We are raising funds for education — the greatest future for our children” and “it takes only $5 to keep a child alive,” our Rotaract friends told us. We’d all showed we could drink to that and now we opened our checkbooks with hopes of sending many kids to school and easing their grief in 2014 while we continued to enjoy the fruits of this fellowship evening.

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