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Why I Made It
It’s hard to believe that my charity wine One Wine One World only began as an idea during the summer of 2010 during a lunch in Ensenada, Mexico, and, it is now in a bottle, and people are drinking it all over the world. The wine was even served in early September 2010 to Pope Benedict XVI and a group of Bishops during a lunch in Birmingham, England. It was the Pontiff’s first trip to the United Kingdom in 30 years. The Pope again drank the wine in Arezzo, a small Tuscan town near Florence, Italy in spring of 2012.
The proceeds go to charity. Most goes to a London-based interfaith charity, The Maimonides Foundation, whose mission is to promote understanding among Jews, Christians and Muslims. It is the brainchild of my friend David Khalili, the well-known UK property developer, philanthropist, and art collector. I make no money out of the project.
It all began in a small local restaurant near the harbor of Ensenada where I was having lunch with my friends: film director, writer and producer James Orr (he is now a partner in JamesSuckling.com) and Mexican vintner Humberto Falcon. Orr, Falcon, and I were talking about making wine – since we have been making a barrel of our own for the last couple of years in Valle de Guadalupe about 30 minutes east of the city – and how wine could be more than wine. It could be a statement of life. It could embody hopes and dreams.
Something came into my head during lunch. “What if we made a wine from Mexico and the United States as a statement of what the two countries had in common instead of what was different?” I said.
“That would be really cool,” said Orr.
We talked for a while about the whole concept and whether it would actually work. We were worried that the wine may not be good quality. In fact, it had already been done. My friend winemaker Hugo D’Acosta of Ensenada makes a Mexican and Californian blend called Contrast. It’s very good quality red.
“Forget it man,” I said. “Let’s make a wine for the world. Let’s call it One Wine One World.” May be we had drunk too much? May be we were just dreamers?
But we believed in the idea, and I found out the same day that D’Acosta had just shipped by container ship some wine in bulk from his estate in the South of France, and he had some California wine from Wente in stainless steel vats in his cellar. I called some small wine producers in the Valle to ask if they would sell me some wine as well. They all said that they would help. It seemed that it was our destiny to try to blend a global wine.
It was still just a dream when I flew back to Europe a few days later. I landed in London to see my children, and I happened to go for a coffee with Khalili in his office in Mayfair. We were having our usual philosophical conversations about life, love and religion, when for some reason I began to speak about my idea about One Wine One World. And I asked Khalili his advice about finding a charity, or charities, and he just looked at me with a big smile. He asked me to link One Wine One World to his charity, The Maimonides Foundation. I agreed.
Khalili said that his foundation was actively involved in bringing Jews, Christians and Muslims closer together through communication. He said that it was all about promoting the idea of love and respect for all peoples of the world regardless of their religion or lifestyle. Moreover, he was helping organize Pope Benedict XVI visit to the United Kingdom and that he wanted the wine to be served to the pope at a special dinner. I knew I had to make One Wine One World.
Not only was the wine for a good cause, I also wanted to find out if a wine could transcend borders and terroirs and still be a good and interesting bottle. I wanted to understand in the end if the virtues of good quality wines have more in common than not. It was very much like Khalili’s ideas about men and women. We all have so much more in common as human beings than not, regardless of our faith or our ways of life.
It was a whirlwind story afterwards of joy, trails and tribulations with many trips to Mexico to blend, to bottle and to ship the wine in time for the Pope’s visit. We ended up labeling most of the wine for the Papal lunch in a friend’s kitchen in London!
The red is a blend of mostly Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I also made a white in Italy. It’s a mix of Pinot Grigio, Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and a little Furmint and Chevalier. The white is from Italy, Slovenia and Hungary. The wines are sold primarily in the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, and Mexico. About 550 cases of the red was made and 250 cases of the white.
I am not sure that I will make more One Wine One World, but I would like to thank everyone involved for his and her friendship and help with the wine. It was done with love and aspiration. I hope it illustrates how wine is more than a beverage. Wine is something that brings all of us closer together and enhances our lifes. It reminds us that we all have so much to share. I believe that the fact that the wines for One Wine One World came from different places yet blended so easily together and taste so delicious in harmony illustrates this.
Where To Get It
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