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For the holidays, buy a wine that gives back

When the tree gets hoisted in place dominating Rockefeller Plaza, you know it’s holiday time. What better way to celebrate than with wines that help others? These brands all have a charity component that makes it easy to do good while enjoying the season. 

2009 “The Feast” Red Blend, California $28 ($80 for holiday 3-pack with gift tags)
A combination of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this silky red (with a label design that symbolizes the spirit of the season) is perfect for imbibing with friends and family. It tops my list of favorite holiday gift ideas.

The give: Founded by Charles and Ali Banks, the Cultivate Wines portfolio was created to inspire connections, celebrate life and give back to those in need. Organizations can submit their story to CulvitateWines.com and fans vote on who receives the funds. In just a few years, Cultivate has distributed nearly $400,000 dollars to various charities by committing 10 percent of their revenue to the causes chosen.  

2011 Save Me San Francisco Wine Company “Calling All Angels” Chardonnay, California $15
A fruit-driven, easy-drinking Chardonnay that will please palates from those who like crisp whites to those who desire a kiss of oaky character.

The give: Started by the wine-loving members of the band Train, their Save Me San Francisco Wine Company produces wines named for the group’s songs. A portion of all proceeds go to Family House, which provides housing for families of seriously ill children. In just over a year, they have donated $50,000 to the organization. 

2010 Clos du Bois “Rouge” Red Blend, California $30 (for wine and cosmetics bag, wine alone $15)
Packed with dark berry fruit flavors, this succulent red is smooth enough for turkey-based holiday dinners but has enough power to play with roast beef, too. The matching cosmetics bag has wine-inspired blush, nail polish and lipstick.

The give: Clos du Bois is giving 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of the Clos du Bois Rouge Cosmétique by Pixi to Step Up Women’s Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women and girls to fulfill their potential through mentorship.

2012 O Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington $12
Washington state wines have a core of freshness that makes them pair beautifully with food, and this zesty white is no exception. Ripe fruit flavors are underscored with a pop of brightness.

The give: O Wines (the O stands for Opportunity) was established in 2006 to provide scholarship funds for underprivileged/at risk young girls. O Wines has funded more than 40 student scholarships by partnering with organizations like the College Success Foundation.  Many of the scholarship recipients were the first members of their families to attend college. A minimum of $50,000 will be donated to fund scholarships in 2013. 

Handcraft Pinot Noir, California $15
Made primarily from Pinot Noir then rounded out with a mélange of other red varieties such as Tempranillo, this is a supple sipper with a kick of spice. It’s a crowd-pleasing style that will work well at the turkey table.

The give: Winery owner Cheryl Indelicato has witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of breast cancer and has made a commitment to contribute with the Handcraft brand. In 2012, HandCraft is donating $100,000 in the fight against breast cancer.

Barefoot Brut Cuvee, California $11
A drier styled sparkler that captures the pure fun of drinking bubbly. At this price, you can keep a case on hand for holiday entertaining.

The give: The Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project is now in its sixth year and helps keep beaches, rivers and lakes across America “barefoot friendly.” Since its inauguration in 2007, Barefoot Wine, via the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project, has donated more than $750,000 to the Surfrider Foundation in support of its mission to improve coastal water quality, promote free and open beach access, preserve coastal ecosystems and protect public beaches around the world.

Leslie Sbrocco is the author of "The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide" and founder of ThirstyGirl.com. 

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