Wine (Tasting Recap) Wednesday!

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I am so excited for this post! I had been planning my wine tasting fundraiser to support Team Challenge since mid-April, when I approached Brookline Liquor Mart with the general idea. Not only did the folks there generously offer to host for free, they seemed to get as excited about it as I was! They gave me ideas and recommended wines and were just so supportive and wonderful.

photo credit to Alica J on Yelp

In the subsequent months, I approached numerous and various businesses to see if they would be willing to donate wine, food, and raffle prizes to help make the event a success. I was overwhelmed with how generous some of these places were! First, my former employer Coughlin Betke LLP agreed to donate THE prize I knew I needed to drum up interest in my raffle – Red Sox tickets! My boss agreed IMMEDIATELY, which was such a great boost. The same thing happened when I approached Pure Barre Brookline for a prize. I barely got my pitch out before the instructor (Amy, who teaches a GREAT class) agreed, without hesitation, to offer a 5 class pack and pair of sticky socks. I think having those two donations fall into place so well gave me the confidence to approach other companies.

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The next huge coup was 90+ Cellars’ donation! I was ECSTATIC when they agreed to donate an entire CASE of wine, and not only because it would save costs and allow more proceeds to go straight to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. I was also excited because 90+ Cellars is such a great way to expose people to great wine they may have never tried (or even considered). For instance, after the event, I visited my parents on Father’s Day and my mom had purchased three bottles of 90+ Cellars (Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon) for the occasion!

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Some places did politely decline. I made a donation request to Flour Bakery for food or a prize, and JOANNE CHANG herself emailed me to express her regret, as Flour had already reached its donation quota. Joanne Chang! She once liked one of my instagram photos (mildly NSFW) and I freaked out a little. 🙂

I guess I didn’t necessarily need the support of a celebrity chef when some of my most amazing prizes came from friends!  Justin, co-founder of Social Boston Sports (the BEST Boston sports organization and the reason I know half of the people who attended the event!), agreed immediately to donate a free league registration! My friend Holly from Community Music School of Boston donated an entire SEMESTER of early childhood music lessons. Finally, two days before the event, my girl Shannon offered up another pair of her very own, PERSONAL Red Sox tickets!

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Walking around the neighborhood paid off, too. I approached both Whole Foods Brighton and The Fireplace in Brookline in person. Whole Foods agreed to donate DELICIOUS cheese (seriously, people raved) to pair with the wine, and The Fireplace offered up a very popular prize – admission for four to a Fireside Chat.

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The theme of the wine tasting? #DrinkTheRoute! We offered wines from Napa and Sonoma, where I’ll be running my half marathon! We also served Lagunitas beer because the brewery is in nearby Pentaluma, CA (and because Lagunitas beer is DELICIOUS). I’ll definitely be visiting Lagunitas again while we’re in California!

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I was so thrilled with how many people showed up (and right on time!). I have such amazing and supportive friends and family!

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Dan took the role of bartender/sommelier very seriously.

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Guests received a raffle ticket upon admission and had the opportunity to buy more. We offered 1 ticket for $5, 3 tickets for $10, and the length of an arm for $20. And yes, if someone requested that they use my giant friend Bryce’s arm instead of their own, I allowed it!

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We drew the raffle winners at the end of the night, when everyone was feeling buzzed great!

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If you are related to me or work with me, it was your lucky night! Not only did 2 of my 3 coworkers who attended win prizes, but my parents (my most generous donors) EACH won a prize. My dad won Red Sox tickets and is at the game with my Grampa as I write this!

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Photo from Dad’s Facebook wall!

And I would be remiss without mentioning the highlight of the entire night. Since BLM is dog-friendly (they even have treats at the door!), Kate and Amy brought their adorable and amazingly well-behaved puppy, Luna!

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Hosting an event that people enjoyed is success in and of itself. But thanks to EVERYONE (and less expenses), we raised a total of … DRUMROLL …

$932!

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to Brookline Liquor Mart, 90+ Cellars, Whole Foods Brighton, Pure Barre Brookline, Social Boston SportsThe Fireplace, Community Music Center of Boston, Coughlin Betke LLP, and of course the lovely Shannon and Holly for all of your amazing generosity in contributing to the wine tasting. I could not have pulled of such a successful event without it!

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And just like I posted on Facebook, I am so so SO beyond grateful to everyone who attended! Thank you Aunt Diane, Marty, Du, Mark, Bryce, Dan S., Jen, Keith, Dursin, Jarod, Amac, Laura, Lara, Natasha, Adam, Katie, Katelin, Shannon, Samantha, Rebecca, Sara, Chris, and the lovely girl whose name I didn’t get but came to support her friend with Crohn’s!

Thanks for helping me spreading the word, mom, Shannon, Heather and Danielle!

Thanks to Rachel for designing the awesome advertisement!

Thanks for taking pictures Heidi!

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Thanks to Kate and Amy for bringing the hit of the night, Luna the puppy!

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And of course thanks to Dan for being the star bartender and for all his help putting this together!

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I am so close to my goal now, I know I’m going to make it! And when I run my 13.1 miles in wine country, I’ll be thinking about all of this amazing support and I WILL NOT QUIT.

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