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Sales of new "Commuter Cuvee" wine will go toward bike safety

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 5th, 2009 at 11:46 am

A bottle of "Commuter Cuvee".
(Photo: Mike Quetel)

When you drink the newly released "Commuter Cuvee" pinot noir by Grochau Cellars, you'll not only raise your spirits, you'll raise money for bike safety.

The new wine is the work of Portland-based winemaker and bike lover John Grochau, with help from his distributor Casa Bruno.

BikePortland reader Mike Quetel came across the new wine last week. Quetel emailed us to say that he was "excited to see two of my favorite things, cycling and wine, intersect here in Portland." Quetel also added that the wine was "delicious and affordable". But that's not even the best part...

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According to Quetel, Grochau has decided to donate a portion of all Commuter Cuvee sales to the Brett Jarolimek Memorial Fund. We confirmed that information and are happy to report that Grochau and his distributor Casa Bruno will donate .40 cents of each bottle sold to the fund. The wine retails for $12-13 a bottle.

I gave Grochau a call today and found out he's a former bike messenger and racer. He messengered in 1988 and is also a former Bike Gallery employee. Grochau said he was moved to donate to Brett's fund because "I see some similarities between myself and Brett. I didn't know him personally but I met him a few times."

Grochau said that once all 900 cases of the wine are sold (likely by this spring), he will have given about $4,000 to the fund. He also said he's donated 10 cases for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance's upcoming Alice Awards Auction event.

To make this wine taste even better to bike lovers, Storyteller Wine Company (5511-B SW Hood Ave.) will match the Grochau donation at a kick-off and tasting party tomorrow night. The party is free and the Commuter Cuvee will be poured by Mr. Grochau himself.

-- Check StorytellerWines.com for more details on the kickoff party.

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Comments
  • Jessica Roberts February 5, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Is it just me, or is $0.40 per bottle a pretty small donation? Maybe it's just me - I don't mean to be ungrateful - but doesn't it seem like people purchasing this wine specifically because their purchase supports bicycling might reasonably assume that more of their purchase would go to a donation?

    Let me have it if I'm wrong, but it was my first impression.

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  • Franny February 5, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Jessica I think you missed the total donation estimated at $4000, and that will be matched by Storyteller Wine Co. at an event they are hosting. It's like the idea of Starbucks donating 5 or 10 cents from a cup o joe to RED, not much to think of for a single sale but it is the accumulative effect that provides the benefit.

    I think this is a very generous gesture by a local business person.

    happy wine tasting and cycling to all.

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  • bArbaroo February 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Hey, 40cents is a lot considering that he doesn't HAVE to give anything. I know John and believe this donation comes from his heart. He's a great guy and cares a great deal about people and cycling in Portland. John is working to start a business, has lots of expenses. My guess is that he'd give more if he could.

    I also see value in the wine raising awareness. It's another vehicle for getting the word out and I think that's worth something too.

    I'd like to thank John for dedicating the donation to the Brett Jarolimek Fund and for donating wine to Alice - can't wait to sip some at the event.

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  • James February 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    John is a wonderful, big-hearted guy, and he donates to many different causes. Not to mention the fact that he makes terrific wine! I was so excited to see this post.

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  • patrick February 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    perfect timing, I'm about to go on a wine shopping trip and will stock up. i like gc but can't afford the usual stuff...this is right up our alley. or our bike lane. whatever.

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  • bahueh February 5, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    nice. finally someone has come up with a feasible and real way to reliably raise funds for bike issues/awareness/safety...
    donations are too unreliable...
    DOT funds are too subject to gas price fluctuations...
    people will NEVER stop drinking wine...

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  • Jessica Roberts February 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    OK, I'm sorry I was a grinch. Forgive me.

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  • Zaphod February 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    This is really cool. And Jessica, I totally understand where you are coming from but 40c is actually a pretty solid amount. I've always wondered why companies donated 1% of profits, or 10% or some number that seemed kind of light... until I started a business myself. If my only goal was to raise money for a cause, the most logical numbers fall within this range. Profits are, for the most part, reinvested in the company to make it grow. It's better to get 1% - 10% of a big pie than 25% of a tiny unsustainable pie.

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  • Mike B. February 6, 2009 at 7:35 am

    I tried finding it last night at the Arbor Lodge New Seasons, no go. Maybe next time.

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  • Eric February 6, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I love this idea. A list of retailers who carry this wine would be extremely helpful.

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  • bikieboy February 6, 2009 at 9:53 am

    ...and beyond the generous donation $13 for a local pinot noir is a very nice price point.

    Thanks, John & Don!

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  • AJ February 6, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I was able to order a couple of bottles from Storyteller Wine Company and they can ship out of state which is good because I'm in DC.

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  • John Grochau February 6, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I will work on putting together a list of retailers. Here is what I know so far: Whole Foods, The Cellar Door, Oregon Wines on Broadway (in a couple of hours when I deliver there). I will talk to Casa Bruno to see where else it is stocked. I also want to stress how much Casa Bruno has made this possible and how they deserve as much or more credit than I do.

    Cheers

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  • John Grochau February 6, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Ok, update:

    New Seasons, all stores have it, not all of them have been able to get it on the floor yet.

    Garrison Fine Wines in SE Morrison and 14th ish

    Johns Market in Multnomah Village area

    Korkage in Hillsdale area

    Fred Meyer, Hollywood and Stadium for sure.

    If you go to any of these stores and you don't see it, ask the wine stuard and they will find it for you.

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  • Gretchen February 6, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Many thanks to both John and Casa Bruno for your generous support!

    A short-list of places to purchase the Commuter Cuvee include:

    New Seasons, all stores
    Pasta Works, NW and SE
    Storyteller Wine Company
    Oregon Wines on Broadway

    And check out my quick blog post for additional listings!

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  • John Grochau February 6, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I talked to my distributor and found out a few more locations wherer the wine is available:

    New Seasons, all stores have it, not all of them have been able to get it on the floor yet.

    Garrison Fine Wines in SE Morrison and 14th ish

    Johns Market in Multnomah Village area

    Korkage in Hillsdale area

    Fred Meyer, Hollywood and Stadium for sure.

    If you go to any of these stores and you don't see it, ask the wine stuard and they will find it for you.

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  • KORKAGE wine shop February 6, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Yes, I have the Commuter Cuvee in stock! I am located in Hillsdale or you can get a map on my website http://www.korkagewineshop.com.
    Cheers,
    Alissa

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  • lc February 8, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Nice. Is it vegan? If so I'll pick up a bottle next time.

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  • IanO February 10, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I picked up my bottle at the little grocery in the Reed College neighborhood, at the corner of 37th and Knapp. Good stuff!

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  • Spencer Boomhower February 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    There's a whole bunch in the steward's choice section at the Fred Meyer on Hawthorne and 39th. Gonna have it with dinner tonight!

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