Wineries to collect donations for Barrel Full of Money

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More than 50 Walla Walla Valley wineries will take part in the Barrel Full of Money fundraiser that kicks off Thursday.

As previously reported, the third annual fundraiser launches at Olive Marketplace & Café on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.

However, donations will be accepted at tasting rooms all over the Valley through Dec. 16. Additionally, a silent auction and raffle will also serve to raise funds, organizers said in an announcement.

The fundraiser is coordinated through a partnership between wineries, businesses and nonprofit organizations on behalf of the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank, which stocks local food pantries for those in need.

Achieva Marketing, Alaska Airlines, Baker Boyer Bank, Columbia Rural Electric Association, the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation and its members, the Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center, Oak Tradition, Olive, MyColumbiaBasin.com, and the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and its members have partnered to raise money that will be used to purchase food.

“The Barrel Full of Money fundraiser is a great example of how this community pulls together to assist those in need,” said Duane Wollmuth, executive director of the wine alliance, in a prepared statement. “We just put out the call for assistance and everyone pitches in.”

After raising just over $2,000 the first year, and another $13,500 in 2012, this year’s goal has been set at about $20,000.

Apart from sponsorship cash contributions by the steering committee members, the campaign includes pledges of $5 for every wine barrel sold to Valley wineries by two large barrel manufacturers, Tonnellerie Radoux and Tonnellerie Millet. Those pledges alone are expected to raise more than $3,000, said Philipe Michel, owner of Oak Tradition, the local business that represents the cooperage firms.

Alaska Airlines is also donating two round-trip airline tickets to anywhere the airline flies. The tickets, valued at $2,500, will be given away as the grand prize in a raffle. The second prize will be a one-night stay at the Marcus Whitman with dinner for two at the Marc.

The raffle drawing will take place Dec. 19 at the end of the fundraiser. Raffle tickets are $10 and available for purchase at Olive or through the wine alliance.

The Barrel Full of Money fundraiser runs through Dec. 16. Donation canisters will be at locations throughout the valley, while barrels will be set up at Olive and another location. The final tally will be counted through Baker Boyer on Dec. 19.

BMAC Community Services Director Kathy Covey called the campaign “an ideal way for the community to help those less fortunate.”

The agency distributes an estimated 500,000 pounds of food to those in need throughout the county each year.

“As everyone knows, the cost of basic essentials, such as food, has risen significantly in recent years,” she said. “The cash donations will be used strictly for purchased bulk food items and perishables.”

Thursday's kickoff will include a ceremony at 6 p.m. Light appetizers and casual wine tasting will take place. A silent auction will also begin. Items include large format bottles of wine and a $500 gift certificate from ETS Laboratories for analytical and consultation services.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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