Wineries help raise $300k for Scholarships, Education

The Houston CPA Society raised $300,000 in funds for accounting scholarships and CPAs Helping in Schools programs at their 2011 Scholarship Extravaganza held this year at the Junior League of Houston.

Co-chaired this year by Mark Lee and Susan Sample, Houston tax attorneys and friends of Another Wine Blog, this sellout event introduced over 400 attendees to wines from some of our favorite wineries. Ms. Sample, who serves on a number of philanthropic and civic Boards of Directors, recently announced her candidacy for West University City Council to be elected on May 14.

Roland Rodriguez and Linda Gonzalez served as Honorary Co-Chairs, and spent much of the day assembling the many items donated for the evening’s Silent Auction. Houston Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Jim “Mack” McIngvale served as Master of Ceremonies.

A highlight of the evening was the Wine Pull Event. Guests were invited to purchase a cork “pull” for $25. Each cork corresponded to one bottle of wine valued $25 or higher. The event, planned to last the entire evening, was so popular that all 104 of the “pulls” (and wines!) were awarded by 8:00 p.m. when dinner service began. Excited participants deemed the pull, the “Best Event Ever!” Remarkably, a bottle of 1970 Château Mouton Rothschild 1er Cru Classe (Pauillac), donated by Pamela Wright of Wright Pawn & Jewelry, managed to stay among the available wines until nearly the end of the event. (Click on the picture below, and the 2-bottle picture, above, for a closer look at some of the other wines donated!)

A number of other local accountants, distributors, and friends of the Houston CPA Society donated many of the wines. We would like to recognize the generosity of some of our favorite wineries, who answered our call to donate to the event!


What a small world! When Mark Lee mentioned that one of his high school friends owned a Napa winery, we had no idea it was already one of our favorites. Craig Camp had already agreed to donate 6 magnums of Cornerstone Cellars 2004 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley), when Mark contacted his friend and Craig’s partner Dr. Michael Dragutsky.

We like to call this one A Real Man’s Cabernet Sauvignon because it’s bold, powerful, and complex. Perfect for aging, the nose bursts with dark fruit, on the palate and exquisite balance of leather, chocolate and spice with structured tannins.

Pairing: Drink now, if you dare, and pair with a bone-in New York Strip served medium rare.


MARITA’S VINEYARD is a family-owned vineyard, located at the heart of Napa Valley, California. While Joe loves the big powerful Marita’s Vineyard Napa Valley Select Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, the SOMA Limited Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, also from Napa Valley, is my favorite.

We tasted their 2005 releases and wrote about them last December. The winery generously donated a bottle each of their 2006 release for the Wine Pull event.


One of our new favorite wineries, Red Car was the first to donate to the scholarship event. Guests had an opportunity to win a bottle of three fabulous 2007 Sonoma County Syrahs, including The Fight, Tomorrowland and Cuvee 22, as well as Box Car Pinot Noir and Box Car Chardonnay from 2009.

The 2007 Red Car Wine “Tomorrowland” Sonoma Coast Syrah is velvet rope burgundy in color with big jam and pepper spice. This is one of their “Trolley” wines, and they aren’t boasting when they say

Rich yet restrained notes of cured meat, dark chocolate, and underbrush coat the palate. Vibrant essences of violets, cooked herbs, Turkish tobacco, and espresso grounds stimulate the nose. Drinking it transports you to a distant dream.

Big fans of Syrah, we liked it so much that we purchased another couple bottles after tasting it. We’re planning a post on the winery itself, with reviews on several of other their wines, so stay tuned.


They weren’t *%#&@!-ing around! Jeff Stai really stepped up to the plate when we solicited donations, contributing two cases of Twisted Oak wines to our wine pull event. Frequently reviewed here at Another Wine Blog, we’ve tasted every wine Twisted Oak makes (while not necessarily every vintage — I mean, seriously, we’re not drunks!) and haven’t found a bad one in the bunch yet.

Twisted Oak wines filled up two rows of our wine pull, introducing the uninitiated to 2006 vintages of Calaveras County Murgatroyd (my personal kitchen-sink favorite), Tempranillo and Tanner Vineyard Syrah along with 2007 vintage Tanner Vineyard Petite Syrah, Parcel 17 and that sought after Rioja-style blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha, The Spaniard, a Double Gold winner at the most recent San Francisco International Wine Competition!

Thanks to everyone who donated and participated, to make this a truly successful event!


The WineWonkette

Posted in Pairings, Posts, Reviews

Amy Corron Power View posts by Amy Corron Power

A licensed attorney, Amy is a wine-lover, foodie, photographer, political junkie and award-winning author who writes about Wine, Food, Beer & Spirits. As Managing Editor & Tasting Director for Another Wine Blog, she travels all over the world's wine regions to share her experiences with her readers and legions of twitter, Instagram and Facebook friends and fans. Amy holds certifications through the International Sommelier Guild, and is also certified, with honors, as a California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). She is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and regularly attends Houston Sommelier Association events. Amy is also a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books, and was most recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Gratitude.
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