Good Vines Wine

July 09 2013 - 9:00 AM

In the 21st century, shoppers have become more savvy and are more aware of what they buy – and who they support by buying – than ever before. We live in a world of free-range beef, cage-free eggs, non-GMO wheat, fair-trade chocolate, and community-supported agriculture. But this trend is not limited to food. Distilleries are making whisky from locally-sourced corn and breweries are gifting spent grain to farms to feed pigs.

And then there is socially-minded wine. One of Chicago’s newest products is Good Vines Wine, one such brand with three goals.

First is sustainability. The line of Italian varietals are produced on farmer co-op owned vineyards in the Veneto region of Italy. These estates are 70% powered by solar energy, an unusual — but positive — break from tradition that helps to minimize environmental impact.

Marzemino LabelNext is support for the arts. Bottles feature original art from local artists that plays to both the ethos of the brand and the style of the particular wine. The artists involved form a rotating slate that changes from year to year and from market to market, and the artists are promoted alongside the wine with joint bottle signing and wine tasting events.

Finally, Good Vines’ main mission is support for local charities. With each sale, 5% of the purchase price is given to local children-focused charities. In 2012, the brand partnered with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to support the pediatric program there and in 2013 is teaming up with Common Threads, Chicago Chef Art Smith’s non-profit focused on teaching children in underserved communities how to prepare wholesome and healthy meals. As the brand expands across the country, they hope to feature different local causes in each market.

Carlos and Sean - Good Vines Wine

Good Vines is the creation of Chicagoans Carlos Quimbo and Sean Thomas and represents a blend of their loves. Quimbo is a veteran of the financial business world, but was exposed to wine through his family’s business, a Philipino winery called Novellino. On trips through Italy with his father, Quimbo fell in love and decided he wanted to enter the beverage world himself. Thomas also is expanding on his family’s business. As the grandson of Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, Sean Thomas has been active in the company’s philanthropic endeavors – especially the Dave Thomas Adoption Foundation – since a young age and sees Good Vines as a way to continue this work through a project of his own.

OK. All this is well and fine, but when we drink wine, we want it to, you know, taste good. What are the chances this is both good for the world and just plain good?

Good Vines Wines - 3 VarietiesCurrently, Good Vines offers three wines. They have a classic cabernet sauvignon and a crisp white tai-pinot grigio blend, but the star of the portfolio is an unusual sparkling red marzemino. This frizante-style wine is uncommon here in America, but is a versatile medium dry with just enough bubbles to dance on the tongue. It works well as an aperitif before dinner, but also pairs smartly with a light main course or fruity dessert. It can even be used as a cocktail ingredient.

I’ve had a few sparkling reds before and Good Vines’ marzemino stands up quite well in comparison. And at only $11.99 retail, it’s an easy recommendation. Pick up a bottle to try something new. As the brand’s tagline says, “Do Good. Drink me.”

Good Vines Wines are available at a number of both retail and restaurant locations around Chicago. Try the marzemino by the glass at Bin 36 or 694 Wines and Spirits, or experience the sangria using Good Vines Wines at Las Palmas. A full (and expanding) list of locations can be found under the “Buy” section of the Good Vines website.

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