Event,News,Philanthropy Thru Wine,Wine,Wine Business,Wine tasting

The Rhone Rangers Have Undertaken a Noble Cause, all sparked by an Eric Asimov Question

The question?

“Is There Still Hope for Syrah?”

He went on in his story to further ask?

“THERE’S a joke going around West Coast wine circles: What’s the difference between a case of syrah and a case of pneumonia? You can get rid of the pneumonia. It would be funnier if it weren’t so sad…”

This past week, Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines joined the Petite Sirah advocacy group that I founded (with Lou Foppiano) and am still executive director of, called PS I Love You. (BTW – Dan Berger of Vintage Experiences came up with the name PS I Love You.)

After joining PSILY, Larry asked if I’d help him on this blog with an event that’s happening tomorrow, November 9th. “Sure,” I thought, “Why not?”

And when, as I read his E-Mail to me, I realized what an important event this is.

My hat’s off to the Rhone Rangers for having this one all come together.

Here’s Larry’s Email content, as he wrote it:


I wanted to reach out to you to let you know of an event that the Rhone Rangers, a national non-profit wine organization based in Northern California, is putting on next week. The event is entitled Pneumonia’s Last Syrah, and it stemmed from a blog post in the New York Times, followed by another one written by a immunization specialist for the Huffington Post.

The long and short of it is that the Rhone Rangers have partnered with the GAVI Alliance, a Swiss-based organization that provides vaccinations to children in developing nations around the world. GAVI is funded by Unicef, by the World Bank, and by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others; and, has already provided over 5-Million vaccinations against numerous childhood diseases worldwide.

They have noted November 12 as World Pneumonia Day to bring to the attention of the world that pneumonia is the leading killer of children worldwide. They therefore are pushing for a campaign to help vaccinate children.

We are cooperatively holding a wine tasting and awareness event on November 9th at the DogPatch Studios in SF, and hoped that you might find it interesting enough to cover.

How do wineries fit into this? Here is a link to the Rhone Rangers’ website spelling this out, but again, the long and short of it is that member wineries have committed to donating $10 per case of Syrah sold in November to the GAVI Alliance and their efforts. Why $10? That’s the cost of a vaccination against pneumonia.

Thanks in advance for considering this request and please let me know if you have any follow up questions or if I can assist in any way.


Larry Schaffer

Board of Directors, the Rhone Rangers

Some wine people are the finest on the planet.

Here’s to November 12 as World Pneumonia Day, and completely immunizing children against this child killing disease.

Check out the Rhone Rangers site for member wineries, many of whom are also members of PSILY, if you’d like to do your part.

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4 Responses to “The Rhone Rangers Have Undertaken a Noble Cause, all sparked by an Eric Asimov Question”

  1. Arthur says:

    This is a good cause.

    I am making a small batch of Syrah this year as a trial/learning wine.

    If I could find a way to give away some of it to encourage people to support this cause, I’d love to help out.

  2. Jo Diaz says:


    Makes me want to put on my thinking cap, too… Being done through Rhone Rangers… Maybe donating a case to their silent auction as a wine blogger wanting to help? But then, the money won’t go to this Non-profit.

    Looking at the date, it wouldn’t be ready for this year, but maybe next year, if they do it again, you could donate a case to their event – and preface it as being from the wine blogging community… so you’ll perhaps not have to be one of their members. I’d let you do it for PSILY, which is why I’m suggesting that you do it from that perspective.

  3. Jo,

    Thanks for posting this – very much appreciated! We are excited about our partnership with the GAVI Alliance and about helping to make a difference with the worldwide fight against pneumonia – and hopefully increasing exposure of syrah wines as well.

    There is no doubt that almost every ‘major’ reviewer agrees that domestic syrah wines offer consumers great QPRs at all levels – and this trend will not change in the near term. There is a passionate group of winemakers and wineries that will continue to produce syrahs from the diverse climates within CA, up and down the West Coast, and even on the East Coast that syrah is adaptable to. From warmer climate, fruit forward versions to cooler climate, pepper and non-fruit dominated ones, the variety truly offers something for everyone.

    I’m hopeful that consumers will help is in this partnership during the month of November – and watch for similar programs throughout 2011 as well.

    And I’m very much looking forward to being an active part of PS I LOVE YOU, and to pouring at the February event for the first time!!!!!


  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Can’t wait to have you, either, Larry. People like you, who get the power of collective and philanthropy, make the world go round. Power to the small business men and women!

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