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Wonderful Wines, Great Food, Good Company — All for Charity In Westport

The Westport Sunrise Rotary’s 27th Annual Wine Tasting raises money to benefit a number of local charities.
The Westport Sunrise Rotary’s 27th Annual Wine Tasting raises money to benefit a number of local charities. Photo Credit: Roy Fuchs

WESTPORT, Conn. — Surrounded by 100 fine wines, good food and mood setting music, many of the 400 guests gathered at The Inn at Longshore last Friday enjoyed a great evening with friends, dotted by an occasional sampling of wine.

A smaller number took the opportunity to taste wines recommended specifically for them by Cory D’Addario, the wine maven of Liquor Locker of Westport.

The setting was Westport Sunrise Rotary’s 27th Annual Wine Tasting, this one the Holiday Gala.

The setting was beautiful. The Inn was attractively decorated for the season. Event manager Christine Hussey and OnTheMarc Caterer presented a large selection of hors d’oeuvres, crudités, a selection of cheese and crackers — and even a couple of mac and cheese stations.

But the stars of the evening were the wines — all curated by D’Addario, the event’s hostess for the last few years. She chose the wines and worked with her distributors to assure that novice and expert alike come away learning about what they tasted, even helping them find something new for their cellar or table.

The selections were all artisanals, from well-known — and not-so-well-known — regions. Most were from family-owned vineyards and wineries, wines that are sustainable, organic and biodynamic, and fair trade. Even a few whose growers have replaced machinery with goats to control the weeds and fertilize the corps.

For those who came to visit with friends and enjoy what may have been as much a randomly chosen wine as one the taster had in mind to try, the evening became a success once they found a friend or four they hadn’t seen in a while.

Meanwhile, D’Addario knows her regulars’ palates, and pointed them to wines they might enjoy. And as menu advisor, she helped many select the perfect holiday table wines.

Recognizing that not everyone lives on a diet of wine alone, she offered 14 mostly locally brewed craft beers — and a lone specialty cider.

Underneath it all the evening was a fundraiser for Sunrise Rotary. The evening’s receipts will help support over 30 nonprofit institutions, some Westport-based — Homes With Hope, CLASP Homes, Smart Kids With Learning Disabilities and Westport Human Services; others in nearby communities — Burroughs Community Center, Caroline House and Mercy Learning Center.

A few that are in other countries, including Tree of Life Orphanage in Haiti and The Syria Fund, a refugee support organization. And some are global. End Polio Now has been a long-term project of Rotary International and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is on the verge of eradicating the disease in every country.

Sunrise Rotarians, like all 1.2 million Rotarians in 224 countries, are committed to Service Above Self. One aspect is providing Hands-On assistance in and around Westport — manning food drives for local pantries, helping in Westport’s annual cleanup day and joining in Bridgeport’s Read Aloud day.

The club also runs a second fundraiser, The Great Duck Race, in June along the Saugatuck River.

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