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Wines in the Wild

By Staff | Nov 11, 2015

Some of the Wines in the Wild committee members: Martha and John Wolf, Shelley Greggs, Henry and Inge Glissman, Chip and Nancy Roach, Paul and Lucy Roth, Mike Kelly, Nancy and Pete Bender, Gwenda and Len Clements, and John Schubert. Alexis Horn, SCCF

It’s that time of year to have the opportunity to enjoy quality food and to celebrate a fine cause and wine for the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation’s “Wines in the Wild,” which will be Saturday, Nov. 14.

This year’s theme will be “Sustainable Safari: A Tasting of Environmentally Sound Wines from around the World.” Festivities will be held at the SCCF Nature Center at 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road, running from 6-8 p.m. with the cost being $75 per person in advance and $85 at the door.

Wine lovers will also once again be in good hands, as wine connoisseur, Tom Uhler, will handpick unique wines to please the guests.

This year, Uhler focused in on wines which illustrate wine makers who produce sustainable wine and in some cases, organically grown methods.

“We will be serving wines from all over the world, such as South Africa, France, Italy and California,” Uhler said. “We wanted to find wines which use grapes grown organically and the vineyards are sustainable, we want to support that.”

Uhler said organically, self-sustained vineyards produce quality wine, with a good price.

“To be able to call wine organic, there are a lot of hoops to get certified,” Uhler said. “But one of the victories which come out of it, is that the grapes are organically grown. The saying ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ applies.”

Meaning, you can’t make good wine out of lousy grapes. Good grapes are needed to produce the desired wines.

“You can take a great grape and screw it up, but you can’t take a lousy grape and make good wine,” Uhler added. “Most of the old-world’s best wines are named for a place (mostly in Europe), while in the new world, the wine is named for the grape.”

The challenge for vineyards is to keep the fungus from attacking the grapes. Using pure sulfur is a method, so the farmers don’t have to use highly-toxic chemicals.

Wineries also use a simple sulfur to sterilize hoses and vats, again staying again from toxic chemicals to clean the equipment.

“All wines contain sulfites and that has to be on the label in the United States, not anywhere else,” Uhler said. “Being organically grown and self-sustainable, does raise the price up a little, but you always pay more if it is organically grown, which means not using sprays or nasty chemicals to kill the bugs eating the plants.”

With the theme of environmentally wine being the featured item, there are the normal happenings which take place at the Wines in the Wild.

Bank of the Islands are the presenting sponsor, with live and silent auctions being held, with all proceeds benefitting the projects of the SCCF.

“We keep it much the same, because if the formula works, why change it?” Uhler said.

This year there will be both silent and live auctions that focus on food, wine, and unique experiences.

The live auction items include:

A Cocktail Cruise for 16 on a 75-foot Hatteras yacht with hors d’oeuvres catered by The Lighthouse Cafe.

A Wine Dinner for 8 at Sweet Melissa’s – featuring a special menu and wines from event chair Tom Uhler’s exceptional cellar.

A Sunset Sail for 18 on Captiva Cruises’ Adventure sailboat with food and drinks from ‘Tween Waters Inn.

A private catered Cocktail Party for 24 at the Bailey Homestead.

Bids can be placed in advance by calling Wendy Cerdan at 239-472-2329.

Advanced reservations can be taken by calling SCCF at 239-472-2329.