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story.lead_photo.caption (Courtesy of C. Mondavi & Family)

Today is the one day each year we set aside to honor all who have served our nation in wartime and peace. For me personally, Veterans Day gives me an opportunity to not only offer my heartfelt appreciation to those who have served our country but also find ways I can continue my support throughout the year.

A few years ago, I started supporting Purple Heart Wines. It is a brand created by C. Mondavi and Family. Marc Mondavi and Peter Mondavi Jr. wanted to honor the military contributions of their father, Peter Mondavi Sr., a WWII Veteran. The brand partners with The Purple Heart Foundation, an organization founded in dedication to enhance the quality of life for all veterans and families.

The Purple Heart Wines mission is a hand-crafted, exceptional red blend would be made, paying tribute to and raising money for our veterans each year. What started as a way for continued support from the wine industry has turned into a sought-out wine each year as enthusiasm rises and production continues to increase. The first release in 2013 was 7,500 cases and today’s production surpasses 23,000 cases.

The sale’s proceeds are donated to the Purple Heart Foundation supporting a full range of efforts for veterans including treatment of PTSD and other combat-related injuries, job training, education assistance, service dogs and funding for research to heal those with traumatic brain injuries. In addition to the financial donation to the foundation, Purple Heart Wines are showcased nationally throughout the year at military and veterans events.

John Moynier is the winemaker behind Purple Heart Wines. His service in the U.S. Air Force and his love of winemaking made it a natural fit for him to lead the effort to oversee the Purple Heart red wine. He has been a winemaker at C. Mondavi and Family since 1985.

Each year the blend is handcrafted with some of the wine industry’s most pristine fruit. The current 2016 vintage is from Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley vineyards. The blend is 68% merlot, 14% zinfandel, 9% petite sirah and 8% malbec.

So today — as you honor those who have served our country — you can also support the Purple Heart Wine project and assist our veterans throughout the year.

2016 Purple Heart Wine Red Blend, California (about $20)

Lorri Hambuchen is a member of London’s Institute of Wines and Spirits. Email: uncorked@thewinecenter.com

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