Monday, March 22, 2010

Cleavage Creek Makes A Difference

Breast Cancer. Such unpleasant words. In some way or another, we are all affected by it--whether we know someone who is a survivor-a friend or loved one-or have lost someone to this dreaded disease. I, personally, lost a good friend to the fight in recent years. When Cleavage Creek Winery came to me and asked me to sample wines, I said "YES!" They are out there making a difference! I wanted to support them and let the public know about their cause...

What are Cleavage Creek wines and why should you be aware of them? Cleavage Creek wines are the brainchild of Lake County, California winemaker Budge Brown. I knew he sounded familiar. I have been a longtime fan of Tulip Hill Winery--his winery based in Lake County. Budge lost his wife of 48 years to breast cancer in 2005 and in her memory, he started Cleavage Creek Winery. 10% of the proceeds from wine sales go to breast cancer research. So far, he has donated in excess of $70,000. In addition to this, the winery has made many charitable contributions--one of the largest being a $40,000 grant to help establish the Bastyr University Integrated Oncology Research Clinic in Kenmore, Washington.

After speaking to Cleavage Creek Winery on Twitter, I received samples of two of their wines, some pamphlets and some fun swag (I love swag)--a Cleavage Creek corkscrew and a pink luggage tag! I couldn't wait to sample them!

The 2007 Tracy Hills Reserve Chardonnay (retail $18.00)--This was a complete surprise because it was the most unusual take on Chardonnay I'd ever tried. I'm used to tropical Chardonnays, which this was definitely tropical (the pineapple and coconut were prominent) but it had this orange-mandarin twist I wasn't expecting. Very different, but refreshing and delicious! Hailing from one of the newest AVAs (American Viticultural Area), the Tracy Hills AVA is part of both San Joaquin County and Stanislaus County, both in the Central Valley of California. Budge Brown owns a vineyard there on Mount Oso--and petitioned for this newest AVA. The label(as every label does) features a breast cancer survivor/model. I think it's a wonderful concept. What a great way to celebrate! I have a beautiful friend who is currently battling the disease and I let her know I want to see her on a label! The power of positive thinking and hope...

The other wine I sampled was the 2007 Tracy Hills Merlot-Shiraz, a nice blend of 33% Merlot and 67% Shiraz, all hailing from that same vineyard on Mount Oso. Very pleasant, smooth and flavorful, it was redolent of full berry flavor (raspberry, blackberry) and spice, but not jammy. Very easy to enjoy. $18.00.

This winery has a fantastic, very informative There you can find information on the wines, the story behind each model/survivor on the labels, information about the proceeds and where they go. You can purchase the wines on the site as well. Anyone who is in the Des Moines area and would be interested in learning more, I have pamphlets I can pass on to you if you want to contact me at

I truly believe Cleavage Creek Winery is making a difference and I want to thank Budge Brown and his winery team for making me aware of these awesome efforts! Thanks for making some really great wines and helping those in need. You are truly touching each and every one of us!


  1. Couldn't agree more Grace. I too was happy to support them in their fight and found the wines very good.


  2. The people at Cleavage Creek are super great. Good people make good wine even better.