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Announcing A Menu For Hope 2007

It's that time of year. The giving time. And I need your help.

Increasingly, popular bloggers are overwhelmed with opportunities to use their blogs as platforms for the promotion of the worthy causes that are especially visible during the holiday season. Here at Vinography we have chosen to throw our energy and time into a single cause year after year, both because it is specific to mfhlogosmall_2.jpgthe wine and food blogging community, and because it is increasingly effective in raising an awful lot of money for people in need.

A Menu For Hope was started by my friend Pim in response to the tsunami tragedy of 2004. Now in it's fourth year, it has become one of the largest grassroots charity fundraising operations in the blogosphere, with 100% of its proceeds going to benefit the United Nations World Food Programme. Additionally, this year we will actually be working with the WFP to get the funds to a very specific community of farmers in Lesotho, Africa with 100% transparency and control over where the funds go.

For those who are not familiar with this initiative, it is essentially a raffle, with prizes donated by bloggers. Participating bloggers post a description of their prize (which is also listed on the main Menu For Hope page) and do all they can to attract donations (made on the designated donation web site) in increments of $10. Each $10 donated becomes a ticket for the raffle, which the person donating can specify as being used towards the specific prize they want.

The most important part of this project, of course are the prizes donated by bloggers and companies. Which is where you come in. Last year we raised over $60,000. I think if we're good, this year we can raise over $100,000.

In order to do that, however we need two things. We need great prizes donated by bloggers, and we need those bloggers to spread the word far and wide, so that lots of people want to bid on those prizes.

So I want you to consider donating a prize (whether or not you have a blog). If you're curious, here's the list of prizes donated last year. I have some caveats this year for those who are donating.

The last thing we want to do is discourage anyone from donating a prize to this event, but we do want to make sure that your gift is fully appreciated, and helps the overall cause. There were a number of gifts last year that received only one or two bids, or didn't receive any bids at all, which was a bummer for everyone involved. There were also a number of duplicate prizes as well.

So I'd like to urge everyone participating to try to make their prize as valuable and attractive as they can, and to perhaps think beyond a copy of your favorite wine book, for instance. A good rule of thumb is to think of a prize that would get at least 20 of YOUR readers or customers to donate at least 10 bucks apiece.

The other thing I would suggest, this being the world of wine bloggers we're talking about, that unless you are a winery or a wine retailer, or you are regularly used to shipping wine to folks in other states, that you don't donate wine as your prize. Shipping wine across state lines as an individual without a distributors license is technically illegal. So if you donate wine as your prize, or as part of your prize, make sure you know what you're doing. However, if you ARE a wine producer or distributor, then BRING IT ON. Donate a couple of mixed cases of the really good stuff. Some of the most popular prizes last year were such prizes.

Think of a prize and then contact me by sending me e-mail at alder at vinography dot com. I will then assign you a prize code, which is what your readers will need in order to bid on your prize, starting on December 10th when the campaign launches. I will also need a 100 x 100 pixel and a 250 x 250 pixel image of your prize by the time the campaign goes live.


If you can't think of a good prize, or if you're not inclined to do so, you can also participate by blogging about the event, hosting banners for the event on your site, or simply buying raffle tickets yourself.

I hope you will consider doing your part to support this very worthy cause this year.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.