Winery takes aim at breast cancer
By Dave BuchananL October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while there have been some remarkable advances in treatment and survival, the American Cancer Society predicts that more than 180,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2007 and nearly 41,00 men and women will die from it. Research is expensive, and while the death rate from breast cancer drops about 2 percent each year, more money is needed. So what, you ask, does this have to do with wine? Well, a couple of things. First, studies indicate moderate consumption of red wine might help fight various types of cancers, including breast and prostate cancers. It has to do with the cancer-fighting chemicals found in grape seeds and skins, and apparently the alcohol in wine dissolves these compounds and makes them easier to absorb. Second, cancer research takes money, a lot of money. That’s where Napa winemaker Budge Brown comes in. When his wife, Arlene, died from breast cancer in 2005, Brown decided to fight the disease the best way he knows: With good wines and lots of money. The result is Cleavage Creek wines, a line of eight wines produced by Brown with 10 percent of the gross profits dedicated to breast cancer research. That’s 10 percent of gross, not net, which makes for a lot of money going to research and education. As part of the campaign, each bottle of Cleavage Creek has a photo of a cancer survivor on the label, with a group shot of seven survivors (Brown calls them models) featured on the first release. Priced at in the $22-$60 per bottle range, the wines will be released Oct. 15 and will be available off the internet or by phone. The Cleavage Creek line will include a 2005 Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2005 Reserve Napa Valley Petite Syrah, a 2005 Cabernet-Syrah, a 2004 Merlot, a 2004 Merlot-Syrah and a 2006 Reserve Chardonnay, all from Brown's personal vineyards. A 2003 Secret Red and a 2006 Secret White complete the offerings. Total production is expected to be around 2,000 cases. Brown also plans a Cleavage Creek Wine Club for cancer survivors. Information about Cleavage Creek and how Brown intends to fund research and treatment is available on the Cleavage Creek Web site. His goal, he said, is simple. “I want to sell great wines, give a portion of our gross to the best sources for a cure, raise awareness and celebrate survival,” Brown said. “Our motto is ‘Live to Love life.’” *Caruso Daly is the model survivor on the Cleavage Creek 2005 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.