Healdsburg-area Wineries Fill Grape Gondolas With 2,060 Pounds of Toys for Tots

Russian River Valley beats Alexander Valley by 20 pounds in first-annual wine country gondola toy drive.


A head-to-head competition between wineries of the Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley capped off Friday at a weigh-in of toys donated to Toys for Tots.

In the contest, each participating Healdsburg-area wine region filled a massive grape gondola with toys and coats for local children in need.

Russian River Valley won the challenge by just 20 pounds with 1,040 of donations to Alexander Valley’s 1,020 pounds for a grand total of 2,060 pounds.

Hosted by John Jordan of Jordan Vineyard & Winery of Alexander Valley and Judy Jordan of J Vineyards & Winery of Russian River Valley, this three-week toy drive benefited Toys for Tots and drew nearly 20 wineries.

More than 50 community members turned out at Friday's grand finale gondola weigh-in event, as each team’s holiday-decorated vintage grape gondola pulled up to Jordan Winery’s scale house in Healdsburg for the official weigh-in.

U.S. Marine Reservists, leaders of Sonoma County’s Toys for Tots program, were also on hand to help wineries load last-minute donations into the gondolas.

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SophieII December 16, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Good, local intent and coverage...! But, I have always had reservations, based on experience, about the intent vs. the results of these programs... First of all, I definitely do not think that kids need tons of toys. Some of these toys are totally inappropriate, initiate and perpetuate war/fighting themes, violence and have sexual undertones. Kids need a good dose of a set of values and respect, an ounce of silver, lots of hugs...and maybe some nutritional food and clothing. Secondly, I've seen far too many instances of abuse of this system, i.e., Parents and Marines returning or selling the toys for their own desires. Also, Minority kids getting truckloads of toys...screw the white kids. Thirdly, there always seems to be a hidden Promo, Profiteer and Big Money behind these drives. Follow the money, people...! My comment is not intended to criticize or downplay the intent of those contributing. I believe, that they believe that what they are doing is truly altruistic, but I ask you/them to research the organizations, their foundations and history before you blindly donate to them. Enough...Happy Holidays... " :>)
Keri Brenner December 17, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Anyone else out there heard complaints about Toys for Tots or similar kinds of programs? What controls do we have in place locally? Anyone know?
Mike Mahoney December 28, 2012 at 06:35 AM
Your very brave and I commend your comment. I tend toward sarcasm and respect the direct approach you have taken. Marines are not about toys in my book neither are bikers perhaps they both are trying to soften their images with the charity acts more power to them. But if the wineries quietly paid the employee parents a Christmas bonus then this shiny grandstanding could be eliminated and the true spirit of St. Nichols could be remembered anonymous gift giving is the best.


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