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Thursday, December 03, 2009

What Does a Church Have to Do With Wine?

What happens when a vintner, visual artists, entrepreneurs, and an art school director get together and ask the question, “how do we shadow God in the redemption of the world?”


Meet the players:

John Burtka is the owner/operator and vintner extraordinaire at Cherry Creek Winery in Brooklyn, MI. He is a dreamer and an artist. He is a Westwinds hero. And, more importantly, he is a Jesus lover.

Kim Hastings is the Executive Director of Jackson School of the Arts. Since 2001, the Jackson School of the Arts mission is to make the arts accessible to Jackson County youth regardless of income. The work of including, finding and providing programs to students not served anywhere else is at the center of the Jackson School of the Arts efforts. Kim is vibrant and committed to children.

I met with John Burtka months and months ago about the possibility of combining his art and my art and both of our entrepreneurial minds to create a wine that was by artists, for artists, and for the benefit of our community. Having worked with Kim on other projects, it seemed obvious to us that the sale of a wine dedicated to the artist should benefit the children who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to be involved with art.

Introducing: The Winds ’07 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Michigan Shore.

Cherry Creek will be marketing a fine-tuned and lovingly crafted wine in December (a couple of weeks) that will benefit the children of Jackson with 100% of the revenue. Not the profits . . . EVERYTHING. In other words, when a $15.00 bottle of wine is purchased, $15.00 goes to the Jackson School of the Arts.

All wine is crafted, cellared and bottled by Cherry Creek and will be available at Cherry Creek stores in the Jackson area. The process has been amazing for me as an artist. From top to bottom, I am proud of how this wine has been crafted. The finished product is the result of 100's of hours.

I am excited about the label that I created with Speedball ink and a palette knife. The label art reflects the freedom we have in celebrating Jesus and enjoying life abundant.

The mission is summed up in the back label:

Kim “reconnected with Jesus” at Westwinds in the last couple of years. She bleeds compassion for the kids. John and his family have attended Westwinds about the same length of time. When you meet them, you want to be their friend. I’m proud of these people.

Both John and Kim told me today, in their own words, “it’s not about wine, it’s not about art, it’s about kids—giving them hope, opportunity, and an experience they may not have otherwise.”

So, if you drink wine, I encourage you to be looking for “The Winds” in the next couple of weeks at Cherry Creek.

We will have a “Wine Release Party” at the Cherry Creek Schoolhouse Vineyard in Brooklyn, MI on December 18th at 6:30. Come hear original Christmas music and buy some wine for yourself and loved ones.

P.S. Westwinds has a “white paper” on what we believe about the consumption and responsible enjoyment of alcohol that is available in the office for anyone who wishes to have a copy. The paper was written with the input and blessing of our Westwinds friends who are in alcohol recovery programs and lead the recovery groups here at the church.

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