As a veteran, I love when I see beverage brands working to support members of our military, their families, and veterans and not too long ago I read about Stemmari, a Sicilian wine brand, that was doing exactly that. “Sicily?” I thought to myself. I didn’t immediately draw the connection of why a Sicilian wine brand would be supporting an American non-profit catering to the military like the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, but then it began to make sense.
I served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, a unit which was instrumental throughout World War II. They also served an important role during Operation Husky, which involved two battalions from the 82nd’s 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment jumping into the darkness of the night on July 9, 1943 and landing into Sicily to go toe to toe with the Axis forces of the Italians and Nazis. They, along with other forces that composed the Allied invasion, would fight for six weeks of land combat that would see 6,000 casualties as they worked to drive enemy forces out of Sicily. Led by General Patton, these forces would set up camp in locations throughout Sicily, including areas that would go on to become vineyards for Stemmari.
So, it makes perfect sense. According to Stemmari, “In both remembrance and appreciation for the brave Allied soldiers that fought to liberate Sicily, which began on the night of July 9, 1943, and ended on August 17, Stemmari is partnering with SOWF for its second year and is donating a portion of the proceeds from its wine sales of Sicilian varieties like the indigenous Nero d’Avola, plus Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Dalila (80% Grillo, 20% Viognier), Cantodoro (80% Nero d’Avola, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon), Moscato and the new Baci Vivaci (100% Grillo) through February 28, 2015 to the organization.”
“Through this partnership, we are able to show our gratitude for the brave men and women who not only fought for the liberation of Sicily more than 70 years ago, but to support the families of today’s special forces,” said Alberto Lusini, COO of Prestige Wine Imports – the sole importer of Stemmari in the U.S.
SOWF provides full scholarship grants and educational and family counseling to the surviving children of military personnel who die in operational or training missions. Established in 1980, it has more than 1,000 children in its programs and 145 participants are in college today. SOWF also provides immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel that were severely wounded and their families.
Stemmari’s donation will go to the following three programs to support the military’s special operation forces and their families:
- College scholarships for the surviving children of fallen Special Operations Forces, which includes Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine personnel
- Family Services, including educational and family counseling and advocacy support
- Wounded Special Operations Forces Support, including immediate financial stipends of $3,000