Stark Wines: Sharing Profits for a Cause

Wine for water relief? Now that's a wine we'd like to drink


Stark Wine was first brought to my attention last year by a friend of a friend who was making wine, and the inevitable "could I try it"?  It's not a terribly uncommon occurrence, and one fraught with implications that require careful calculation before tasting. After all, friendships are at stake here.

I was happily surprised by the Stark Thirst Chardonnay, and even more happily surprised to see that 10 percent of the profits are donated to WaterAid. In case you're not familiar with WaterAid, it's a nonprofit dedicated to bringing safe drinking water to people around the world. Just $25 allows WaterAid to supply a person with a lasting supply of safe drinking water. So as we're enjoying a bottle of wine, someone else gets access to safe drinking water.

Founders Kerstin Krall Walz and winemaker Christian Stark have been making wine since 2003. The portfolio of wines they offer, first under the Stark Wine and now also under the Stark Thirst brand, have slowly grown over the years, but their commitment to doing something good with their work has been unwavering. Between their generous donations to WaterAid and their insistence on using recycled and recyclable materials for their packaging and affordable pricing, they are truly producing a wine that fits in today's marketplace.

If you are or plan to be in New York City this March, you can be part of the Stark movement by taking advantage of a grand tasting of oysters, tapas, and Stark wines at City Winery on World Water Day, March 22! $75 will get you oysters and tastes of six Stark wines; click here for more details.

If you can't join Kerstin in person, celebrate by picking up some Stark Wine and helping to share those profits. For the month of March, Chelsea Wine Vault  in NYC will be donating an additional dollar for every bottle of Stark Wine purchased. Remember while you’re sharing and enjoying your wine that this money is going to help someone get access to clean drinking water. Sometimes we take for granted the simple luxuries of our lives, and sometimes we need to be reminded of them.

2011 Stark Thirst Chardonnay Sonoma County 13.5 percent

Fairly high toned and fruity on the nose with penetrating apple, citrus, and lightly salty aromas supported by smoky, chalky earthy base notes. Smooth on entry and a touch rounded, the acidity quickly pops on the palate, adding freshness and zest to the apple and lime pith flavors. There's a slightly creamy edge to the wine which extends on to the finish before the crisp acid spine washes the palate, leaving one with a lingering tart apricot finale. 87pts

NV Stark Wild California Red Blend 14 percent

38 percent zinfandel, 37 percent grenache, 25 percent petite sirah

Fruity and dark on the nose with some toasty spice notes, a hint of vanilla, dark blackberry fruit with a sour plum accent, and hints of black pepper and bitter chocolate. Smooth with soft tannins and mouthwatering acidity in the mouth, this shows more red fruit on the palate than the nose, with hints of cherries and raspberries in a medium-bodied style. The finish shows a hint of pleasant rusticity with nice red fruit and lingering spice notes.  86pts

These two wines come from the basic Stark portfolio. Stark Wine also produces a set of varietal wines from some of California's finest appellations under the Stark label. They’re worth checking out.

— Gregory Del Piaz, Snooth


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