Luca Sanjust. In Vino Caritas

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Wineries help fight AIDS in Africa


Italy's quality wine producers are selling their finest vintages to help fight AIDS in Africa, fermenting the Latin proverb "In Vino Veritas" (in wine there is truth), into "In Vino Caritas" (in wine there is charity).
"It's all about love, taking the love that we receive from nature, in the form of wine, and giving it back to the earth, in the form of helping our needy brothers and sisters in Africa," said Luca Sanjust, owner of the Petrolo winery in Tuscany.
Petrolo, a high-quality boutique winery that produces only about 70,000 bottles a year, is one of the Italian producers sending a life line to Africa through their vines.
The project that links Tuscany's idyllic rolling hills with some of the world's most blighted areas was started seven years ago by Rome's Sant' Egidio Community, which has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
As part of the program, more than 120 of Italy's finest vineyards put a sticker on some of their best bottles reading "Wine for Life -- this bottle helps fight AIDS in Africa."
Some two million bottles have borne the stickers in the past eight years.
Fifty euro cents of the price goes to Sant' Egidio to finance their program called DREAM -- an acronym for Drug Resource Enhancement Against AIDS and Malnutrition -- to administer antiretroviral treatment.
DREAM centres have opened in Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.
"This is about life, it is not about business," said Sanjust, 51, whose wines for the project include his Galatrona and Torrione labels, contributing tens of thousands of euros to the program each year.
"Wine to us is sacred. Life is sacred. I think the people who are doing this work in Africa are living saints," Sanjust said at a recent benefit and wine auction for the program.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald