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Healdsburg, CA (November 14, 2017) - It's been proven that red wine is good for the heart, and now it's even more heart-healthy. A young man's desire to give back to the organizations that helped save his life when his heart was sick has led to over $1 million in donations from sales of Colby Red.
Sonoma County wine country resident Colby Groom was born with congenital heart disease (CHD), a leading cause of birth-defect-associated death for children in the United States. One of the 40,000 babies born each year with CHD, Colby had a hole in his heart and a deformed aortic valve. Fortunately, his prognosis was better than some. Many children lose their lives to CHD. Colby needed open-heart surgery, but his condition was sustainable. He had had two open-heart surgeries by age 10.
To help him heal and build self-confidence, Colby's parents, Daryl and Lisa Groom, encouraged him to get involved in the local heart-health community. Colby gave his first “heart survivor” speech at age 10. He found a passion for giving back and raising money for the American Heart Association.
At age 11, Colby asked his father, a critically acclaimed winemaker, if they could make a wine together, sell it, and donate the proceeds to heart research. Colby was determined that “no kid would ever have to go through what I went through.”
In 2010 they made two barrels of red wine with the goal of raising and donating $500. “The wine industry is a very generous and supportive industry,” says Daryl Groom. “As word spread of Colby's project, friends and caring companies offered to help.” The wine was first introduced on the Today Show and then supported over the next few years by the show’s friends of wine Kathy Lee and Hoda. Walgreen's championed Colby Red from the beginning. California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang’s, Fleming’s, Pappadeaux, and Wildfire restaurants pour it by the glass. In 2016 HEB stores in Texas started selling the wine, and United Airlines got on board and began pouring it by the glass on all international flights.
Because of these companies, and many more independent restaurants and stores, Colby Red has become the first “cause-marketed” wine to achieve the milestone of $1 million in donations to charities.
It all started with an 11-year-old boy’s desire to give back. “It's amazing to have dreamed for so long of making 1 Million dollars and now so humbling to have realized our goal!” says Colby, now 19 and double-majoring at Loyola Marymount University. Colby’s resolute, “But what we’ve started isn’t over, I plan to keep working towards the end of kids in hospitals with heart disease.”
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