HEALDSBURG, Calif., Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- It's hard to imagine that Colby Rex Groom was born with a hole in his heart, since the now 12-year old son of notable Australian winemaker Daryl Groom has proven to be a resilient veteran of open-heart by-pass procedures and owner of one of the biggest, kindest, most caring hearts to be found in wine country.
"He's a remarkable young man," said the obviously proud Groom, who notes that Colby once pitched a tent in the back yard of the family's Sonoma County home and offered to let visitors see his chest scars and listen to his newly-placed St. Jude's Medical valve – for a fee. He raised more than $1,000 for the American Heart Association that day, and inspired a father-son journey that leads directly to Colby Red, a wine brand owned by father and son, and dedicated to raising funds for cardiac research.
Remarkable, acknowledges Groom, doesn't seem to quite cover it.
Colby Red is a table wine blend produced by Groom in partnership with Treasury Wine Estates, home to Beringer and parent company of Australia icon Penfolds, where Groom once served as Senior Red Winemaker. The 2009 Colby Red is a flavorful California cuvee of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Merlot and Petite Sirah from select Treasury vineyards, retailing for $12.99. It will be released early next year in restaurants and with retail partner Walgreens, which will feature the wine in more than 4,500 stores nationwide.
Colby Red will begin appearing on shelves in January 2011, and full roll-out is expected during American Heart Month in February. Treasury Wine Estates will match the contributions of the Groom family and together plan to donate a combined $100,000 to the American Heart Association to support the mission. Additionally, the Groom family and Treasury Wine Estates also plan to donate product for local American Heart Association galas that raise funds for heart research, such as the annual Cotes du Couer Dallas, the Heart Ball in Orlando and Chicago and various American Heart Association Go Red luncheons.
Colby was first diagnosed with a heart defect when he was born. By the age of two, the Atrial Septal Defect, or "hole" in his heart had healed itself, but doctors quickly found a defective heart valve. With his heart leaking and deteriorating, the family decided when Colby was eight years old to have him undergo open-heart surgery to repair the valve and, when that repair did not hold, he again had open-heart surgery the following year. At that time, he received a St. Jude Medical valve, developed as part of a St. Jude Medical Foundation cardiac research project.
Since that operation, Colby is "healthy, happy, and growing like crazy" although needed medications limit participation in contact sports, and regular monitoring of his medical status will be an ongoing part of his life. His focus remains on helping others, rather than his own situation.
The association with St. Jude's gave birth to a commitment from Lisa and Daryl Groom, and later Colby, to support education and research for children's cardiac care so parents will not have to endure the fear, distress and uncertainty the family experienced while Colby was being diagnosed and later treated.
"We've been truly blessed and truly inspired by our son," explained Groom. "It wasn't a big surprise when he expressed interest in learning more about growing grapes and making wine, since he lives in the middle of vineyards, and the family business is crafting artisan wines," Groom remarked. But raising awareness "has given our Colby Red project a very special place in all our hearts."
"When we heard about Colby, and about Daryl's idea to raise money with Colby Red, we knew we could help with both vineyard sourcing and an expression of our support for the cause," said Stephen Brauer, Managing Director of Treasury Wine Estates. "This is a wine that not only tastes good, but also gives to a worthwhile cause. We see the project as a natural extension of our ongoing commitment to our community."
About Treasury Wine Estates
Treasury Wine Estates is an international premium wine business with a leading portfolio of new world wines. The global business includes four regional units based in Australia and New Zealand, The Americas, Europe and the Middle East/ Africa and Asia.
From the establishment of Australia's Penfolds in the mid-1840s to the 1876 founding of Beringer Vineyards, the exemplary winemaking legacy throughout the portfolio is unparalleled. Treasury Wine Estates features iconic brands such as Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, Lindemans, Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Rosemount, Stags' Leap Winery, Matua Valley, Etude and Castello di Gabbiano.
To learn more about Colby Red, check out our video at http://bit.ly/colbyred
To learn more about the St. Jude Medical Foundation, visit www.sjmfoundation.com
Visit Groom Wines on the web at www.groomwines.com
MEDIA CONTACT: JENNA HUDSON
VOICE: 707.299.3226 MOBILE 707.294.8719
SOURCE Treasury Wine Estates