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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Locally bottled wine features portraits of shelter animals

NASHUA – Good things can come to fruition when members of the community come together for a common cause.

So Laurie Dufault, the director of development and public relations for the Humane Society of Greater Nashua, Dave Williams, owner of Grape Time Winery and Incredibrew, and Hollis artist and resident Alene Sirott-Cope found out Friday. The trio joined forces roughly a year ago to create a project that most of-age members of the community can enjoy – locally bottled wine featuring portraits of shelter animals, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Nashua animal shelter. ...

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NASHUA – Good things can come to fruition when members of the community come together for a common cause.

So Laurie Dufault, the director of development and public relations for the Humane Society of Greater Nashua, Dave Williams, owner of Grape Time Winery and Incredibrew, and Hollis artist and resident Alene Sirott-Cope found out Friday. The trio joined forces roughly a year ago to create a project that most of-age members of the community can enjoy – locally bottled wine featuring portraits of shelter animals, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Nashua animal shelter.

The three different wines – Granny Smith Riesling, Super Tuscan and Amarone – each feature a portrait Sirott-Cope created of three now-adopted shelter animals. Williams said he had participated in a similar partnership with the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire, based in Bedford, and wanted to do something in Nashua since he’s located in the Gate City at 112 Daniel Webster Highway.

“This is the beginning of a series. We’re small, we try to control our growth. This is a big project for us, partnering with the Humane Society,” Williams said. “We want to make sure we can produce the amount of wine they need.”

He chose his top three selling wines to use for the Humane Society series.

He approached Dufault about the project, who was immediately on board. She said the animals that were chosen were picked specifically because of their stories. The two dogs on the labels, the white dog named Mia, and an Australian shepherd, were transport pets who were sent to the Granite State from a shelter in Alabama. Both dogs were young and both were blind. They suffered from a degenerative disease that left the pups without their sight.

“They were kind of a special case in adoption,” Dufault said. “In the end, we were able to put them with a family who had a farm up north and they had a horse that was blind. So this woman and her family had experience caring for a pet with special needs.”

The cat, who went by several names at the shelter, including Gracie and Baby Gracie, was a recipient of the Abby Fund. This fund was established to pay for health-related issues and surgeries for shelter animals that go above and beyond normal treatment. Gracie had a bone spur in her hip and had to a surgery to correct it.

Williams and his wife, Robin, who designed the wine labels, guided Dufault in what kind of art she was looking for. They told her to go for something vibrant where the animal is looking at the viewer. Dufault solicited entries from artists from around the region, with some coming in as far away as Boston. The catch was the artist had to donate their work and time for free, and Sirott-Cope and her work were a perfect fit.

“It’s fabulous to have her to be from Hollis so it’s a local connection. It’s such a homegrown project to keep it local, it’s wonderful,” Dufault said.

“All my stuff is dogs now, I can’t get away from it. I don’t want to,” Sirott-Cope said, laughing.

Currently, the three wines are in several local businesses in Nashua including the Beer Store, Jasper’s Home Brew Supply and Ayotte’s. The Granny Smith Riesling was just delivered to Trader Joe’s on Daniel Webster Highway on Thursday and soon it will be sold in five Market Baskets – the four in Nashua and one in Hudson.

The wine has been available for purchase since February. Next on the docket is creating another three wines, portraits and labels for the Humane Society. Williams said there’s so many organizations out there with good causes, but when choosing which ones to help, you need to listen to your heart.

“We boil it down to what makes me feel good,” Williams said. “We’re in the business of making people happy. Wine makes people happy, pets make people happy.”

For more information on the Humane Society of Greater Nashua, visit www.hsfn.org, Grape Time Winery, visit www.
incredibrew.com
and to check out Sirott-Cope’s work, visit www.etsy.com/shop/pawsitive.

Erin Place can be reached at 594-6589 or eplace@nashuatelegraph.com.