City Winery opened its doors in Boston late last year, offering live music, dining, and house-made wines. Now the company, which also has venues in New York City, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., is heading to Puerto Rico — but with a very different goal.
On Jan. 29, 125 members of the City Winery management team will travel to the island, ailing in the wake of Hurricane Maria, to work with local farmers to clear the land, restore damaged property, and rebuild farms.
“We’re growing very fast as a company, and I do a management offsite every year called Base Camp to help develop our team and to understand who we are and what we’re trying to achieve,” City Winery founder and CEO Michael Dorf told RadioBDC host Julie Kramer. “This year, I wanted to do a give-back theme.”
In 2017, Dorf was putting together a plan to travel to New Orleans and help with efforts in the Ninth Ward. Then hurricane season happened. His focus shifted to Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Maria ravaged, among other things, the agricultural industry. It’s the main food source for the island.
“The middle of the island is where the farming community got completely decimated,” Dorf said. “When you’re on an island and you lose something, you’re hurt. And in Puerto Rico, the agricultural side, the farmers, and, in turn, the people are really hurting right now.”
Aiding City Winery’s efforts on the island will be Chef Juan Jose Cuevas of Restaurant 1919 and the Conando Vanderbilt Hotel. Chef Cuevas is a leader in the farm-to-table movement in Puerto Rico, so he knows firsthand the value of the farming community to the people of Puerto Rico.
If you’d like to help City Winery’s efforts, you can donate products like ground coffee, dehydrated milk, and extension cords, which will be packed into duffle bags and taken down to the island by the City Winery volunteers. Monetary donations are of course also welcome. Every dollar donated will be used directly to benefit the farming and food-creating communities in Puerto Rico. To contribute, click here or email City Winery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can listen to Dorf and Kramer’s entire conversation, which previously aired on RadioBDC, below.