How To Give More For The Holidays

DANVILLE, CA. December 13, 2010—In the true spirit of giving, Jerry Hettinger enlists Rivera Vineyards to provide the firm's holiday thank you gifts.

Jerry Hettinger, President and Founder of J. Hettinger Interiors ( and a philanthropist himself, is thanking his clients this year with a gift that continues to give long after the contents have been consumed. Jerry explains, " I'm delighted to partner with Marilyn and Steven Rivera whose passion for wine is matched only by their passion to help others."

Rivera Vineyards (, located in Napa's Atlas Peak region, was founded on the notion of giving back. Their mission statement is simple. "Rivera Vineyards is about wine, philanthropy and compassion." The vineyard produces strictly for fund-raising purposes, with 100% of the proceeds going to charities. Bottles have auctioned for as much as $30,000 each, and a small sampling of beneficiaries includes the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Special Olympics and SportStrong Youth Sports Foundation.

Proceeds from J. Hettinger Interiors' generous donation will benefit the Discovery Counseling Center (, which has been serving the greater San Ramon Valley Community for over 35 years. Discovery Counseling Center is a community based non-profit whose goal is to help individuals and families in need.

"It's actually a win-win-win." continues Jerry. "We're sending a wonderful wine as a thank you gift to our clients which serves as a reminder of our appreciation for their business. All proceeds aid the Discovery Center, and the gesture introduces Rivera Vineyards and their mission to the community. It's extremely fulfilling on a personal level because the seeds of this act could spread and grow beyond our wildest imagination. We've been so blessed with such gracious clients and steady business that we want to do our part to give what we can to those in true need."

About Discovery Counseling Center

Community based Discovery Counseling Center offers comprehensive mental health services for families and individuals in crises. With the availability of over 40 licensed and pre-licensed therapists, social workers and psychologists representing a multitude of specialties, Discovery Counseling Center is an affordable and safe choice for those seeking help.


Rivera Vineyards Donates All Its Wine — Accidental Vintner Lets His Atlas Peak Wines Do Good Works

By Paul Franson – Wines & Vines

Napa, Calif. – The wine community is famous for its generosity, and many wineries donate wine to charitable events, but Steve Rivera has taken generosity to its extreme: He donates all of the wine from his Rivera Vineyards to Bay Area charities. Rivera not only donates the wine (and sometimes accompanying events at his vineyard), but he pays all the expenses of growing grapes and producing the wine. He then donates the wine to good causes that use them to serve attendees or to auction. His major focus is on causes benefiting children and health. A large bottle plus a dinner went for $40,000 at the recent V Foundation Wine Celebration, for example, and other wines have been auctioned for big bucks to help other charities. "We look for events that attract the firepower that can make these donations," Rivera says, adding, "We prefer charities that have low overhead." Other beneficiaries have included the Taylor Family Foundation, which raised $30,000; Summit Bank Foundation, and SportStrong Youth Sports Foundation. A 3-liter bottle of Rivera Vineyards wine raised $2,500 for the Special Olympics. Most of the wine has been bottled in large formats since they are especially popular at auctions.

Not surprisingly, the wines have serious pedigrees. The winery's location, producers and exclusiveness bestow status almost by default. They are big but not overblown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons from a small rocky vineyard in a secluded box canyon 1,550 feet above Napa Valley in the Atlas Peak AVA. And they seem to be attracting the types of bids normally reserved for famed cult wines. Recognizing that it takes cult-type wine to attract top dollar, Rivera chose two of Napa Valley's top wine artisans to make the wines: winemaker Karen Culler and vineyard manager Pete Richmond of Silverado Farming Company.

Rivera and his wife Marilyn bought 65 acres in the Atlas Peak area above Yountville nine years ago, and they first planted 7.5 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon in an exquisite private valley. More recently, he added 3.5 acres more including some Petit Syrah, all the while preserving the property's native live oak trees. The Riveras intended to use the secluded property for weekend getaways, not to make wine. "I didn't intend to get into the wine business, just to grow grapes," he vows. Industry friends who saw the quality of the grapes encouraged Rivera to make wine, he says.

The vineyard is picked very late, typically starting in mid-October; because of potential spring frost at that altitude in the small canyon, the vines are also pruned very late to discourage early budding. The 2004 is elegant and restrained, just 13.8% alcohol with a tannin profile that suggests great aging potential and a fine match with food.

The first pouring of the wines was at a media tour of Atlas Peak AVA recently, but Rivera says he needs to start getting the word out. That shouldn't be difficult for someone with his background in publishing. For more information, visit

Copyright © Wines & Vines


Rivera Vineyards, Boutique Wine For Good Causes

By Deidre Wollard (RSS feed) –

I’ve been following the rise in charity wine projects lately so I love this story in Wines and Vines about Rivera Vineyards. Steve Rivera donates all the wine from Rivera Vineyards in the Atlas Peak area to Bay Area charities. Rivera pays all the expenses of growing the grapes and creating the wine and then donates the wine to charities which auction them off or use them at events. The wines are well-regarded Cabernet Sauvignons created by the master hands of winemaker Karen Culler and vineyard manager Pete Richmond of Silverado Farming Company.

Rivera, who has published several Bay Area magazines, had no plans to get into the wine business. When Rivera and his wife Marilyn bought 65 acres in the Atlas Peak area they planned to use the property as a getaway but his friends who saw the quality of the grapes encouraged him to make wine. So far they have planted 7.5 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and more recently added 3.5 acres more including some Petit Syrah. Rivera hopes to create a wine that would probably sell for about $100 for a 750ml bottle and would let the buyer choose which charity they opted to support with their purchase.


We are forever grateful for the friendship and generosity of the Rivera family.

—Elaine Taylor
Taylor Family Foundation


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