Winery owners make new ‘Alliance’

In support of National Mentoring Month, proprietors John and Kathleen Sweazey, will donate two dollars from the sale of each bottle of Anaba wine sold at their tasting room (60 Bonneau Road, Sonoma) during the month of January. The promotion continues the Sweazey’s personal commitment to the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance and follows their personal $15,000 donation made to the earlier this month.

“We always felt so welcomed in Sonoma, and we realized we needed to find the right way to give back to this community,” said the Sweazeys, Having previously supported several organizations in the Bay Area focused on children’s needs, they knew early on that the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance was the perfect match. “After becoming more familiar with the Alliance and the effectiveness of their programs, we decided to step up our support and focus our efforts on one charitable organization we really believe in.”
Longtime residents of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Sweazeys have been planning a winery in the North Coast for almost 40 years. In fact, the Anaba tasting room has many photographs from the mid-1970s of John Sweazey in France, learning wine production techniques from French producers.

Seven years ago, their dream came to fruition with the purchase of a winery and vineyard, and the creation of Anaba Wines. The couple said the choice of Sonoma was easy because of Sonoma’s focus on wine, farming and a low-key lifestyle. Of course, the availability of high-quality Burgundian and Rhône varietals in Sonoma was an important factor, too. These varietals were early inspirations and the basis for the style of wine John envisioned for his winery.

Kathy Witkowicki, executive director, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, said “The Sweazeys have been incredible supporters since they first arrived here in Sonoma Valley. Their generosity not only helps us to match more at-risk youth with mentors, but it also provides funding for many of the enrichment and empowerment opportunities that we offer these kids each year, so that they can be on a level playing field with their peer group.”

The Stand-By-Me Mentoring Alliance serves students on eight public school campuses in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District and has recently incorporated students at the Hanna Boys School into its program. The goal is to match every child who is at-risk academically and/or socially with a caring adult role model from the Sonoma community. Currently, there are over 450 volunteer mentors who work one-on-one with 450+ at-risk children in grades K-12.

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