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Tannins for tubas

Local restaurants are participating in a wine fundraiser to benefit school music programs.

Greg Horton March 21st, 2012

The next best thing to learning how to play a musical instrument is drinking wine to help someone else learn to play. E & J Gallo Winery and William Hill Estate have partnered with VH1’s Save the Music Foundation to help restore and enhance music programs in local schools by donating $1 for every case of their wine sold throughout March and April.

Ashley Tarver, Oklahoma’s Gallo wine representative, said William Hill has promised a minimum donation of $150,000, and that the program reflects the passion of William Hill winemaker Ralf Holdenreid, who has two children who play instruments.

According to Tarver, 15 metro elementary schools will benefit from the initiative. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that only half of American eighth-graders attend schools where music instruction is offered at least three times a week.

So far, 20 local restaurants and bars have signed up for the program, including Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, Cheever’s Cafe, Nonna’s, Ranch Steakhouse, West, In the Raw, Saii Bistro and Sushi Neko. A full list is available at

right Instruments at Moon Academy

Rococo Northpark, 12252 N. May, is taking the challenge a step further. Rather than rely on the $1-per-case donation, it has added William Hill Chardonnay to its by-the-glass list and will give $1 for every glass sold.

Additionally, the eatery will donate $5 for every bottle sold.

“We thought this was a great way to help kids in Oklahoma City,” said Russell Story, a Rococo Northpark manager, noting Gallo helped incentivize the program by offering the top-performing server a Starbucks gift card.

Bin 73, 7312 N. Western, hosted a wine tasting to benefit the program, where William Hill’s Central Coast Chardonnay and Cabernet, and Napa Merlot and Chardonnay were poured.

Manager Candice Pugh said Bin 73 got involved because of the organization’s success rate, providing $48 million in instruments to more than 1,800 public schools nationwide.

Photo by Mark Hancock

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