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Markham Vineyards Announces Third Successive Year of Mark of Distinction Grant Program

Napa Winery Funds Community Efforts with Nationwide Call to Action

NAPA VALLEY, Calif., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Markham Vineyards, a pioneering Napa Valley winery with a history of giving back, today announced a call for submissions for the third annual Mark of Distinction grants initiative. Continuing on the impactful results of the past two years, Markham Vineyards is again offering two $25,000 grants to individuals or organizations committed to the betterment of their neighborhoods, cities or towns.

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The program is designed to cultivate positive change by awarding funds to help spearhead or continue community efforts. Candidates with a project intended to make a positive, lasting difference can submit their proposals at www.MarkhamMarkofDistinction.com from now until July 19th. Submissions can range from repairing dilapidated parks, to funding research, to creating a community center. To enter, submit a proposal of no more than 300 words that describes the initiative, rationale and inspiration. A brief budget and timeline detailing how and when project funds will be used must also be provided.

Beginning August 10th, ten finalists and their projects will be selected and posted on the Web site. The public will then vote to determine two grant recipients, who will each be awarded $25,000 to make a lasting change - a "Mark of Distinction" - in their communities.

In addition to providing grants, Markham Vineyards will also produce two single-vineyard, limited production Estate Cabernet Sauvignon wines appropriately named The Philanthropist and The Altruist in honor of the grant recipients. To celebrate and raise awareness of each, project information will be highlighted on the back labels of these wines. The 2008 vintage, featuring this year's grant recipients, will be released in Fall 2011.

"Each year, the Mark of Distinction community grants have been awarded to truly impressive and worthy causes," said Markham Vineyards President and Napa Valley native Bryan Del Bondio. "I've been touched and humbled to see these passionate, inspiring recipients effectively use the funds to help others. It's our honor to be able to assist with their causes, and this program has become a tradition we hope to continue for many years to come."

In 2009, the Mark of Distinction program awarded a $25,000 grant to Long Island Sled Hockey and the Paul Ruby Foundation. Long Island Sled Hockey, a New York organization for mentally and physically handicapped athletes, is the largest and most inclusive program of its kind. It consists of young boys and girls afflicted with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome and spina bifida, and aims to foster teamwork, pride and self-esteem through participation in the sport. The Markham Mark of Distinction grant helped finance the team's expenses for ice rink time, sleds, protective equipment and insurance. The Paul Ruby Foundation, based in Geneva, IL, was established after Paul Ruby was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's Disease. The $25,000 grant was immediately put to use to cover expenses for its annual Concert for a Cure, the organization's main fundraiser. The remaining grant money was donated to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for a Parkinson's research project.

The inspiration for the Mark of Distinction can be found in the history of the winery itself. Founded in 1879, Markham Vineyards has achieved great success through the support of the local Napa Valley community, and in turn, has been unwavering in its efforts to give back. Markham owns more than 230 acres of Napa Valley vineyards and purchases grapes from established local growers, many of whom have worked with the winery for years - including Ted Laurent, grandson of Markham winery founder Jean Laurent.

Markham Vineyards regularly supports charitable efforts at local and national levels, and has long been a supporter of the renowned Napa Valley Vintners' annual auction. Around the country, Markham has supported the Catch 22 Foundation, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, City of Hope, the Lili Claire Foundation, the Make it Right Foundation, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, Sylvester Cancer Center and the United Way.

Markham Vineyards offers a diverse range of award-winning varietals, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve Merlot and Petite Sirah. For more information about the winery, please visit www.markhamvineyards.com.

RECOMMENDED TAGS: Markham, Markham Vineyards, Markham Mark of Distinction, Mark of Distinction, Markham Philanthropist, Markham Altruist, Napa Valley, California Vineyard, California Vineyards, Markham wine, Markham wines, Markham Merlot, Markham Sauvignon Blanc, Markham Cabernet Sauvignon, Markham Chardonnay

SOURCE Markham Vineyards

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