Sunday, February 14, 2016

Do Good Date Night at Quantum Leap Winery

Happy Valentines Day. 

Kristen Walmsley-Manieri, founder of Orlando Date Night Guide, has organized a wonderful series of "Do Good Date Nights".  This sold out evening, right before Valentines Day had couples putting together sanitation. kits for Clean the World. The event was held at Quantum Leap Winery (1312 Wilfred Drive Orland FL).  A core value of Quantum Leap's business plan is to find an environmentally friendly solution for transporting wine to markets and ultimately the consumer. They have reinvented the wine-to-market delivery process. They search for good quality, sustainable grown wine, wherever they are around the world but transport it in large vessels to the Orlando winery. It is in this facility where wine is stored, finished, blended and packaged. This process substantially reduces the carbon footprint associated with traditional wine production.

Clean the World gathers soap, shampoo and other disguarded items from thousands of hotels world wide and recycles them to create clean hygiene kits for third world countries. Most hotel guests stay for just one night and all those bars of soap used to go to landfills. Now that soap saves lives. They recycle soap and create hope. Nearly one in 5 child deaths in third world countries is due to diarrhea, about 1.5 million lives lost every year. Diarrheal diseases also contribute to malnutrition, stunted growth, burden in healthcare costs and time lost at school or work. Research studies have demonstrated that the risk of diarrhea can be reduced 44-47% through hand washing interventions. Promotion of hand washing with soap has been shown to reduce the risk of acute respiratory infection in children below the age of 5 by half. Handwashing promotion campaigns are increasingly being implemented as part of an effort to improve child survival.

The couples gathered at long tables topped with hygiene products. The person standing at the wine barrels started the production line by grabbing a plastic bag and putting a bar of soap in. The bag was then passed down the line where other items were put in the bags. The stakes were heightened when it was announced that this was a race, with prizes. Laughter and competitive joking ensued as everyone raced to do good. The first full box of packaged goods brought a cheer from the leading team. Other teams rushed to catch up, while the foreground team seemed more concerned with pristine and neat kits. Full boxes were stacked on a skit beside me and before you knew it, that skit was full.

After the Clean the World packaging was complete, everyone was given a tour of the winery. I listened in as I continued to splash watercolors on the page. Several couples admired my sketch. One woman thought she was pictured in the sketch, although it wasn't her, I placed black striped on her shirt in the sketch to match what she was wearing as she spoke to me. That delighted her and she called her husband over. One of the Clean the World marketing people came over and he said to me, "How does it feel to make people happy everyday." I don't actually think many people notice what I do daily, but his comment certainly warmed my heart.

After the tour, couples went in the front of the winery where tables were set up to create a perfect blend of wine. The winery's best wine is named after a co-owners rescue dog named Kaley. This perfect blend of wines was developed over many months. The couples were given samples of the wines that were used to create this magical blend. The table that came closest to matching the blends taste would get a prize. There was another prize for the table that created their own delicious and unique blend. One person had to be the mixer and measurer and the most important member of the team had to be good at math to calculate the percentages used. Crackers and cheese were also on each table to cleans the palette. The excitement in the room bubbled up even as the rules were explained. The expert wine tasters would remix the blends based on the percentages couples gave them. The race was on to discover the perfect blend of tastes. Taste and smell are my weaker senses. On top of that I'm not exactly a math wiz. I left as the room buzzed with excitement. I know I'll be back however to get a bottle of that magic blend.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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