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VENTURA : Pier to Profit From Vintage Fund-Raiser

As part of a fund-raising campaign for the Ventura Pier, city officials on Wednesday unveiled a private label bottle of wine called “Ventura Pier Chardonnay” that will be sold to help raise money for maintenance and repairs of the pier.

The pier, which has been closed 13 months for repairs, will reopen Saturday. An endowment fund has been established to pay for ongoing maintenance. About $250,000 in cash donations have been raised so far.

Of every bottle of the wine that is sold, $1 will be donated to the endowment, officials said. The wine will be available in retail shops for about $7 per bottle beginning next week. It will also be stocked in local restaurants and hotels. At the opening ceremonies, the wine will be sold for $80 per case.

Carl Barnett, who works for a wine distribution company, said the 1992 vintage was produced by Custom Brands of Sonoma, a private label producer based in Healdsburg.

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“I would describe it as rich flavors of peaches and pears with a soft finish and hints of vanilla,” Barnett said.

The label has a picture of the Ventura Pier in the late 1800s, accompanied by a brief description of the 121-year-old pier’s history.

Barnett said a Chardonnay was chosen because it is the most popular kind of wine. He said he expects local merchants and restaurateurs to ask for several hundred cases. A case contains 12 bottles.

Officials on Wednesday unveiled the wine at the Ventura Pier. Jim Butterbaugh, owner of a retail store; Rod Houck, owner of the Pierpont Inn, and Brian Brennan, manager of the Chart House restaurant, posed with a wine bottle for local media. All of them plan to sell the wine at their businesses.

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“It’s a shameless publicity stunt, what can I say?” said Steve Hartmann, the city spokesman in charge of the event.


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