Cityscape

Sales from new local wine will help charities

Updated: 2013-10-18T00:02:38Z

By JOYCE SMITH

The Kansas City Star

Kansas City’s new Bloch Wine brings together three passions of its founders — philanthropy, local produce and wine.

Tom and Mary Bloch had long grown corn, wheat and soybeans at their Pleasant Hill getaway farm. In April 2010 the wine lovers added a vineyard, but they never planned to keep the harvest for themselves. Instead, the Blochs looked for ways the wine could benefit area charities.

Now they are footing the bill for the production of Bloch Wine.

The grapes were harvested in September 2012, crushed and fermented for a year. This summer, Amigoni Urban Winery in the West Bottoms blended the Blochs’ Chambourcin and Marquette grapes with Cabernet Franc grapes from California’s Central Valley, enough to produce 58 cases holding a dozen bottles each.

DMH, an advertising agency with offices in the same building as Amigoni, donated its services in designing the labels, packaging and logo — a cluster of grapes forming a heart shape.

The couple sent out invitations to a recent Bloch Wine launch at the winery, with a $500 “giving card” included in every $500 case sold. The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation issues the card, and it can be directed to charities or nonprofit agencies much like a debit card. Bloch Wine’s slogan: “Drink Well, Give Back.”

“It’s been a labor of love, but we hope it will boost philanthropy in Kansas City, that others will combine their passions to give back in some way,” said Tom Bloch, the former chief executive of H&R Block and the son of company co-founder Henry Bloch.

Mary Bloch calls Bloch Wine another career in a long list for her husband, who was also a teacher and co-founder of the University Academy, a college-preparatory charter school for kindergartners through 12th-graders. He also is vice chairman and director of the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation.

“Because of my love of food and wine, I jumped on it,” she said.

Now the Blochs are gearing up for next year’s release and hope to produce even more bottles.

Quick bites

• Two Martini Corner hotspots — the Velvet Dog at 400 E. 31st St. and the Empire Room at 334 E. 31st St. — have “closed for remodel” signs on their front doors. A partner in the Kansas City businesses declined to comment on plans for the operations.

• Kansas City-based Topsy’s Popcorn plans to open a shop today in Summit Fair, 880 N.W. Blue Parkway in Lee’s Summit.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.

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