Allegheny Y’s wine tasting helps with programs, membership

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Left: Two volunteers show off the Quinta de Gardida 2007 (red) from Portugal and the Domaine St. Antone Syra 2007 (red) from France at the Y’s Wine Comparitve Downtown. (Photo/Emily Leone)

You didn’t have to know what “tannic” or “rounded” meant to attend the Allegheny YMCA’s Fourth Annual Wine Comparative last Friday. All you had to do was swirl, sniff, sip and vote.

About 180 people tried six different wines and voted for their favorites at the full-bodied fundraiser for wine enthusiasts and community supporters at the Renaissance Hotel Downtown.

Out of three whites and three reds, the Polka Dot Dry Riesling 2009 (white) from Germany and the Ergo Tempranillo Rioja 2007 (red) from Spain were the top picks. Most of the wine and food was provided by the Renaissance.

The real winners are those who will benefit from the fundraiser. Including the raffle basket giveaway, the event raised more than $20,000 for the Y’s Building Bridges Campaign.

Formerly called the Strong Communities Campaign, the money raised at Friday’s event will go to those in the community who cannot afford membership at the Allegheny branch, said Executive Director Bill Pricener.

The Y has a sliding membership scale based on family income for those making less than $50,000. Anyone in the community can apply for membership subsidies.

“Because the YMCA does not turn anyone away, we have to raise money. We’re trying to … make the YMCA accessible to everyone,” Pricener said. “There was a time when people were so proud that they didn’t want to take advantage of our subsidies.”

The Allegheny Y has seen an increase in need of services, up some 15 percent, he said. Last year, more than $66,000 was used for programming and to offset membership costs for low-income individuals and families.

In addition to weights, workout machines and classes, the Y offers school-aged child care, swim lessons and healthy living programming for families and senior citizens.

The Allegheny Y is one of two remaining YMCAs in Pittsburgh that houses men who pay to reside there.

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