Cheers! Wine tasting raises funds for York’s rainforest


Above, left to right: Douglas A. McCallum, Don Carlisle and Guy Carr-Harris, long-time supporters of Las Nubes Rainforest

York Faculty of Environmental Studies Professor Howard Daugherty, director of the Research Program at York’s Las Nubes Rainforest in Costa Rica, recently enjoyed a gala wine-tasting evening and auction organized by the Fisher Fund for Neotropical Conservation. He sent YFile the following article about the event.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, the Fisher Fund for Neotropical Conservation celebrated its third annual Wine Tasting and Auction at the Vaughan Estate, which is on the grounds of Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre. The tasting featured the wines of Vega Sicilia, one of the great wine estates of Spain and indeed of the world. Several of the tasted wines, obtained directly from the producer, have not yet been commercialized.

Left: Dr. Woody Fisher speaks to guests at the auction

The wines donated for auction, all fine quality wines from highly respected cellars, were appraised at more than $80,000 and were personal gifts from “friends of Las Nubes Rainforest.” In addition to the wines for auction, distinguished wildlife artist Robert Bateman donated for auction a print, Tropical Canopy/Scarlet Macaws, and this also generated enthusiastic bidding.

A sponsorship program, inspired by German Wine Laws and predicated on “sweetness of gift”, was a new initiative this year. Major sponsors included Andrew Pringle, McCarthy Tetrault, Morneau Sobeco, Upper Canada Lower Bowel Clinic, The Wine Establishment, Bodega Vega Sicilia and Carlos Miranda, Ambassador of Costa Rica.

Right: York President Lorna R. Marsden and wine columnist Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan, award-winning wine columnist for the National Post and publisher of Vintage Assessments wine-buying guide, provided in-depth expert commentary for the tasting. Hal Hannaford, headmaster of Royal St. George’s College in Toronto, was the dynamic, delightfully entertaining and very productive auctioneer. David Morley, dean of York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, hosted the evening. York Foundation President Paul Marcus thanked the guests for their generosity.

The event generated net proceeds of approximately $55,000 which will be directed toward the completion of plans for the Las Nubes Research and Training Centre, a key element for York’s research and community action programs with the Tropical Science Center. This will consolidate much of the efforts made during the five years since Dr. M.M. “Woody” Fisher donated the Las Nubes rainforest property to York University.

The wine-tasting was one of two major events this season connected with Las Nubes. Next Tuesday, March 16, the University will hold a special celebration of the Las Nubes sustainable coffee project. 

For more information about the rainforest, visit the Las Nubes Web site or see the June 12, 2003, article in YFile.