Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's nascent wine label Miraval
took a turn for the charitable this week with the auction of a 60-gallon signed cask of organic white wine to support an agricultural project in Africa.
The charity event, organized by winegrowers in the in the village of Correns, France (Pitt-Jolie's 1,000 acre estate is nestled within the community), was created to assist people living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"We've organized this sale in solidarity with the people of the Kivu region," Mayor Michael Latz told the UK Telegraph
. "The funds raised are to be donated to an agricultural cooperative which aims to teach young people about sustainable farming. It's in an area on bordering Rwanda which has been left impoverished by war. Young people and agriculture have been the principal victims of conflict – and yet they are the key to future stability in the region."
The winning bid for the Miraval cask fell just under $14,000 (roughly $38/bottle), contributing to a total donation of over $33,000 for the project.
Pitt and Jolie's entry into the wine business was met with praise earlier this spring after the release of their first vintage, a 2012 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé. The couple, who worked with famed French winemaker Marc Perrin on the venture, were praised for developing a product of genuine quality.
“The classic traps of celebrity vintners don’t apply," wrote vintner Joe Bastianich in a review for Vanity Fair
. "They’re not celebrity vintners; Brad and Angelina are real vintners. They hired a real wine-maker, they waited until the wine was good, they released it properly—this is a legitimate wine."
As far as sustainability is concerned, Miraval is a model winery focused on organic production.
"Miraval's vineyards are partly in the district of Correns, famous for being the first village in France where all farm produce is biologically produced," the website says. "Fanny Croisy, Miraval's head of French Sales and Exports, notes that 'It took 4 years to become certified organic. No chemicals can be used on the grapes as these can enter the plant and end up in the wine.' Therefore, at Miraval no herbicides, pesticides or fungicides are used, only naturally occurring compounds such as sulfates and copper sulphate."