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Big Bottle of Wine Fetches Big Donation

November 2013

The 18-liter bottle of fine Cabernet donated by Jim and Cris Wendling and four other couples fetched a hefty price at the 2013 Wine Festival Dinner live auction last April.

This, of course, pleased Jim and friends. Their support for the festival and its cause of building the St. Ambrose scholarship fund is unwavering. Still, they couldn't help but yearn for just a taste of that specially created product from California vintner Joe Donelan.

Jim Wendling, a Davenport financial adviser who has a longstanding friendship with the winemaker, was able to obtain the second of two such bottles Donelan created in 2008 at cost.

An 18-liter bottle of wine is called a "melchior," and is the equal of two cases, or 24 bottles. Because of its size, the wine likely will age better than standard-sized bottles of wine, Wendling said.

Tom Mnich purchased the 2008 Donelan Cuvee Moriah for $2,700, all of which will be used for SAU scholarships.

The Wendlings were donors along with Dick '87 MBA and Linda '05 Eisenlauer, Bill '78 and Carol Brockway, Kevin and Gina Takacs, and Dave and Jana Steil.

Among them, the couples have sent five children to SAU.

"The neat thing is that all five couples have connections to SAU," said Dick Eisenlauer, whose wife is the director of the Center for Instructional Design and Technology at St. Ambrose.

St. Ambrose Alumni Director Anne Gannaway called the three-part festival "a model for volunteer engagement" at St. Ambrose, with a dedicated group of 30 alumni having helped raise more than $600,000 for SAU scholarships through the years.

Planning for the 2014 festival—which begins with the March 1 Wine at the Warehouse—already is well underway, Gannaway said.

Alumni Events Calendar
Sunday, Dec. 1 — Feast of St. Ambrose and McMullen Awards
Saturday, Dec. 7  —  Children's Christmas Party
Tuesday, Dec. 10 — 50s Chicago Holiday Luncheon
Wednesday, Dec. 11 — 60s Chicago Holiday Luncheon
Wednesday, Dec. 11 — Peoria Holiday Luncheon
Friday, Dec. 13 — Hooding Ceremony
Saturday, Dec. 14 — Winter Commencement

Saturday, Jan. 18 — Winter Trivia Night
Saturday, Feb. 22 — Galvin Dinner Theatre
Saturday, March 1 — Wine at the Warehouse
Friday, March 14 — Southern California Alumni Golf and Dinner Outing
Tuesday, March 25 — Freeman Pollard Breakfast
Saturday, March 29 — Spring Trivia Night
Saturday, April 12 — Wine Festival Preview Dinner
Saturday, May 10 — Spring Commencement
Saturday, May 17 — Wine Festival Wine Tasting

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