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Loyola University New Orleans Alumnus Expands Wolf Pack Wine and Scholarship Fundraising Effort

Loyola press release - October 13, 2017

Lagniappe Peak Vineyards is taking orders now for a new Wolf Pack Chardonnay – with plans to deliver in time for Thanksgiving and holidays

As the founder of Lagniappe Peak Vineyards in Napa Valley, Calif., Loyola University New Orleans alumnus Bob Almeida ‘72 has seen his share of success and he considers himself blessed. The most important things in his life – his wife, his business, his acumen, and his education – are all tied to both New Orleans and Loyola, where as a young man he received an academic scholarship, a gift he has never forgotten. For the second year running, Almeida is returning that generosity by raising funds for an academic scholarship with a unique wine named for the Loyola Wolf Pack. This time, he is serving up a Wolf Pack Chardonnay.

“My parents were immigrants who believed strongly in the power of education and saved to send me and my brother to college,” Almeida recalled fondly. “And then, I was fortunate to receive a four-year scholarship to Loyola, an experience that has shaped the rest of my life. My wife and I, have been blessed in so many ways, and as founders of a vineyard and wine label in Napa Valley, we thought this would be a fun way to give back to Loyola and to inspire others to participate.”

Last year, Almeida and his wife, Debb, who also attended Loyola, introduced a cuvée wine, a blend of Malbec and Syrah hand farmed on their estate on Atlas Peak in Napa Valley. This year’s wine, the 2016 Wolf Pack Chardonnay, is a one-of-a-kind exclusive creation for Loyola; the barrel of chardonnay has been specially created to benefit the Loyola Scholarship fund.

The Wolf Pack Chardonnay is crafted from Chardonnay sourced from a single vineyard located in Los Carneros, Napa Valley. It exhibits a vibrant, golden straw color; and offers an inviting aroma of tropical fruit and nutty marzipan notes. On the palate, fruit flavors of apple, pear, lemon and pineapple are backed by the refreshing acidity which lengthens the finish.

Pressed from whole cluster grapes in summer 2016, settled and stored in French Oak barrels, the rich white wine pairs perfectly with New Orleans’ seafood, as well as poultry, pasta, risotto, rice, and vegetables.

Despite sustaining losses during the tragic forest fires that consumed areas of Sonoma and Napa Valley in early October, the Almeidas return to New Orleans next month to host a winemakers’ dinner at the historic New Orleans Opera Guild Home on Prytania Street on Thursday, Nov. 9, in partnership with the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group.

Slated for the evening is a four-course dinner and appetizer reception with different wines served at every course, including the Wolf Pack Chardonnay and three other wines from Lagniappe Peak Vineyard. Lagniappe Peak wines are available in a variety of outlets in Louisiana, including Ralph Brennan Group and Dickie Brennan Group restaurants in New Orleans, as well as the world-renowned Commander’s Palace Restaurant.

The wine is ready now and may be purchased, at a cost of $35 per bottle, on the Lagniappe Peak Vineyards (www.lagniappepeak.com) website in time for delivery for Thanksgiving and the holidays.

A significant portion of the proceeds from each barrel goes to Loyola’s merit-based scholarship program. For each bottle sold, the Almeidas will contribute $20 to Loyola scholarships.

The Almeidas have committed to continue giving in future years through this kind of a program, which is “so personal in so many ways and so much fun for everyone.”