Collectors bid on rare wines for York U. rainforest conservation program


TORONTO, February 18, 2003 -- Rare wines from the 1983 Bordeaux vintage will be presented for tasting at the second annual Las Nubes Fine Wine Tasting and Auction to raise funds for research and conservation projects at York University’s Las Nubes Rainforest in Costa Rica.

The event on Wednesday, February 26 at 6 p.m. is at the Vaughan Estate on the grounds of Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre. It will offer collectors a horizontal tasting of seven wines, including the 1983 Chateau Margaux, reputed to be the best vintage for Margaux in ten years. The Las Nubes auction, hosted by the Woody Fisher Fund for Neotropical Conservation at York, is unique in Toronto in offering wine connoisseurs the opportunity to taste a vintage across a range of chateaux.

"The tasting allows collectors to evaluate how different producers have handled weather conditions and other challenges of a particular year," said Toronto physician and wine collector Woody Fisher, who donated the Las Nubes rainforest to York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) four years ago. "The 1983 vintage was a very challenging year weather-wise, but we will be tasting the best wines produced that year."

York University President Lorna Marsden will open the event, and the tasting will be led by National Post wine columnist and publisher of Vintage Assessments, Michael Vaughan. Wine consultant Ken Lewis has appraised the wines for the auction and these include 1964 and 1988 Petrus, 1967 and 1975 Chateau d’Yquem, and a selection of Burgundy, California and Italian wines. The wines will be auctioned by Hal Hannaford, Headmaster of Royal St. Georges College. The event has been organized by Jane Hargraft Associates.

The Las Nubes Rainforest project is a unique form of philanthropy. "The gift of this land from Dr. Fisher has enabled us to leverage public and private funding to do research and promote conservation and local sustainable development," said York professsor and director of the FES research program at Las Nubes, Howard Daugherty. This one-time threatened, montane cloud forest adjacent to Chirripó National Park and the Amistad Biosphere Reserve is now part of the largest, undisturbed rainforest in Central America. The research at Las Nubes conducted by FES faculty and graduate students has also been supported by the Canadian International Development Agency and the International Development Research Centre.

Research at Las Nubes is helping to maintain the biodiversity of forest habitats that are essential to the survival of many migratory songbirds that summer in Canada. It has also helped to raise public awareness about the value of shade-grown, organic coffee as an ecologically sound alternative to deforestation of critical ecosystems in Latin America.


For further information, please contact:

Prof. Howard Daugherty Susan Bigelow
Faculty of Environmental Studies Media Relations
York University York University
416-736-2100, ext. 40369 416-736-2100, ext. 22091