How does wine from California help build a skatepark in Sturgeon Bay? Enter John Verbeten.
Verbeten is the local rep for vintner Kenny Likitprakong’s Banyan, Folk Machine and Hobo label wines. Verbeten was retrieving his car at Young Automotive in Sturgeon Bay when he overheard a conversation between Matt Young and Laurel Hauser, co-chairs of the Sturgeon Bay Skatepark Initiative. He didn’t have to hear much of their enthusiasm before he quietly interjected, “I know a skateboarder in California who makes wine. He might be willing to help the project.”
A few phone calls later, Verbeten had secured Likitprakong’s pledge to donate a portion of every bottle of his wine sold in Door County during June, July and August to the Sturgeon Bay Skatepark. John Verbeten and his wife, Pamela Murphy, decided to match Likitprakong’s contribution and Wine for the Skatepark was born.
Verbeten began enlisting restaurants and wine shops to participate in the promotion while the Sturgeon Bay Skatepark Initiative sought pledges from individuals and families. According to Hauser, the response was great and the number continues to grow. “When we add up all the pledges, every bottle of Banyan, Folk Machine and Hobo wine sold raises more than $6 for the skatepark. It’s an easy way to help a good project. If you’re having dinner out, order a bottle. Or, pick up a bottle for a hostess gift.”
Likitprakong’s wines – Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Gewürztraminer and other varietals – are available at 23 restaurants and retailers around the county from Sturgeon Bay to Gills Rock.
Madison Avenue Wine Shop in Sturgeon Bay will host a tasting of Likitprakong’s wines June 15, from 11 am to 5 pm. Verbeten and others from the Sturgeon Bay Skatepark Initiative will be on hand to answer questions.
Participating establishments are: 136, Bluefront Café, Dal Santo’s, Glas, Kitty O’Reilly’s Irish Pub, & Madison Avenue Wine Shop, Cooper’s Corner, Fish Creek Market, Mr. Helsinki, Peninsula Players Theatre, The Cookery, Whistling Swan, Wild Tomato, DC Deli, Harbor Fish Market and Grille, Top Deck at Gordon Lodge, Horseshoe Bay, Main Street Market, Inn at Kristofer’s, Mission Grille, Top Shelf Cafe and Gourmet, Shoreline Restaurant, and Wickman House.
The Sturgeon Bay Skatepark Initiative (SBSI) is working in partnership with the City of Sturgeon Bay to build a park on the corner of West Spruce Street and Green Bay Road. The park will be open to skaters and BMX bikers alike.
SBSI is a fund of the Door County Community Foundation. Contributions may be sent to DCCF, P.O. Box 802, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. For more information, visit sbskate.org or call 920.493.0572.