Band Train Launches New Wine, Chocolate For Family House

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Soft-rock band Train launched its own wine in 2009, Drops of Jupiter Petite Syrah; followed by 2010's Calling All Angels Chardonnay, with a portion of the proceeds going to Family House, which provides free temporary housing to families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at the University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital. 

This month, the group, which formed in San Francisco in 1994, will present the charity with a sizeable cheque.

"They have been getting money funneled from our wine for a long time, but this will be the biggest cheque - it's $50,000. And so they're gonna be real psyched," Train frontman Pat Monahan told www.samaritanmag, when he was in Toronto to promote the band's new album, California 37, out April 17.

Train will also release a new varietal, a cabernet sauvignon named after the album. Target in America will carry the wine, says Monahan.

"We've always believed in helping kids," says Monahan of how the band ended up selecting Family House to support. "We're also are very cynical about charity because there are a lot of people who take advantage of charity. You can go to web sites to find ratings and there were a couple of things that we were really interested in that were not rated very well.

"Of course we want to make wine because it's fun and we're a San Francisco band where wine is super big and also it's probably the best US wine, so if we're gonna do that, let's do something cool at the same time by doing something better for somebody.

"So we looked into it and there's a place in San Francisco called The Family House --most every city has one. When children are sick and need to be hospitalized, a lot of these people can't afford the insurance let alone a place to stay close by their child, so a lot of our money goes into this Family House so that they can let people come and stay."

Founded in 1981, Family House assists qualifying families that live more than 50 miles from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), many of which live at or below the low-income status as determined by UCSF. Its two locations sustain nearly a 100 percent occupancy rate and can accommodate 107 people per night. Over the course of a year, it serves more than 2,000 families.

Train launched the Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company in collaboration with Underdogs Wine & Spirits winemaker to help translate their songs into wine. The songs, after which their first two wines are named, were big hits for the band: "Drops of Jupiter" was top 5 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 2001 and won a Grammy for best rock song and "Calling All Angels" was top 20 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 2003.

This month, Train will be performing six nights in San Francisco -- Cafe Du Nord (April 10), Great American Music Hall (11th), Bimbo's 365 Club (12th), Slim's (13th), The Independent (14th) and The Fillmore (15th) -- and a percentage of sales from those shows will go to Family House.

Later, in time for their summer tour, three Train-branded chocolate bars, also benefitting Family House, will be coming out by San Francisco chocolate company Ghirardelli. 

Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.