9/11 Memorial Wine: It's Not Time

When the World Trade Center was hit by terrorist attacks, I was living in New York City. I remember the horror and mass confusion of that beautiful summer morning that turned so terribly wrong.

Like so many others, I had friends and colleagues who perished that day (and some who, luckily, missed their train or were otherwise spared by fate or intuition). Living across the East River from the Twin Towers, I witnessed the burning, smoking rubble firsthand for days afterward. Like the rest of us, I volunteered, attended vigils, cried, and basically felt pretty helpless.

When I saw the first souvenir of that day, I was livid. It was wrong on so many levels to sell baseball caps and coffee mugs that commemorated September 11th. And though I suspect there a lot of people who made money selling American flag lapel pins and New York Fire Department T-shirts, at least they didn't say, "I survived 9/11."

The tenth anniversary of September 11th is upon us, and with time comes healing. For most of us, 9/11 is no longer an open wound, though the scars remain, even after a decade.

With the imminent opening of the 9/11 Memorial and the anniversary, I expected an onslaught of media attention where the burning, the chaos, and the death are all replayed over and over again. What I didn't expect was wine.

Lieb Family Cellars is marketing three wines to commemorate 9/11. Priced at $9.11 (get
it?) and $19.11, the wines are "dedicated to honoring the memory of those lost
on September 11, 2001. Lieb Cellars is proud to assist the September's Mission Foundation in its fundraising program, the 9/11 Campaign.

If you look at the label, the 11 in 9/11 looks very similar to the Twin Towers "ghost lights" that fill the void left by the buildings during the anniversary of the towers' destruction.

The company states that 91.1 cents of each 2008 vintage bottle is donated to the above mentioned fund, which provides educational and cultural programs to remember the victims of 9/11 and to fund the 9/11 Living Memorial Project.

The wines, which are available in a 2008 Merlot, 2010 Merlot, and 2010
Chardonnay, are limited to about 200 cases each. They'll probably become
instant collectibles.

What saddened me (though I should have expected it) is the statement that the 2010 wines are being produced for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. I shudder to think that that museum comes with a souvenir shop, but everything is marketable.

It is a good thing that Lieb Family Cellars is giving a portion of its proceeds to organizations that keep the memory of 9/11 alive. But did it have to put it on the label in such a tacky way?

What do you think? Would you buy or boycott this wine?

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