Making a Difference

I am inspired everyday by the people I meet in my travels, by the folks that work for me, and by the people that have grown to become my dear friends and family over the years. I am always hoping that even by having a simple conversation, I have shared a story that has changed someone’s day. Young or old, I feel that people can be constantly motivated to reach their goals. I especially feel this way towards children. Children are filled with so much laughter and potential, how could you not want all of them to be encouraged to reach their ultimate dreams?

When I see a young man or woman truly enjoying their passion, I remember what it was like to run with unrestrained abandon. The sun on my face in the vineyard, the sweet smell of grapes on a warm breeze, and a long summer afternoon spent imagining all the things that children are inspired to do. This can be different for every kid. One child may want to build a rocket, one might want to paint, one may want to read or write, and one may want to play soccer. No matter what the dream is, the possibilities of a child’s imagination should know no boundaries and their dreams should always be big.

As Americans, we have the responsibility to ensure that all our child dreamers are supported so that their ideas can become achievements. It is our obligation to become mentors to younger generations and develop these dreamers into leaders who have accomplished their ultimate goals. My wife Amy and I began the Harmony Foundation for Children because of these beliefs. We provide financial support to youth who have proven to be dedicated and inspired, but whose success might be jeopardized by situations that are out of their hands. We sponsor hardworking kids that require an extra bit of help to achieve their passion in life. Amy and I feel very fortunate to have so many blessings and know we couldn’t have reached all our dreams without help and opportunity. Amongst all of our achievements, it is our greatest triumph to help these outstanding youth. I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be a child and to not have hope. It is our goal to give the kids at the Harmony Foundation hope that the drive and hard work they put into their passions is met by unwavering support, making their biggest goals achievable.

Gianna Cianfichi

Gianna Cianfichi

I was incredibly inspired this last December by a young woman named Gianna Cianfichi who attends Santa Rosa High School, the same school I, my grandmother, father, aunts and uncles went to. Gianna, her mother and I shared a conversation at the Ledson Hotel and I was immediately impressed by the accomplishments of this young lady. While in honors classes and maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Gianna is pursuing her ultimate dream of becoming the national champion in rodeo. Her enthusiasm and drive to succeed was evident and I knew she would be the perfect fit for the Harmony Foundation. I loved meeting a young person who enjoyed their passion so much. It is a great joy to me to help her grow and develop in life. I wish every child could have the opportunity Gianna has. I believe that with some hard work and direction, everyone can have a much better life. Sometimes, they just need help realizing it.

I am a self-made man who was lucky to come from a family with the ability to support me. I was able to fulfill all of the dreams I had in the clear blue afternoons of leisurely summer days. I care so much about making a difference in these young people’s lives. I hope my experience is also something I can offer these young, capable people. I want to make sure that these exceptional kids are given, at the very least, an opportunity at realizing their ultimate dreams.

So, I would like to introduce Gianna and her blog about the journey of becoming the national champion in rodeo.  She is a brilliant young woman and I hope you enjoy reading about her endeavors as much as I do.

Gianna’s Story:

Hi! I’m Gianna Cianfichi and the Ledson Harmony Foundation has recently sponsored me for High School Rodeo. Thank you Ledson! I have been in competitive rodeo for the past 3 years and have qualified for the Junior Rodeo National Finals the past two years. Last year, my horse Boomer and I were in the national top twenty in pole bending. As a freshman at Santa Rosa High School, this is my first year competing at the high school level and I am excited to be among such strong opponents. We are about half way through the regular season of eight, two-day rodeos.  I compete in all six events for women: barrel racing, cutting, pole bending, goat tying, team roping and breakaway roping. In each event, the top five competitors qualify for the California State Finals.  California is divided into nine districts, each contributing their top five to the State finals.

My most recent rodeo was held in District 2, which is my home ground. Leading up to this rodeo I had a lot to focus on.  Besides doing well in school and staying healthy, my main concentrations in practice were to better my consistency in goats and tighten my two end poles in pole bending. I feel I did very well overall and that all the practice paid off.  I was unofficially first in both goats and pole bending for the rodeo.  These two wins improved my seasons rankings and I moved up two or three slots, placing me third overall in both. However, I know things can change quickly in rodeo and I need to stay focused and consistent.

Rodeo is my passion. I love my four horses very much, and the high expectations I hold myself to, I also hold my horses. This year I’m shooting to make it to State finals in all six events.  Even though it’s my first year at the high school level, I am setting myself up so I am a hardy challenger in the state all-around. I look forward to sharing the results of my next rodeo.  Thank you in advance for your support!

 

2005 Orlando Cepeda Zinfandel “Baby Bull”: A Bottle Etched with Admiration

I’ve been a baseball fan since I was a kid, and have been a BIG Giants fan. I had the good fortune of producing a wine with Orlando Cepeda “Baby Bull” to raise funds for the Ledson Harmony Foundation for Children. All funds from the sale of every bottle of this wine goes directly to the foundation. With my ongoing faith that the Giants would soon return to a World Series, I held back some cases of this wine for such an occasion!

I gave away my series dugout seats to one of my valued employees for the first game of the series. As much as I would have liked to go to the game myself, I was finishing up harvest, have a new baby, and my wife was tempting me to stay home with a fabulous meal of butternut squash soup, mushroom, veal & spinach raviolis, and tri-tip as a finale.

And to top it off, I opened a very special bottle of 2005 Orlando Cepeda Zinfandel “Baby Bull.” As I was sipping away, the Giants fittingly won the game, 8-3 over the Detroit Tigers.

Throughout the evening, I was thinking a lot about our American baseball hero, Orlando Cepeda, and how he stepped up to the plate to collaborate with the Ledson Harmony Foundation. We produced this wine to support the Foundation, which strives to make a difference in the future of America, our children.

It was a great day when Orlando came to Ledson Winery for the release of this Zinfandel, signing baseballs and commemorative bottles of wine. Later that evening, we honored him with an intimate dinner among friends and family. Not only is Orlando a Hall of Fame recipient, he is a dedicated humanitarian who has donated hundreds of hours of his personal time to various charitable causes.

The “Baby Bull” wine is a soft yet mature delicate Zin. It reminds me of Orlando’s hands- reputed to be some of the softest ever in baseball. More than that, it’s a keepsake bottle for every Giants fan to proudly display. And these etched bottles will make great Christmas presents to those Giants fans out there!

In addition to the hours of pleasure “Baby Bull” #30 gave me watching him on the baseball field over the years, I’m grateful beyond words to Orlando for giving his time and lending his name to this wine that is helping to change the lives of so many children. It’s all about the kids.

And Go Giants!