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Letters to America from the Wine World
Wine brings people together. So does tragedy.

(September 16, 2001) Many who frequent this site have read my interview with Harmon Skurnik, who imports and distributes wine to shops and restaurants in and around New York City. I am relieved to report that Harmon, his brother Michael and all employees of Michael Skurnik Wines are alive and well.

     Following the terrorist attacks last Tuesday, Harmon received several letters of support and sympathy from wine producers in Europe, and with his consent I am reproducing them here

From Germany

    My name is Rainer Lingenfelder. I am a German wine grower and supplier to Michael Skurnik Wines. Harmon kindly passed on the "eyewitness" report to me (amongst others).

     I just wanted to let you know that I was moved by your description of this disastrous crime. Be assured that even in far away (and so far safe) places like Germany we are thinking of you and your neighbors, we feel sympathy for you and pray for you. I was happy to learn that yet two more people close to the Skurniks are safe.

     God bless you, God bless America.

     Rainer Karl Lingenfelder
     Lingenfelder Estate

From Italy

     Dear friends from the United States of America,

     I really feel to write you few words for to tell you how much me, my workers, friends and I'm sure all the Italians are horrified, shocked and disgusted (but there are no word for that fact ) by this criminal terrorism act.

     It is like it has been happen in Italy. I want that you know that all the people of USA are in our heart and prayers. We feel very close to all the USA people.

     No one can destroy the friendship, democracy and the freedom that we have in USA, EUROPA and in all the country of the world where the human life as a value.

     To hit the USA from this terrorism it's like to hit all of us.

     With all my friendship
     Marco Ricasoli F.
     [Rocca di Montegrossi, Chianti]

From France

     This is a message for all MSW staff and all Americans.

     I want you to know our support for you and all Americans... We all are in a state of shock since yesterday, it is unbelievable what is happening to all of us... In that moment of horror, we are all American, we are all citizen of the same democratic world and we all fear as the United States of America is like the "big brother", the one who freed France and Europe from Nazism, the "untouchable"... We are stricken on TV news, on Radio programs day and night, we are all so sad because of this injustice, it hurts so much... the world balance has broken down, what's gonna happen now? "Let's give them a good lesson": this is what all French people think as we have also been victims of such horrible attacks in the past! Whatever USA might decide, French and European politicians will support - according to what we hear -. You know that here the majority is not "pro Bush" - today everyone is expecting much from him... Hoping he will do the right thing... Take care of you...

     SincPres amitis.
    [From a producer in Champagne]

From Austria

     We are all shocked over here and I have to admire your "looking to the future words" in between the lines .

     I wish to you all...the best and lots and lots of strength ... I should extend that wish for strength to New York, for me todays capital of the world .

     By attacking the center of the free world, all the free world has been hit and wounded . We will all have to stand together to give the right answer to whoever responsible for that attack . You would be surprised how strong this opinion can be felt now also in Europe ....this was unfortunately not always the case during the last years or decades.

     Berthold Salomon
     Weingut Salomon, Krems, Austria.

And what can you do?

     You may already know about the United Way September 11th Fund, but I hope that wine people will also consider the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund.

     The late, great restaurant Windows on the World was located on the 106th and 107th stories of the World Trade Center, above where the aircraft hit. For many years, it was a key player in wine education, wine appreciation and the wine business in general. Some of the staff were fortunately elsewhere when the attacks hit, but over 70 are among the missing.

     Michael Skurnik Wines has arranged to collect funds for the bereaved families. According to Harmon Skurnik, all monies will be turned over to David Emil of Windows on the World "for distribution directly to the families. Not a penny will go toward anything else."

     Checks should be made out to "Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund" and donations can be mailed directly to:

Michael Skurnik Wines
575 Underhill Blvd. Suite#216
Syosset, N.Y. 11791
ATT: Lisa Brophy

     If you'd rather give to this worthy fund by credit card, my friend Robin Garr has kindly supplied a page for that purpose on his own Website. Just click here to bring it up. All donations are tax-deductible. Please, be generous.

    Finally, last night on the news, I heard a particularly pleasant additional suggestion, from no less an authority than New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. If you want to help New York City recover and thumb your nose at the terrorists...

     Visit the city soon and spend money. Stay out of the way of the rescue workers, but by all means go to a show or two, dine at the wonderful restaurants and stock up on hard-to-find bottles at Manhattan's terrific wine shops. The entertainment, food and beverage businesses are vital to the New York City economy, and they've taken a big hit. 

     By now, New York has plenty of sympathy and blood donations are pouring in. (I called the Red Cross to find out where I could go to donate blood and was told something to the effect of "Thanks very much, leave your number and we'll call you when we can handle it.") The city's merchants could very much use a cash infusion right now, from tourists like you and me.

     They need your business. You'll have a great time. It's a win-win. And your very presence will tell the world that New York City is back and stronger than ever.

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