Fighting multiple sclerosis with courage and conviction

Two Napa wineries, Reid Family Vineyards and Counter Punch Wines, have created a grassroots effort dedicated to raising awareness and funds to ensure a world free of multiple sclerosis. Their organization, Crush MS, will hold its annual fundraising event on July 30 at Reid Family Vineyards in Napa.

This year’s guests will enjoy music from local musicians and sample wines from some of the area’s finest vintners, including Silver Oak, Twomey, JCB, Dry Creek Vineyard, Cairdean, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, Cakebread, Humanitas, Page, Olivia Brion, Crane Family Vineyards, Counterpunch Wines, Trahan Winery, Fontanella, Reid Family Vineyards, Titus, ZD Wines and more.

Local restaurants and caterers will provide tasty bites, and a raffle and silent auction will be included.

“Julie and I both have MS, and we felt that although there are many good causes supported here in the valley, MS did not have much of a voice,” said Kevin Reid, co-founder of Crush MS and co-owner of Reid Family Vineyards.

“Since starting Crush MS, we’ve witnessed a wonderful outpouring of community support, and from the feedback of those involved we’ve learned that these efforts have had a positive impact on many people touched by MS, directly or indirectly, many of those expressing that they feel less alone by just finding so many supportive and understanding people within their own community.”

According to Reid, MS affects more than 2.4 million people worldwide and over 400,000 in this country alone. The disease causes the body’s immune system to turn against its own nervous system. The cause of the disease remains unknown, and there is currently no cure.

“Beyond building a community, we are also a fundraising organization with the goal of finding a cure for the disease,” said Julie Hare, co-founder of Crush MS and co-owner of Counter Punch Wines. “The proceeds from our event go to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and MS research at Stanford University.”

“The community feeling, togetherness and cohesiveness at last year’s Crush MS was so full of love and support I felt moved to tears,” said Dr. Jeffrey Dunn a professor of clinical neurology, and division chief of clinical neuroimmunology at Stanford Healthcare and Stanford University School of Medicine. Dunn is also actively involved in the newly opened Comprehensive MS Center at the Stanford Neuroscience Health Center and conducts MS research.

“Crush MS is the foundational source of funding for our Project ATREVO (derived from the Greek ‘cure’ and Spanish ‘dare’), our translational research project to find the cause and cure of MS,” Dunn said. “Stanford is taking a unique and unprecedented approach to researching the disease. Because MS is unique to humans, finding the cause and cure will be found in the men and women living with it. This demands having infrastructure in place that begins at bedside rather than at a laboratory bench, and Crush MS is vital to our collective journey to find the cause and cure of multiple sclerosis.”

Helping build community and finding a cure for those affected by MS are part of the mission of Crush MS, but their impact goes beyond, not only providing a needed resource for those affected by the disease but also for those wanting to support such efforts.


“The outpouring of support from locals has been wonderful,” Hare said. “This year, we have nearly 20 amazing wineries that will pour wine at the event. But we also have the support of other local businesses, too, such as Demptos Cooperage, restaurants and musicians.”

Two of the wines guests may be lucky enough to sip include Kyla’s Cuvée ($38 a bottle) from Reid Family Vineyards and the Counter Punch Petite Sirah ($40 a bottle).

Kyla’s Cuvée is made from a blend of chardonnay and viognier and is named after the Reids’daughter, Kyla Stenberg. The wine is bright in the glass with aromatics of beeswax and citronella mingling with jasmine blossoms. In the mouth the wine is unctuous with flavors of dried white peach, apple and cardamon.

The Petite Sirah is a dark, deep purple. The aromatics are of blackberry cobbler, tarragon and sandalwood. In the mouth the wine has pleasantly grippy tannins and flavors of molasses, roasted almonds and baked blueberries.

The founders of MS Crush, along with their families and friends, look forward to spending the day with a group of like-minded people, all intent on supporting each other and enjoying every moment to the fullest.

As Reid explained, “The events bring together hundreds of people, with everyone having a fun time, eating and sipping wine, listening to music, sharing stories and supporting a worthy cause.”

Advance tickets are $80 and are available at Special discounts are available, and a limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $100 per person. Reid Family Vineyards is at 1020 Borrette Lane in Napa.


Originally published in the Napa Register, July 2016