Vineland to Haiti – A Winemaker’s Mission

I first met Brian Schmidt, who is the Winemaker at Vineland Estates Winery after I saw an inviting post on Instagram. He graciously asked anyone in the area to drop by and taste freshly pressed Riesling, an offer I couldn’t refuse!  Not only did we sample the sweet nectar that day, we were invited to stay for lunch with the hardworking crew and got an insider’s view of a Riesling harvest.  As we were saying our goodbyes after an amazing experience with even better people, Brian hugged me and said, ‘we are family now’.
That statement is Vineland Estates Winery in a nutshell, they’re family and you’re family as soon as you step through the doors.

 

winemakers-lunch
Well, I haven’t forgotten those words and what family means to me is supporting each other. Through this blog, I am supporting Brian’s request to the wine lovers community to help fund the building of a home in Haiti, which costs $7,000.  ANY gift is most appreciated.  Here’s more about Brian’s involvement in rebuilding Haiti through his very own pictures.

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” ~ Muhammad Ali
Brian has been involved with the Haiti Mission Inc. based out of Louisiana since 2012. He was one of the chaperones for a group of kids (including his son Conner) who went to Haiti on their first mission in 2013.
haiti-student-group-pic-2013
They raised a whopping $25,000 to distribute amongst the various initiatives which included:

  • 9 schools built & maintained (before hurricane Matthew);
  • 500 students fed on a daily basis;
  • 28 wells drilled;
  • 100 homes built;
  • funding orphanages

Tragically, Haiti was struck yet again by a natural disaster on October 4, 2016.  Hurricane Matthew destroyed 100,000 homes and killed over one thousand people.  The town of Jeremie and surrounding areas were in the direct path of the hurricane and sustained the most damage.  This is where the Haiti Mission efforts have been focused and where Brian traveled to this past December.  At that time, Jeremie still didn’t have power…more than 2 MONTHS and no electricity!

Hurricane Matthew swept through Haiti in a matter of hours and created a catastrophe that will take the country years to recover from.

Destroyed Home

A home completely destroyed.

Life is anything but normal.  In order to re-build, large stones are broken-up.  Two guys do this all day and it’s over 30 degrees!

Haitian Baby
Nowhere else for this baby to sleep except on the concrete in an abandoned school.
‘This KILLED me’ ~ Brian Schmidt

But there is ALWAYS hope and eventually…healing.


‘Haiti is a land of perpetual contradictions … A beautiful sun rising over devastation.. A grateful smile surrounded by unimaginable hardship’ ~ Brian Schmidt

 Garden of Hope Helping to rebuild but also being taught how to be self-sustaining; clearing the land to build a garden.
Happiness is a new cell phone or a great bottle of wine.
JOY is not having to walk 20 minutes one way to access fresh, clean water.

haiti-kidsJoy

On May 1st, Brian and his daughter Maddy will be traveling to Haiti to attend the dedication of the 100th home built by Haiti Missions.
Will you help build a home in Haiti?
Contact Brian at bschmidt@vineland.com
or
click the link below to be taken to the Haiti Mission website (US$)
SEND GIFT

What’s next?  Brian is in the process of setting up a non-profit organization so he can continue the amazing relief efforts in Haiti.

Cheers!
~Lianna Carlyle – Falling for Niagara

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