Sea Turtle wines aid aquarium rescue

Coming soon to a wine shop or restaurant in the Charleston area: special-edition Sea Turtle Wines.

Weibel Family Vineyards of Lodi, Calif., and the Sea Turtle Conservancy have joined forces with sea turtle rescue organizations across the country, including at the S.C. Aquarium. The idea is to raise awareness about rescue programs and return a portion of wine sales to those groups.

The varietal blends are labeled “Sea Turtle Reserve Red” and “Sea Turtle Reserve White” and feature illustrations by well-known Florida artist Damien Share. They will sell for about $10 a bottle.

Fred Weibel, winemaker and owner of Weibel Family Vineyards, is a longtime follower of the federally endangered turtles’ plight and wanted to give something back.

“We wanted to bring attention to the many challenges that face the ongoing survival of sea turtles. They are truly amazing and beautiful, and hopefully we can all contribute in one way or another so they will still be around for our future generations to see.”

Kate Dittloff, public relations manager with the aquarium, said she was not sure how much money the wines would generate for the local rescue effort, but the aquarium was “absolutely delighted.” It’s difficult to get funding for a large conservation program, she said, and the one run by the aquarium costs $321,000 a year.

“We’re excited about any support we can get. ... Our turtles are very excited as well.”

Sea Turtle Wines has teamed with Southern Wine & Spirits in South Carolina and will debut in key retail and restaurant locations throughout the state starting later this month.