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Monarch butterflies are in drastic decline and habitat loss is the number one cause. You can make a direct difference. For every bottle of Merlot sold, Coffee Pot Cellars funds Blossom Meadow Farm to grow a butterfly milkweed plant (Asclepias tuberosa) and will work with non-profits and institutions to plant and restore monarch butterfly habitat throughout Long Island in June of each year. For 2019, we are working with Mattituck/Cutchogue Girl Scout Troop 1291 earning their Bronze Awards, Deer Park Girl Scout Troop 1988 earning their Silver Awards, the Teen Department at Sayville Library, Patchogue Library, and Patchogue Community Garden.
Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) plays a critical role in the monarch life cycle as they are the only plants that serve as food for newly hatched caterpillars. In fact, the monarch population has declined by >80% within the last two decades. Scientists estimate that over 1.3 billion stems of milkweed (Asclepias spp.) will need to be restored for the species to bounce back (reference: Environ. Res. Lett. 12 (2017) 074005). Each caterpillar needs the sustenance of half to a full plant to turn into a butterfly so this project is bound to make a conservation difference. Over 1,200 bottles of Merlot have been sold since August 2018 and that translates to over 1,200 butterfly milkweed plants (i.e., a lot of monarch caterpillar food).
In an effort to reconnect people with nature, monarch caterpillars happily munching away on milkweed and chrysalises of monarchs waiting to emerge as butterflies are prominently displayed at the Coffee Pot Cellars Tasting Room during the months of July, August, and September. Also in the tasting room is a human-sized monarch butterfly painted on the wall by famed artist Kara Hoblin so you can pose with your bottle of Merlot while looking like the butterfly you are helping. Eleven-year-old pug Beasley, who is a local celebrity in his own right, wears monarch butterfly wings every day at the tasting room to show his support of the project and there is a chalkboard with the forever changing tally of merlot bottles purchased as part of the "Merlot for Monarchs" campaign. To follow along on social media, search the hashtag #MerlotforMonarchs.