DuBOIS — A team of people making dreams come true gathered at the Winery at Wilcox in the DuBois Mall last week to celebrate a partnership shooting for success.
The newly released “Dreamsicle” wine at WAW will give $1.50 of the price of each bottle sold to the DuBois Dream.
The DuBois Dream is a minor league basketball organization that gives back to the community through doing what they love — playing basketball.
Albert Varacallo III said it all started in honor of his father, Dr. Albert Varacallo — who was killed in a bicycle accident in 2010 — and his foundation, the Dr. Albert Varacallo Foundation. It has since grown to shoot for many causes.
The Dream does a lot with local youth and gives back to organizations such as Caring and Sharing for Kids, Grady’s Decision and the Arc of Jefferson and Clearfield Counties.
“Each year, we pick causes to play for,” he said. “I thought, ‘Why not spread the word about good causes while we play?’”
Varacallo has started a DuBois Dream AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball program, which has 130 children currently participating, he said. He hopes to generate sufficient funds to build a gym in the area to help house it and similar programs.
“I’m really appreciative of them teaming up and supporting us,” Varacallo said of the winery. “They are taking what we do to an all-new level.”
WAW Owner Jamie Williams said the Dreamsicle wine is already sold out at The Winery at Hunters Valley in Ohio.
A $168 check was presented to Varacallo already at the premiere of the Dreamsicle wine on July 5, which was held at the WAW in the DuBois Mall. Friends and fans showed up to buy a bottle and show their support for the Dream. The orange Dreamsicle label will be remade to include the DuBois Dream logo.
Through the winery business, they have raised money for several outlets, such as the hospital, fire departments and breast cancer awareness, Jamie said. Each year, they design and dedicate a special bottle to a certain cause they care about.
The first year, the pink bottle called “Hope Whispers,” sold to benefit those suffering breast cancer, raised thousands of dollars, and was an inspiration to keep the fundraiser going, Jamie said.
Jamie’s son plays basketball and is also a coach himself, so the Dream was a cause he could get excited about. It’s also rewarding to give back to an organization that gives back itself, he said.
Founder Mike Williams said from the time he was 14 years old, his father taught him to give back to the community. Since then, he and his wife, Carol, and son, Jamie, have been able to do that through the wine business.
“Money has never been the object,” Mike said. “If you can help someone, you should. I have always been like that — it’s become a way of life.”
The Winery at Wilcox went from being the newest winery in Pennsylvania to one of the top five in the last five years, Mike said. They were number one on the “Pennsylvania producers that made the most wine in 2016” list at www.pennlive.com.
They try to help other organizations, wineries and people, such as parolees who aren’t able to find a job, Mike said. It’s important to give people a chance to learn and better themselves.
“When you have that support, you have the opportunity to do what’s right, so we do,” he said. “There are so many opportunities to help people, and it’s the least we can do.”