Message on the Bottle Says Support Manatees!

For further information, contact:

Janice Nearing,
Director of Public Relations
Save the Manatee Club
Phone: (407) 539-0990
E-mail: jnearing@

Christian Garvin
Oreana Wine Company
Phone: (805) 689-5016

For Immediate Release:
March 27, 2007

You may have already heard it through the grapevine:  A California winery is helping the Florida manatee.

Oreana Wine Company, based in Santa Barbara, California, and Save the Manatee Club have joined forces in a new effort to raise awareness about manatees, a federally endangered species, with the wine “Manatee Merlot.”  Although more than a few miles separate these two states, and you won’t find a single wild manatee in California, the connection here is about caring for a species in need. 

The winery is offering “Manatee Merlot” as a limited-edition collectible, with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bottle donated to Save the Manatee Club, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect manatees and their aquatic habitat for future generations. Down the road, the winery plans to also offer “Manatee Chardonnay.”  Manatee Merlot is presently available in all Florida Costco locations and can also be ordered directly from the winery. 
Although Florida manatees and California wines may seem an unlikely combination to some, Christian Garvin, winemaker and owner of Oreana Winery, is a long-time manatee advocate who wanted to give something back. “One of our goals in producing this new brand of wine is to make and promote a product to raise money for Save the Manatee Club’s conservation and education programs, and to bring attention to the many challenges that face the future survival of this gentle animal,” said Garvin.

Patrick Rose, the Club’s executive director, appreciates the winery’s help. “One thousand people each day move to Florida and 85 million tourists visit the state each year from all over the globe, so it is critical for us to have help from diverse members of the business community in getting our conservation message out to all segments of the public.”

Each bottle of “Manatee Merlot” sports a label featuring a manatee illustration by renowned Florida artist, Sherry Vintson, and includes educational information on manatees, and Save the Manatee Club’s contact information. 

The Oreana Winery sources its grapes from top vineyards in the renowned Santa Ynez Valley and throughout California. Its production facilities and retail tasting room – which will also carry “Manatee Merlot” – are in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. To find out more about “Manatee Merlot,” visit where the wine can also be ordered directly from the winery. 

Save the Manatee Club was established in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former U.S. senator and Florida governor, Bob Graham. Manatees are endangered due to human activity. The largest known cause of manatee mortality is from collisions with boats. Underlying all causes of mortality is the loss of their aquatic habitat to coastal development. 


Return to the Manatee News page