Ron Rubin: Saving Lives Through Wine Philanthropy


Most wineries partake in wine philanthropy, but some go above and beyond the call of duty. In my experience, I found most give a percentage of their proceeds from a particular wine to their favorite charity, but one winery Ron Rubin Winery in the Russian River Valley does something very unique. They donate defibrillators to other wineries.

Ron Rubin

In 2009 Ron Rubin turned 60 years old. He was about to run his eighth marathon. While in training for the marathon, Ron decided to take a long run when his whole body suddenly felt like it fell asleep. It was a strange sensation. It seemed as if he were kicked in the chest by a horse. Ron experienced a sudden cardiac arrest, a life-threatening emergency. He was not breathing. He was lucky because his son, who was with him, called for help.

The use of CPR and the defibrillator’s shock brought his rapid heartbeat back to a normal rhythm. Ron had experienced an abnormal spike causing the sudden onset of ventricular tachycardia. That shock saved his life, giving him time to get to the hospital where he had a heart procedure to install an implantable cardio defibrillator, ICD.

Ron Rubin © Ron Rubin Winery
Ron Rubin. Photo Courtesy Ron Rubin Winery

Wine Philanthropy

Knowing there are 356,000 incidences of cardiac arrest each year, this episode got Ron thinking, what if this happened at a winery. Some wineries are off the beaten path, and a paramedic would not get to the winery in time to save a life. Part of his beliefs in sustainability includes taking care of both our planet its population.

Ron decided to help save lives by installing a defibrillator into his winery. At the same time, he wanted to help other wineries save lives and prepare for this type of emergency. Through his wine philanthropy, Ron now donates defibrillators, the Zoll AED Plus. to other wineries. He, therefore, created the Trained for “Saving Lives” program, which provides automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to California wineries. Ron is fulfilling his vision to create a winery experience safer for both visitors and employees.

To accomplish his goal, Ron works with the Red Cross, where each winery must undergo training their staff. The only money the winery has to expend is for the Red Cross training. The training costs $360 to train six people. The defibrillator costs around $1700. It is well worth the price for Ron, especially considering climate change and those visiting wineries in extreme heat, causing dehydration.

When I last spoke with Ron, he had 282 wineries signed up and 1600 trained individuals, winery staff. Click here for a list of winery participants.

Wine Philanthropy and California Wineries

Zoll Defibrillator
Zoll Defibrillator. Photo Courtesy Ron Rubin Winery

If you are a California winery reading this article and are interested in seeing if you qualify for an onsite defibrillator at your winery, please contact Ron Rubin.

About Ron Rubin Winery

Ron Rubin’s family business was wholesaling wine and liquor distribution in Illinois. After Ron sold the company in 1994, he purchased the Republic of Tea, which his son now runs. During all this time, Ron always had a dream to one day own his winery. Ron studied viticulture and enology at UC Davis, but with the family businesses that was not in the cards until 2011, when he purchased his winery in the southern part of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, known as Green Valley.

Ron’s winery is a bit different than most because Ron’s interest in Fung Shui plays a part in the function of the winery. Ron felt the concepts of Feng Shui fit into the making of a good winery. Feng Shui is about productivity and the flow of energy in the environment. Utilizing the elements creates a quiet, clean, and organized workplace, improves productivity, and promotes sustainability. He hired an architect and a Feng Shui consultant from Chicago to design his winery.

To learn more about Ron Rubin Winery and Feng Shui, read my article Ron Rubin Winery: An Adventure in Feng Shui Design.

Ron Rubin Pinot Noir.

In the past, I have sampled several of the Ron Rubin wines, including the 2017 Pinot Noir. This year I sampled the 2018 Pinot Noir.

Ron Rubin 2018 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley: The location of Ron Rubin’s vineyards allows for longer hanging time, 15 – 20% longer compared to neighboring areas. This is dues to the valley’s morning fog and cool coastal breezes from the Pacific Ocean. The result is a Pinot Noir that retains bright acidity.

The grapes are hand-picked, sorted, and destemmed. After fermentation, the wine aged in French oak, 20% new for ten months. This results in a very approachable wine.

I found a classic Pinot Noir that is not overbearing yet fruity and light in body. On the nose, discover cherry and cranberry aromas, while on the palate, the wine exhibited bright acidity with flavors of bright cherry, cranberry, and hints of spice.

Ron Rubin Pinot Noir
Ron Rubin Pinot Noir

Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer received a hosted wine sample. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.

Featured photo courtesy of Ron Rubin Winery.