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Three Woodinville wineries are joining forces to bring some holiday cheer to families around King County this season.

Maryhill Winery, Novelty Hill-Januik and JM Cellars are collecting toys during the first annual “Toys for Tastings” from Nov. 22 to Dec. 12. 

The donation drive benefits Toys for Tots, which is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserves. Toys are distributed to children in families of need during Christmastime. 

“This is important, especially during this time of year and COVID-19 really inhibiting a lot of families to spend extra money on their children,” said Mo Shaw, general manager at Novelty Hill-Januik. 

Community members are encouraged to drop off two new, unwrapped toys with a combined value of $30 or more to at least one of the winery locations. Participants who bring in items will receive wine tastings on the house at all three wineries, Shaw said. 

Collyn Scott, tasting room manager at Maryhill Winery, said he first became aware of the Toys for Tots program in elementary school.

“I can look back on this program and recognize moments that participating helped me appreciate what I was blessed to have, and (it) drove a desire in me to give what I could to those not as fortunate as myself,” Scott said.

He continued to volunteer at toy collection and distribution events throughout high school in Southern California, he said. More recently, when the pandemic highlighted need in the Woodinville community, Scott reached out to neighboring wineries to put on the Toys for Tastings drive.

“Collyn has been extremely passionate about Toys for Tots for many years,” Shaw said. “He thought it would be wonderful for us to collaborate and put together Toys for Tastings to create some more momentum while having our guests enjoy a glass of wine.”

The goal is to help alleviate extra stress caused by holiday shopping, Shaw added. According to a news release, the Toys for Tots program distributed over 85,000 toys to about 64,000 children in King County in 2020 alone.

“With people’s generosity within our wine club members and our frequent guests, I think they will want to find ways to participate, especially with children as the benefactors. I feel like it will be a huge success,” Shaw said.

According to the release, Novelty Hill-Januik offers wine tastings daily and appointments are not required. Guests are encouraged to make online reservations to visit JM Cellars, which has tastings rooms in Woodinville and Maltby. No reservations are required at Maryhill Winery, the release states.

“For me, wine is about connection, and it always has been,” Scott said. “Some of the best memories are made over a good bottle and good food, but the connection shouldn’t stop there. As an industry built on making these connections, we should do our best to ensure they are used to benefit the communities that support us as well.”

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