WEST LOOP — City Winery vintner Robert Kowal calls his Cousin Vinnie Vino blend "ebullient and lively."
"Sort of like Vinnie's personality," Kowal said.
Kowal created the special blend — 60 percent zinfandel, 27 percent pinot noir, 11 percent syrah and 2 percent cab franc — for a fundraiser benefiting Vinnie Hickey, a City Winery employee and Bridgeport resident who's battling Leukemia.
Casey Cora joins DNAinfo Radio to chat about Cousin Vinnie's Vino:
Two cases of the wine will be auctioned off at the May 13 comedy fundraiser, which takes place at Ricobene's in Bridgeport, 252 W. 26th St.
The West Loop winery already creates custom wine blends and bottle labels, a unique gift for the rockers and artists and wedding parties that pass through the venue. So creating the bottle — which features the Bridgeport comedian rocking a Bridgeport T-shirt — was sort of a natural.
And when Hickey's City Winery colleagues brought him a bottle in the hospital, Hickey posted a picture on Facebook, prompting his pals to ask where they could get more.
"Vinnie's family here," said City Winery manager Greg Kitowicz, who also helped launch an online fundraising site to help Vinnie pay his medical bills.
"It's been so popular that we have had regulars and even some of our artists give. It's been inspiring but we will not rest on our laurels till we can do everything we can to be supportive," Kitowicz said.
The winery is also donating gift cards and VIP concert experiences.
From his room at the University of Illinois Hospital, Hickey, an actor, playwright and comic, said he's overwhelmed by the good vibes that have been sent his way, especially the creation of a wine bottle depicting his likeness.
"I am floored. It was one of the nicest and coolest things ever done for me," he said.
The "Cousin Vinnie" fundraiser is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. May 13 at Ricobene's, 252 W. 26th St. Suggested donation for admission is $10. To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.