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Call It Twine? Twitter Makes Wine for Charity

Call It Twine? Twitter Makes Wine for Charity

Michelle Locke | Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO-Everyone likes a wine with character. How about one with 140 of them?

Yes, the people at Twitter _ the social media site on which users post messages no longer than 140 characters _ are getting into the wine business, putting together an ambitious project aimed at raising money for literacy.

While others have used Twitter to raise money for or attention to various issues, the project, which launches Thursday, is the first official attempt by Twitter as a company to raise money for a cause, said Twitter spokeswoman Jenna Sampson.

Based on the popularity of wine and all things Twitter, organizers predict this will be the largest online wine project to date.

“It’s definitely an experiment,” said Michael Brill, president and CEO of Crushpad, the winery teaming with Twitter and the pro-literacy group Room to Read.

The project began after a few Twitter employees got involved with Crushpad, a facility that allows enthusiasts to create their own barrels of wine without having to own a vineyard. Crushpad, which like Twitter and Room to Read is based in San Francisco, provides grapes, equipment, expertise, storage and bottling. Clients get as involved as they want to, checking in on their wines physically or through Internet messages and videos.

At first, the plan was for Twitter to make some wine as an employee team-building activity, says Sampson. But after someone brought up Room to Read, which works to establish libraries and schools in developing countries, it decided to go bigger.

“It became apparent pretty quickly that we could probably create a wine, great wine, sell it for a relatively low price and take some chunk of the proceeds and send it to Room to Read,” Brill said.

Just how big the project can get is still up in the air.