It was the day before I was scheduled to leave for a vacation. We were finishing up our annual Fairy Winterland extravaganza, and to be perfectly honest, it hadn’t been a stellar day. Santa had laryngitis. The battery had died on the Jolly Trolly, our most popular ride. Our featured entertainer’s car key had broken off in the ignition, and it wasn’t entirely certain that he’d make it to the park by showtime.

And then, just when things were looking especially un-Christmas-y, we received a package in the mail.

I opened it, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a beautiful bottle of 2005 Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee sparkling wine. The first vintage of this Sonoma bubbly had been served in 1987 to the King and Queen of Spain; the vintage I now held in my hands had been named one of the top 100 wines of 2013 by the San Francisco Chronicle.

“The wines of Gloria Ferrer are made for those times when everything just comes together,” says the winery’s website. Until right then, this particular day had not been one of those times. But now a gift from people I didn’t know, who nonetheless wanted to thank me for my “dedication and heartfelt work,” changed everything.

Someone at Gloria Ferrer had read about me in a Chronicle article published in early December about Bay Area women leaders. The story struck a chord with a company that dates back to the 1500s.

A letter accompanied the bottle, and in it I read the story of Dolores Ferrer-Sala, a founder of the winery and a member of a prominent, generations-old Spanish wine family. After losing her husband and 18-year-old son in the Spanish Civil War, Dolores took the helm of the winery with her three teenage daughters and a very young son, and launched Freixenet, which grew to become the world’s largest producer of “methode champenoise” sparkling wines.

Half a century later, Dolores’ youngest son, Jose, fulfilled his late father’s dream of an American sparkling-wine business. Jose built the winery in the heart of Sonoma wine country and named it for his wife, Gloria.

Their story is one of “courageous women who have braved challenges to make a difference for their families and communities,” the letter said. “We are women who take pride in helping our neighbors and in creating a family for all our employees with an eye on continuity and long-term sustainability.”

The letter concluded: “We invite you to raise a glass of this Royal Cuvee with family and friends in a toast acknowledging the importance of your contribution that led to this honor, and what it means to our community.”

I accepted the invitation, and decided to share my bottle with Team Fairyland — most of whose members do happen to be women — because, frankly, I couldn’t be a leader, or accomplish any of the great things we do, without their support, dedication, talent and heart. In 2013, we’re proud to say we’ve touched many thousands of our community’s most at-risk kids, offering them a safe place to create, imagine, play and learn.

The Ferrer website says about the superior quality of its sparkling wines: “It’s a difference you can see in the tiny bubble trails.” Here at Fairyland we’re familiar with a different kind of bubble trails: the ones run by little ones as they attempt to catch the bubbles made by our elf in the middle of the park. But we could get used to those tiny sparkling-wine bubbles pretty quick.

Thank you, Gloria Ferrer, for your great-tasting sparkling wine, and for your commitment to more than just the fruits of the vine. And Happy New Year from all of us at Children’s Fairyland!

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