They call them wines with a cause. A UC Davis doctor and his wife have turned their winemaking hobby into a growing business.
Doctor Craig and Karen Senders’ converted garage stall is more than a wine cellar, it’s a winemaking cellar. The couple has been dabbling in vino since the late ‘90s. They went commercial and created Senders Wines in 2005.
“Right now we make about 500 cases of wine a year. I’d love to be about 3,000 cases of wine a year,” said Dr. Craig Senders, winemaker and owner of Senders Wines.
“It finally occurred to us, let’s combine them. Let’s take the money that we make from the wine and give it to charities that help kids that have my passion, which are kids with congenital deformities of the face,” he said.
One-hundred percent of the profits from Senders Wines go to surgical outreach organizations. Craig has made dozens of trips to third-world countries, giving people life-changing cleft palate and lip surgeries they cannot get on their own.
“He loves what he does. He loves helping. He’ll say when he gets back from these trips that he’s getting more out of these surgical outreaches than what these kids do,” said Karen Senders.
One in 600 kids in the U.S. is born with cleft palates. Craig fixes those as well, but he says his work overseas takes on a new meaning.
“In America when you work as a surgeon, it’s always contaminated by money and insurance and rules and administrators and all this stuff,” said Craig. “Over there, all those rules are gone. They come in, you’re gonna do your best to take care of that child. And it feels so good.”