Lodi winery to release ‘Going Viral’ merlot to benefit coronavirus research

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Michael David Winery co-owner Michael Phillips says they had to adapt curbside pickup after temporarily shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“It’s not as good as what it used to be, you know? We used to have the whole parking lot full of cars on the weekends and now we got a short line at best coming through right now,” Phillips said. 

But now, the well-known Lodi winery is “going viral.”

This weekend, Michael David Winery plans to release a brand new merlot that not only honors Phillips’ daughter but will also help fund coronavirus research. 

“This wine, which is a family vineyard merlot, is actually from the property my grandmother grew up on,” Phillips told FOX40.

Phillips’ daughter is an assistant professor of biomolecular engineering with expertise in virology and vaccine development, at UC Santa Cruz. She is currently working with a team of scientists to develop diagnostic testing to detect COVID-19. 

“Potentially, it could be a major impact,” Phillips said. 

The new merlot, named Going Viral, initially had nothing to do with the coronavirus. The name was trademarked more than a year ago.

“I promised her that I would make a wine for her at some point and, and we used one of her crystal structures of a virus that she discovered as the main part of the label,” Phillips said.

Going Viral is expected to be ready for order and curbside pickup this weekend. 

“This is the right cause for the right reason and this is what we’re going to start doing,” Phillips said. “I’ve tasted a bottle and it’s tasting wonderful.”

All of the profits from each bottle sold will go toward his daughter’s coronavirus research at UC Santa Cruz. 

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