Donor Spotlight: Pride Mountain Vineyards - - Donor Spotlight: Pride Mountain Vineyards -

Donor Spotlight: Pride Mountain Vineyards

A Glass of Chardonnay that Sparked a Lifelong Partnership: Pride Mountain Vineyards and Emeril Lagasse Foundation

In the world of wine and philanthropy, some connections are forged serendipitously. This is the story of Suzanne Pride Bryan, co-owner of Pride Mountain Vineyards, and her family’s relationship with Emeril Lagasse Foundation. It all began with an unexpected encounter in a Chicago restaurant around 1993, where Suzanne’s father, Jim Pride, and Chef Emeril Lagasse first crossed paths. “My father was dining at the same restaurant as Chef Emeril. He had a bottle of our first vintage chardonnay on the table. Emeril asked the waiter about it, and my father sent over a glass to Emeril’s table,” Suzanne recalls. This chance meeting, unbeknownst to Suzanne at the time, laid the groundwork for a partnership that would span decades.

Fast forward to 2005, when Pride Mountain Vineyards participated for the first time at Carnivale du Vin, a gala benefiting Emeril Lagasse Foundation. It was there that Suzanne met Chef Emeril and learned of the encounter that had occurred years before. This revelation was a touching moment, especially as Suzanne reflected on her late father’s legacy and the impact of that single glass of chardonnay.

Emeril Lagasse Foundation, known for its mission to create opportunities to inspire, mentor and enable youth to reach their full potential, has found a steadfast supporter in Suzanne and Pride Mountain Vineyards. Suzanne’s passion for the Foundation’s work is evident as a board member. She recounts the impact of the programs it supports, such as Café Reconcile and Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen. “I remember hearing about a student who grew broccoli at school and was ecstatic to bring it home to share with her mom, because they never had fresh vegetables on their table.  It’s stories like these that demonstrate the foundation’s profound impact on children’s lives,” she notes.

“When talking about philanthropy, they say we can give of our time, treasure, talent and tribe,” Suzanne says.  “It’s rewarding to contribute time by helping through service.  And treasure is shared through monetary donations.  The talent comes from our wonderful winemaking team and the wines we produce. And the tribe is all of us; our collective community.  This world needs more than ever to band together out of kindness, love and support, with an eye to the future, this planet, and our children, and to make a difference.”

Suzanne believes the breadth of the Foundation’s work is impressive, with programs spanning across the nation. She highlights the importance of fundraising events, not only for their role in supporting the Foundation’s mission but also for the unique experiences they offer to participants.

“From black-tie galas in New Orleans, to barbecues and fishing tournaments in Florida, these events are not just fundraisers; they’re opportunities to make a difference while having a great time,” she explains.

Pride Mountain Vineyards was founded in 1989 by Jim and Carolyn Pride. With retirement approaching, the couple decided that having a little vineyard and selling grapes to local wineries would be perfect. Neither of them ever dreamed this idea would turn into a world-class winery now operated by the second generation with the third generation learning the ropes. They are deeply committed to supporting the work of Emeril Lagasse Foundation, which could not be more grateful for the time and talent this family winery has provided over the years.

“It’s about more than just donating wine; it’s about being part of a community that’s dedicated to making a positive impact on the world,” says Suzanne. “It always feels good to be part of the solution.”

Thank you Suzanne and Pride Mountain Vineyards for all you have given to support the Foundation. To learn more about Pride, the incredible wines, and Jim and Carolyn Pride’s story, visit