Chicagoans create wine charms for Oscars gift bags

February 21, 2013 10:33:26 AM PST
Celebrity presenters will receive swag bags on Oscar Sunday, which will include wine charms made at the Autism Therapeutic School in Tinley Park.

Kelly Anne Ohde is micro enterprise coordinator at the school, which is part of the Easter Seals program.

"A wine charm is placed onto a wine bottle, and it [acts as a] drip collar. You can put the cork or cap on the wine charm. They're made with Swarovski crystals and each wine charm can be customized with a saying that you like," Ohde said.

It's called The Wine Steward. Making these charms is a 30-step process.

"I'd say from start to finish, a whole charm probably takes anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes depending on the individual," Ohde said.

For the past two years, Easter Seals has been creating The Wine Steward.

"For three weeks we trained the Seals we had occupational therapists come in to figure out different ways to hold the charms," Marge McConville, owner of Wine Steward, said.

They produce several hundred charms a month.

"I'm proud of the kids. I'll get a call and they'll say, 'OK, we have 300 charms ready.' And they just keep working on it," McConville said.

Seventy of the wine charms are for the Oscars swag bags to promote autism awareness and Easter Seals.

"It was an amazing experience for all of us, especially the students and clients who work on the project many of them very much associate with movies, actors actresses," Ohde said.

Two lucky workers, 19-year olds Dylan and Ronnie, are going to the Oscars. They're hoping to see their favorites.

"Woody Harrelson, Robert Downy Jr., Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dakota Fanning," Dylan said.

Ronnie's also a Schwarzenegger fan.

"I always impersonated him and did his voices," Ronnie said.

A PSA promoting Easter Seals will air during the Oscars. To order your own Wine Steward or find out about Easter Seals and autism, visit and