Our Laguna: 'Most successful Grapes for Grads' yet

April 28, 2011|By Barbara Diamond
  • Mayor Toni Iseman and Linda Saville, current president of Rotary Club of Laguna, celebrate the club's 80th birthday.
Mayor Toni Iseman and Linda Saville, current president…

Many a glass was raised at the sixth annual Grapes for Grads, hosted by Rotary Club of Laguna Beach, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

The wine tasting/birthday bash, held April 17 at Tivoli Too, raised funds for scholarships for Laguna Beach High School graduates and students attending the Laguna College of Art & Design.

"Grapes for Grads is a good fit with Rotary," said Bank of America Vice President Jeff Redeker, who co-chaired the event with Stephen Dotorotos.

Rotary, which jointly sponsored the previous fundraisers with the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, became the sole host this year.

Laguna's Rotary Club was founded in 1931 by 12 local business men. The club now has 54 men and women actively supporting the international organization's goals. They meet Fridays at the Aliso Creek Inn.

President Linda Saville attended the fundraiser and helped Mayor Toni Iseman cut the birthday cake for the event at Montage Resort & Spa.


"We were thrilled with the event," Saville said. "It exceeded our expectations in turnout and the number of wineries that supported us. We had to squeeze them in, but that added to the excitement. It was our most successful Grapes for Grads to date."

And the weather was perfect for the event, if a little chilly for the folks who were dressed for the hot temperatures of the previous day.

"Cooler weather is better for the wine," said Peter Jones, formerly the wine meister at Pavilions in North Laguna and a member of the event committee.

More than 80 wineries participated this year, including Zonin, which supplies the Italian sparkling wine Prosecco to Harry's in Venice, Italy, where Bellinis were invented.

Bellinis are a mixture of Prosecco and peach juice instead of orange juice and champagne like a mimosa.

Grapes for Grades is the brainchild of Redeker and Tom Simpson, started in 2005, when both were on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The first event was so much fun and so successful, the founders decided to make it an annual event.

As the event grew, so did the funds raised for scholarships.

"We netted about $15,000 this year, all of it going to scholarships," Redeker said. "We focus on students who show excellence in academics or at and a strong commitment to community and who may otherwise lack the resources for the very best education."

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