Swirl, sniff and sip is normally what you think of doing when it comes to a wine tasting. At La Verne’s Wine Walk on Friday in the downtown district, there was more than just the usual reds and whites to indulge. It was a moment for friends near and far to gather and enjoy the sun, music and vibes, along with your occasional sip of delicious wine and delectable savory food.
The event was centered right in the heart of the historic district. This allowed people to experience the beauty of the local businesses and the improvements that the Old Town La Verne Business Association has made to make the downtown area look inviting to the community.
In the past, the proceeds from events like this have gone to help put lights on the trees in the downtown district area, as well as donations of money to the city to help build the new fountain in Mainiero Square and various other improvements.
This year the event encompassed 27 businesses that offered wines paired with food samples from restaurants in the surrounding area. The La Verne Wine Walk spanned from Bonita Ave down to D Street. The cost of a ticket is $55 and included a commemorative wine glass and 12 tickets to sample 12 different wines. They also offered a designated driver ticket for $25, allowing you to enjoy the foods and festivities and skip the wine for safety.
“All the wines are purchased by the association so they can control the quality,” Craig Walters, chair of the Old Town La Verne Group, said. “The wines are imported from Spain, Italy, Argentina and domestic wines from Napa Valley and Paso Robles. It’s really international in nature, we try to be very diverse. We have over 40 wineries represented here today.”
The event, which expected 1000 people, did not disappoint with the many musical entertainment options. Guests had several stops to enjoy while they danced, drank and ate.
One band that had everyone going until the end of the night was JTD Motown Band, a group of three brothers that play soulful hits. This band really set the tone for an outdoor pre-summer event. Other local musical artists included Soundwave, Brant Cotton Band, Masomenos and Harmony Sisters, just to name a few.
“The music is fantastic, the wine is delicious, the food is free and I’m having a blast. There’s a lot to do,” Javier Brown, resident of Upland, said.
Micky’s Jewelry Studio was paired with Fourth Street Mill who served a sample of a white pasta, and The Corner Butcher Shop who served pulled pork topped with coleslaw, and your choice of a wine sample.
The moment was not just fun, food and drinks, it was really an opportunity for the businesses to tug at the hearts of the locals, as part of the proceeds of the wine walk were being donated to charity and downtown improvements.
“We always donate a portion of the proceeds to charity. This year is San Dimas La Verne Soroptimist Club,” Micky Rehm, owner of Micky’s Jewelry Studio and chair of Wine Walk , said.
The Soroptimist International of San Dimas La Verne is an international Businesswomen’s organization that helps women and girls from all around the world live their dreams through education.
“Soroptimist has international programs in Papua New Guinea to help with birthing centers, Thailand for women that have been trafficked, clean water programs in Africa and a sister program in Kenya that help pay for girls to go to school, and a sister club in Japan that were wonderful when 9/11 happened,” Karen Zubiate-Beachamp, member of the Soroptimist club, said.
This organization has been in the area for 35 years, the Soroptimist Club meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month and encourages people to come and be part of the organization. As they participated in the wine walk this year, 11 of their members worked hard to help check in and guide people to the fun.
Traveling friends Kimberly Jenkins, University of La Verne alumna, and Adam Hampton, Rancho Cucamonga resident, were happy to support La Verne this year.
“The only thing I would recommend is closing down the main street, giving it more freedom to roam, mix and mingle and not have to worry about the cars,” Jenkins said. “Knowing where you can and can’t carry your alcohol. But, overall, it’s been a beautiful evening.”
For other upcoming events, visit oldtownlaverne.org.
Brandi Peters can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.