La Verne pours it up at Wine Walk

Sandra Quezada, a Claremont resident, and Dorothy Nguyen, an Ontario resident, browse through items for sale at The Heling in downtown La Verne while participating in La Verne’s Wine Walk on Saturday. / photo by Lindsey Pacela
Sandra Quezada, a Claremont resident, and Dorothy Nguyen, an Ontario resident, browse through items for sale at The Heling in downtown La Verne while participating in La Verne’s Wine Walk on Saturday. / photo by Lindsey Pacela

Taylor Moore
Editor-in-Chief 

La Verne hosted its 10th annual La Verne Wine Walk on Saturday. Residents enjoyed rich pours of red and white wines, as well as delicious foods from more than 30 local businesses in downtown La Verne. 

Guests were given a commemorative wine glass, 12 wine pours and unlimited tastings from the various food vendors collaborating with Old Town’s small businesses. The city came alive with live music from eight different cover brands throughout the wine walk. 

Tickets cost $65, but to encourage safe drinking, a designated driver ticket was also available for $35 for those only participating in food tasting. 

George Henderson, owner of Henderson Insurance and Chamber of Commerce member, said the Chamber of Commerce started planning and organizing the event three months in advance. He said this year’s wine walk was a sold out event, with about 900 guests attending. 

“There’s a lot of old faces I haven’t seen in a long time, a community event,” Henderson said. “We even meet new friends and new people in La Verne. I already met some new families that are here for the first time. It’s wonderful.” 

Karen Vanegas, Pomona resident, is a regular at the annual La Verne Wine Walk. She came in a group of 16, made up of her friends and family, and said they enjoyed the event so much that they made custom burgundy shirts that they wear each year. Their shirts had various puns on them, with Venegas’ saying, “Wine well with others” next to a wine glass. 

Natalie Ng, owner of the small business One Stop in La Verne, passes out food to accompany the wine poured at the La Verne Wine Walk on Saturday. Several businesses in downtown La Verne partnered with local restaurants to provide food and wine to visitors. / photo by Lindsey Pacela

“We love supporting all the different small businesses here,” she said. “The food has been amazing. There’s a lot of good things to try.” 

Sean Franco is the owner of Chase’s La Verne, a steakhouse located on 2079 Bonita Ave. He said the wine walk is a great opportunity to meet up and talk to everybody in the community and saw both familiar and unfamiliar faces, as some were regulars at his restaurant. 

Chase’s served their specialty artichoke dip, a popular appetizer from their happy hour menu. Guests formed a line to get a taste of the fan favorite food. 

“We’ve been in La Verne since 2007,” Franco said. “My wife, Dory, has been in the restaurant business for 21 years. This (Chase’s) is like her baby. I’m more of the support for my wife.” 

Micky’s Jewelry Studio, located at 2343 D St., partnered with Sweetly Twisted Company to serve gourmet fudge to pair with the wine being served. Guests chose between a variety of red wine flavors, including Grüner Veltliner, Rosé, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel. Sweetly Twisted Company offered milk chocolate, dark chocolate cherry, orange cranberry walnut chocolate and salted pecan chocolate, each assigned to a specific wine. 

The dark chocolate cherry fudge paired with the Zinfandel red created a flavorful sensation of rich sweetness, with the chocolate only enhancing the wine’s taste. 

The Corner Butcher Shop, located at 2359 Foothill Blvd., served their signature lobster macaroni and cheese in Micky’s Jewelry Studio. Sometimes the taste of seafood can be overpowering, but the blend between the lobster and pasta was effortless, smothered in creamy cheese, breadcrumbs and bacon pieces. 

Krystina Lindsey is the owner of WYLDFLWR Beauty + Boutique, located on 2336 D St. Her boutique does custom clothing, including prints and embroidery. She also offers beauty treatments like botox and permanent makeup. 

The band Free Wing plays covers of bands like The Doors, The Beatles and Queen to passersby at the La Verne Wine Walk on Saturday in downtown La Verne. The band includes Aldo Quiroga on guitar, Mark Perrine on guitar, and Vernon Espiritu on bass. / photo by Lindsey Pacela

“I was always in the fashion industry since I was young,” Lindsey said. “(The boutique) is one of those where we mixed (beauty and fashion) together and it’s my perfect cup of tea.” 

Lindsey said she loved that an event like the wine walk brought life to the streets of La Verne. 

Jennifer Breakey, owner of Serendipity at 2144 Bonita Ave., a day spa, has been running her business for 16 years. The business currently has three estheticians, each specializing in a different spa treatment. 

“We’re really small, but we have a ton of years of experience between the three ladies,” Breakey said. 

Once Breakey became a mom, she knew she wanted to make her workspace welcoming to other women balancing a work life and family. 

“I wanted a safe place for moms to be able to work because it’s hard to find places that allow flexibility with soccer schedules and parent teacher conferences, things like that,” she said. 

Free Wing was one of the bands performing at the La Verne Wine Walk, covering songs from bands the members grew up with in the 1970’s, including Queen, The Doors and The Beatles. 

“I just loved music from the moment I saw The Beatles,” Aldo Quiroga, founder of the band and guitarist, said. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” 

Vernon Espiritu, who plays bass, Fernando Hernandez, on drums, and Quiroga are three of the original members from 1973, when they started the band at Alhambra High School.

“That song ‘Cinnamon Girl’ by Neil Young…we played that in the Alhambra High School Battle of the Bands in 1972, and we’re gonna play it again today,” Espiritu said. 

Guests enjoyed the festivities until the last pour was called at 8:30 p.m. 

Taylor Moore can be reached at taylor.moore@laverne.edu.

Taylor Moore is a senior broadcast journalism major and Campus Times editor-in-chief for Spring 2024. In her sixth semester on Campus Times, she has served as the LV Life editor and social media editor twice, as well as a staff writer. She’s also worked on the University’s television news broadcast Foothill Community News as an anchor and reporter, and was a on-air personality for the University’s radio station 107.9 LeoFM.

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