September 14, 2008

Shirley Wild: Grand Cru Raises a Glass to Charity

It was a sunny day cooled by ocean breezes at Rainbow Lagoon for the Long Beach Grand Cru Public Wine Tasting Benefit on Aug. 16, attended by approximately 1,300 guests.

This was the 14th annual International Wine Competition produced by the Long Beach Office of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. This year's series of events raised more than $327,000.

It has grown from a modest wine tasting benefit in 1995 to become one of the most- respected professionally judged wine competitions in the nation.

At the public tasting, guests had the opportunity to taste 1,947 wine entries from around the world and enjoy food served by 25 area restaurants and one specialty food store.

At the pre-event VIP party, 250 guests sipped competition champagnes and wines from around the world and sampled gourmet delicacies from Moon Dance Catering while making their live silent auction decisions and selecting their opportunity-drawing items.

Andrew Weiss Gallery donated a Renoir Etching and there were limited edition prints from Dreamworks Studios as well.

Auction Co-Chairs Jeani Adams and Pat Ellington solicited items that brought in over $36,000 for Legal Aid. Two high bidders were Sean Casey, who won an eight-day cruise on the Carnival Spirit sailing to Acapulco, Zihuatenejo/Ixtapa and Manzanillo for $2,350, and Lisa and Tom Pack, who won a suite at the Staples Center for a Los Angeles Lakers game for $2,350.

Grand Cru Founder and Executive Producer Ludmila Montoya pointed out that in addition to the board members, Grand Cru benefits from the services of more than 250 volunteers who put in more than 7,600 hours this year.

FYI: Proceeds from the annual summer events provide legal programs and services for low-income individuals and families, including assistance to escape homelessness and domestic violence and obtain food and health care for their families. To help, call 213-640-3894 or visit the Web site at

Seen at the Scene: State Sen. Alan Lowenthal, City of Long Beach Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal, Rod Jones, Robert Gary, Barbara and Ned Gaylord, Kimberly Foster, Grand Cru Board Chair Roni Gould; Kjell Karlsen; and Grand Cru Board Vice Chair Grand Cru Board Secretary Susan LaPutz.

News of social events with charitable purposes may be sent to Shirley Wild at [email protected] or by fax to 562-594-9668. Please include a brief FYI about your organization, including a contact phone number. Send high-resolution JPEG photos to [email protected] and include group name and identification of individuals from left. Call Shirley at 562-594-9468 for information.

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