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Grapes for Grads to feature local Laguna Beach restaurants

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01 April, 2019 By Grapes for Grads

Great wine for a great cause has always been the selling point for the annual Grapes for Grads event, but this year organizers plan to add great food to the menu.

“The food is going to be tremendously different,” said Jeff Redeker, one of the organizers for the annual Laguna Beach fundraiser.

The annual event used to offer a buffet style meal as part of the entry fee. The food was good, Redeker said. But he wanted to make it even better. That’s why this year’s Grapes for Grads event on April 28 will feature five, local restaurants serving their signature dishes and desserts for $5 per plate.

The restaurants are Maro Wood Grill, Oak, Wine Gallery, Harley’s and Moulin Bistro.

“We chose restaurants that cater to wine drinkers and whose food would complement our tastings,” Redeker said. “Every year you want the event to be unique. Different food, different music, different artists, that’s what keeps people coming back.”

And they have been coming back consistently since 2006, when the Laguna Beach Rotary Club started the annual wine tasting fundraiser. In 2018, Laguna Beach residents voted Grapes for Grads as the best local charity event, and it’s now considered the city’s premier wine event. The money it raises for scholarships also grows larger each and every year.

The Laguna Beach Rotary Club puts all of its proceeds from the Grapes for Grads event into scholarships for students at Laguna Beach High School and Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD). Since its inception, they’ve raised more than $410,000.

That money helped dozens of local students pursue their college dreams, but Redeker and the rotary club want to do more for their community. They’re hoping to create a few multi-year scholarships.

It’s a personal goal for Redeker because part of the reason Grapes for Grads started was his own sticker shock when he decided to go back to school.

LBHS student and 2018 graduate Isabel Riches put her scholarship money towards her undergraduate education at Brown University.

“I am so appreciative of Grapes for Grads supporting me in pursuing my education,” Riches said.

Riches studies cognitive neuroscience and she’s been able to pursue a research assistant position with a robotics initiative at her school. She’s helping test the effectiveness of a toy bear that helps children with Type-1 Diabetes understand their care better through play.

And LCAD student Ryanne Phillips decided to use her scholarship money to cover the things that often get overlooked when calculating the cost of college like high quality brushes and paints she needed for her art classes. 

“With high quality materials and instruction at Laguna, I believe that I made a remarkable improvement in my painting skills,” Phillips said.

Some of Phillips’ fellow students plan to showcase their painting skills during the Grapes for Grads event. It’s one of the features people love about the annual wine tasting, Redeker said. Attendees get to watch different artists paint and ask about their work while sampling more than 120 different wine varieties.

The wines come from around California and the world, including countries like Argentina, France, Italy and New Zealand.  And the band is different too. This year attendees will listen to Yachty By Nature, a yacht rock band.

“People may see a few of the same wineries,” Redeker said. “But it’s going to be a different event.”



This article was presented and sponsored by Grapes for Grads. For more information, go to grapesforgrads.com.


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