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Kiwanis wine-tasting social is all about community Phillip Brents | Thu, May 24 2012 12:02 PM

The Chula Vista Kiwanis Club has dedicated itself to changing the world “one child and one community at a time,” according to club president Martha Estrada.

Chula Vista appears to be in good hands if last Saturday’s wine tasting social event at Otay Ranch Town Center is any indicator. The community came out in large numbers — estimates range up to 500 guests — to support the event, now in its 11th year.

The well-attended event included 36 sponsors, according to Kiwanis committee chair Cesar Padilla, who organized this year’s event.

“We’re very appreciative of the community for coming out,” said Padilla, who has been a club member since 1996. “We’re very appreciative of our sponsors. The event is affordably priced because of our sponsors. Tickets were priced at $35, and if it wasn’t for the help of our sponsors, they would cost $50 for an event like this. Our sponsors have helped make this truly a community event.”

David McClurg, a past president and district lieutenant governor for the local Kiwanis Club, helped start the event, which is the club’s major annual fund-raiser for its various community-oriented projects aimed at helping Chula Vista’s children.

“It’s all about giving back to the community,” he said. “(This event) funds all our events for the children of Chula Vista. We couldn’t do it without our sponsors and everyone in the community who support us.”

The club’s Breakfast with Santa program offers 70 low income children and their families the opportunity to meet with Santa, enjoy a healthy breakfast and receive toys, clothes, shoes and a new bicycle for all the kids.

The Chula Vista Kiwanis Club is also involved with the Special Olympics at Point Loma Nazarene University by offering more than 400 athletes and volunteers a freshly made barbecue lunch.

The club also sponsors the annual Chula Vista Kiwanis Bowl game pitting the football teams from Hilltop and Chula Vista high schools. Each team is presented with $1,000 toward its football program and the top players for each team are awarded Most Valuable Player trophies.

The club also provides emotional support and medical supplies during its annual visit to the Tijuana Children’s Cancer Center.

Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox and County Supervisor Greg Cox were both in attendance after attending another community  event earlier in the day: a homecoming for “American Idol” sensation Jessica Sanchez at nearby Eastlake High School.

Roberto DePhillipi’s Steak House donated the wines as the event’s wine sponsor.

The extensive wine list included both domestic and imported varieties. Many were California wines from the Central Coast, Russian River Valley, Lodi and Napa Valley.

Imported wines included those from New Zealand, France, Spain and Portugal.

All were of top quality standard, especially the Sandeman Founders Reserve port, a sweet-fortified dessert wine poured by McClurg, and the citrus-infused Royal Cuvee pinot noir and chardonnay sparkling wine (produced by Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma Valley) at the Village Cremation table.

La Bella Pizza & Games also was among the event’s sponsors, with the foursome of Tony and Celeste Raso, Mike Verzosa and Donna Donahue helping pour from their table.

Part of the sponsorship package was a contribution to the silent auction.

Many of the silent auction items included VIP passes to upcoming concerts at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre or Viejas Arena — some with up to a $2,400 face value (Pit Bull). Guests got to “bid” for a chance to see Brad Paisley, the Dave Matthews Band, Van Halen, Kool & the Gang and Neil Diamond.

A Chula Vista SWAT experience and lunch with the chief of police also was up for auction.

Besides the array of white and red wines (and beer and tequila samples) available, the event was also lavishly catered.

Doyle Catering provided the array of tasty appetizers and entrée items throughout the evening while Pastelitos provided guests with a colorful array of its signature mini-cupcakes.

Jessica Molina and Daniela Copenhaver have operated Pastelitos online since January. They cater to a wide variety of family-oriented events and said the popular cupcakes take about eight hours to prepare for a particular event.

Dennis Doyle is the mastermind behind Doyle Catering, located at 4373 Moraga Ave. in San Diego. The fish tacos, kalua pork, chicken skewers and walnut salad were big hits in the culinary department from our review staff.

Breez’n, a variety band, provided the live entertainment.

Ultimately, the focus of the event was on fun and community.

The event’s 50/50 raffle raised more than $1,000.

“So much goes on in putting this event together,” Estrada underscored. “A special thanks (goes out) to those who arrived early to help set up, those who volunteer during the event, those who helped support us throughout the entire event, those who stayed to help clean up, those who volunteered behind the scenes and those who brought in donations.”

Estrada also thanked Otay Ranch Town Center for serving as venue sponsor.

The Star-News served as media sponsor.

For more information on the Chula Vista Kiwanis Club, visit www.ChulaVistaKiwanis.com.

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