LASupportsLA Throws Food, Wine and Auction Extravaganza to Benefit Katrina Relief Efforts

Santa Monica, September 9, 2005 - In only seven short days, over a thousand people came together to create the massively triumphant, LASupportsLA ( charity event to raise funds to help relieve the devastated city of New Orleans and surrounding areas hit by Hurricane Katrina.  What began as a small encore event based around the LearnAboutWine - TASTE program run by Ian Blackburn, quickly snowballed into a gargantuan charity event organized by highly influential, effective and powerful people who volunteered and vowed to do whatever was necessary to make this event a success.  

LASupportsLA proudly announced that over $100,000 in ticket sales and cash donations were raised and proceeds will go to the BUSH-CLINTON KATRINA FUND while the silent auction raised over $100,000, which will benefit the NEW ORLEANS HOSPITALITY WORKERS DISASTER RELIEF FUND.  LASupportsLA estimates that over 1400 people attended the event.  Due to the outpouring of silent auction donations on the day of the event, LASupportsLA will host another silent auction in the future in the hopes of raising an additional $200,000.

'We couldn't say no to the outpouring of support!  Momentum and all the powers of the universe were aligning including some of the greatest volunteers and power players in Los Angeles but we all crossed the finish line together and it was magic.', Says Ian Blackburn and Tim Smith, co- founders of LASupportsLA.

The event drew the support of over 50 local restaurants like Sona, Table 8, Campanile, Josie, BOA and Valentino who donated their food and chef power for the evening. Over 100 stellar wineries from Beckman, Cobblestone, Bernardus, Flying Goat, Mauritson, Paige 23, Planeta, Talley and Torbreck lovingly turned up to pour their wines at the event. The VIP Lounge sponsored by Moet & Chandon poured champagne all night and raised over $35,000. 

Particular highlights of the evening included Master of Ceremonies, Harry Shearer, famous for voicing numerous characters on the wildly popular show 'The Simpsons,' who was on hand for introductions and comedy relief.  Also lending support were Marc Summers, host of The Food Network's 'Unwrapped' and the world-renowned DJ Paul Oakenfold, who spun amazing mood music.  Celebrities like supermodel legend Cheryl Tiegs, Annette O'Toole and Michael McKean showed their support by coming in and lending their time, money, and star power to this worthy cause.

The event was held at the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport to accommodate the large crowd; the space itself was most generously donated by owner, Judi Barker.  All the proceeds from this event will go towards Louisiana Disaster Relief, THE BUSH - CLINTON KATRINA FUND ( and the NEW ORLEANS HOSPITALITY WORKERS DISASTER RELIEF FUND (, established by the Brennan family, of the Commander's Palace Family of Restaurants, to aid their peers during this time of need.

To see photographs of the event, please  (All photos courtesy of Jeromy Robert.)

To donate to the cause, please visit  For more information on Learn About Wine's upcoming fall TASTE events, log on to  TASTE's Fall Series of events kicks off on Friday, October 7, 2005 with 'Bubbles Beer, Wine and Champagne,' which will be held at Maple Drive Restaurant at 345 Maple Drive in Beverly Hills every Friday from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., $40 at the door.  For reservations, call 310-451-7600 or visit

About Learn About Wine
LearnAboutWine (, the first Internet website dedicated to wine education and events was founded by Ian Blackburn in 1995. With 10 years of service, and 24,000 students in tow, LearnAboutWine has evolved into the source for wine education and events in Southern California. Visiting wine organizations such as New Zealand Wine Growers, The Santa Barbara Vintners, and the Paso Robles Grand Cru fill the calendar with great tasting opportunities and learning experiences. Fun events that bring the active, highly educated wine demo together fill the calendar, such as TASTE a social wine gathering around a common theme with 30-40 wines tasted, food, music and scenic views from a beautiful location. Other classes like Wine Camp™ a 2 hour Introduction to Wine, LearnAboutWine and Cheese, Scents Blind wine tasting, LearnAboutWine and Chocolate, are just a few of the creative wine lifestyle oriented events this unique operation offers to the public. Private events and corporate team building exercises are also available.

About Ian Blackburn
Certified Wine Professional and innovative wine industry spokesperson, Ian Blackburn drinks wine for a living.  For the past 10 years, Ian Blackburn has built LearnAboutWine into Los Angeles' leading wine education and event source.  The first business of its kind, dedicated to the education, service, and enjoyment of wine.  Having instructed over 15,000 students at such noted centers including Cordon Bleu, Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, The Learning Annex, and others, Ian's passion for wine and entertaining approach has made him one of the top wine spokespeople in the United States. Ian maintains a busy schedule educating wine professionals during the day and the consumers by night and plans dozens of wine events each month all with the goal of spreading the love and appreciation of wine.  Commissioned to write 'The Pleasure of Wine' in 2004, Ian is currently working on his second book at his home office in Santa Monica, CA. 

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