"Get Your Grape On!" for UNICEF

John Z. Blazevich (Contessa Foods) and Phil Bilodeau (Grigich Hills)

When you hear the words "Wine tasting event", you normally think Napa Valley, or San Francisco, but in West Hollywood  "Get Your Grape On!" for UNICEF, the second annual evening of wine tasting and merriment benefiting UNICEF, took place on Sunday, November 7th 2004 at Café Veneto. This classy little fundraiser was hosted by UNICEF board member and actress Sheryl Lee (Twin Peaks), television host Alex McLeod (formerly of Trading Spaces), movie producer Paddy Cullen (Down With Love), clothing designer Stacy Hollister (Hado Tees) and restaurateur, Jean Louis De Mori (Café Veneto and Locanda Veneta).

Stacy Hollister (Hado Tees) and Restauranteur Jean Louis De Mori (Cafe Veneto)

The high-spirited hosts and saintly volunteers behind this party are part of a Hollywood Women's Giving Circle group for UNICEF in Los Angeles. Groups of women in Southern California are coming together to quietly put fun events together to raise money for less fortunate children in developing countries and it is time Angelenos knew about it!

James MacPhail (Mac Phail Family Wines)

One celebrity stand out at this event was the always "fashion forward", actress Selma Blair, but the biggest celebrities of the night were the A-list offerings of fabulous food and wine.

Television Host Alex Mcleod and John Z. Blazevich

The sensationally succulent CONTESSA shrimp prepared by Cafe Veneto Chefs Patrick Giordano and Valdo Verreschi definitely had the "foodies" buzzing, in fact Café Veneto's entire selection of Mediterranean tapas were delicious, especially the fried calamari and mouthwatering wood burning oven pizzas, but the real secret weapon behind this hip European café and mostly organic wine bar is the "to-die- for" dessert: a chocolate hazelnut pizza that party goers could not resist nor could they stop talking about!  Earlier this year, Jean Louis De Mori was named restaurateur of the year 2004 by Angeleno Magazine and his Café Veneto is centrally located at 8636 West Third Street in Los Angeles, reasonably priced, always busy for lunch or dinner, but no reservations required. CONTESSA sponsors the PBS cooking show, Simply Ming, hosted by emmy-award winning celebrity chef, Ming Tsai. You can find CONTESSA Food Products in retail supermarkets, major hotels, and fine restaurants nationwide.

Guest talking

About the wine: Grgich Hills, Ceago Vinegarden, MacPhail Family Wines, Atlas Peak, Wine Warehouse, and Du Vin Wine and Spirits all generously donated their vino for the UNICEF cause. The Grgich Hills 2001 Chardonnay, the organic Merlot from Ceago Vinegarden, and the 2002 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir from MacPhail Family Wines, and  the Abbazia Santa Anastasia Nero d' Avola 2002 from Sicily, were definitely favorites among wine lovers at this wine tasting event.

The scene at Cafe Veneto

Not only did UNICEF donors "get their grape on" but they "got their groove on too!" The dance tunes were provided by Music Supervisor, Lono Brazil, and on the way out every party goer got a stylish canvas gift bag from Wine Spectator Magazine which included a copy of the Wine Spectator Holiday Feast issue, a De Mori Family cookbook, Italy Anywhere, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf breath mints, Scharffenberger

Cafe Veneto owner Jean Louis De Mori and Chef Patrick Giordano

Chocolate squares, and a great CD compilation, courtesy of Lono Brazil, containing the "Get Your Grape On" for UNICEF party music. Finally, a sensible gift bag with items you can actually use!

The scene at Cafe Veneto

The cool and clever silent auction items were donated by Tod's, The Carneros Inn of Napa, Artesa Vineyards and Winery, The Ritz Carlton, Neibaum-Coppola, L'Orangerie, Laurent-Perrier Champagne, Haut-Brion, Carte Du Vin Wine Cellar Management, The Peninsula Hotel, Wine Spectator Magazine, Sports Club L.A., KLS Limousine, Kron Chocolates, Claudia Laub stationary, Keihl's, Direct TV, and many more!

Opening a new bottle

"Get Your Grape On!" for UNICEF, was a worthwhile event for foodies and wine lovers that raised thousands for the kids. Way to go L.A.!

If you would like to find out more about UNICEF  you can visit there website at: www.unicef.org

Cafe Veneto Chef Valdo Verreschi and Enrico Nicoletta of Wine Warehouse

DJ Lono Brazil


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