LAWineFest celebrates the Long Beach Library Foundation as the 14th annual event descends upon The Pike Outlets

LAWineFest has celebrated education and learning about all things wine for the last 14 years, and this year it continues the educational tradition by supporting the Long Beach Library Foundation as it makes its return to Long Beach June 1 and 2.

Created by wine expert and educator, Dr. Joel M. Fisher, LAWineFest highlights wines from around the world, including some of the amazing wineries from around Southern California. Here, the wine is the star, with winemakers, sommeliers and experts available at the festival to help guests hone their wine knowledge. Fisher developed this event as a way to share his own love and knowledge of wine with people in Southern California, and the labor of love is something he hopes will continue on, now in Long Beach. True to the spirit of Long Beach’s art, music and cultural leanings, there will be live music each day of the event, and amazing exhibitors selling an array of products, to go along with the unlimited tastings that come with entry. On Saturday, Hermosa Beach’s Angry Donkey will rock out on the main stage with guest DJ Neva. Sunday the sounds of LA’s Rose Colored World.

Having previously supported organizations like the Los Angeles Jazz Society and Sunshine Kids for Cancer, this year LAWineFest will donate a portion of the 2019 event’s proceeds to The Long Beach Public Library Foundation, the independent nonprofit organization investing in the city’s 12 public libraries to promote literacy and education. This initiative will help raise funds and awareness for the foundation’s New Main Campaign, which aims to bring much-needed new technology, programs and enhancements to the city’s new Main Library, set to open this summer.

“The Long Beach community has been so gracious and excited about LAWineFest taking up residence at The Pikes, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring a stunning array of wines from far reaches of the globe like Israel and Hungary, to those produced up and down the coast of California,” Fisher said. “The LAWineFest is my pride and joy, and returning to Long Beach after a 12-year absence was a great opportunity for us to reach a remarkably diverse and creative segment of people, and to support a cause that I can believe in.”

Local wineries and businesses are getting involved, and encouraged to reach out to be involved, including the 7th Street Long Beach Grocery Outlet, which will be pouring a variety of wines. Q Smokehouse and Gladstone’s will be onsite with a variety of yummy Long Beach favorites for sale, and Romeo Chocolates and EKP Creation Candles will be showing off their wares. The Long Beach Transit has signed on as a sponsor, and is encouraging everyone to ditch their cars for the weekend, and opt for public transportation, which will drop off nearby the event. Long Beach native and local, Charles Singleton of TreImage Events has had a hand in the festival’s entry into the Long Beach space.

LA’s Lasorda Family Wines will also be on-hand, and the Los Angeles International Wine Competition will pour some of its medal winners. And as the years have gone on, LAWineFest has opened its doors also to a select group of amazing craft breweries. As the craft beer industry explodes in Southern California, it was a natural progression for LAWineFest and Fisher, who hand selects each winery and brewery for the festival. Common Space brewery of Hawthorne, Pomona’s Old Stump Brewing Co., San Diego’s Saint Archer are some of the Southern California breweries on tap, alongside Italy’s Peroni and Hop Valley Brewing from Oregon. OneHope Wine and Rescue Dog Wines will be pouring their latest vintages, which also have a philanthropic edge.

“It’s a joy to meet with winemakers and winery proprietors over the course of the year, and I’ve developed some lasting friendships as such,” Fisher said.

Each year the LAWineFest attracts about 5,000 attendees over the two days, and with its rollout into Long Beach, organizers expect the event will grow to be its biggest yet. They see LAWineFest in Long Beach as a weekend getaway, encouraging guests to stay and play in Long Beach, especially with the neighboring iconic venues, including the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Queen Mary, Shoreline Village and the Rainbow Lagoon. After a few hours of sipping, savoring and strolling, take a break and enjoy lobster rolls, brats, sliders, BBQ, ice cream and more from an array of food trucks and booths, available for purchase. When the Fest concludes each day, attendees are encouraged to check out the award-winning restaurants and stores in The Pike Outlets, and elsewhere nearby in the city.

Admission to LAWineFest includes a souvenir glass, unlimited wine and craft brew tastings, bottled water, coffee and bread. Festival hours are 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 1, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 2. Tickets at the gate are $100 for General Admission; $125 for All Access – (which also includes admission to the Boutique Gardens with 15-20 wineries offering tastes from limited production). Designated drivers are encouraged, and get in to enjoy all the amenities of the festival for only $20 (does not include any tastings). Special pricing is available for tickets purchased in advance, available at www.LAWineFest.comLong Beach Post readers can take advantage of $20 off any ticket by entering promo code POST at checkout.

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