2 Foothill cities, 2 wine and jazz benefits, this Saturday only

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And there’s no reason to miss either free-flowing, beat-filled soiree.
Organizers of the Pasadena Wine Festival will offer free admission to anyone who shows a ticket for the nearby Sierra Madre Wine and Jazz Walk benefiting City of Hope.
“As far as we’re concerned, the big wine event (this weekend) is in Sierra Madre, because it goes to a great cause,” said Russ Meek, sommelier and managing partner of redwhite+bluezz, which, along with Pasadena Entertainment, produces the Pasadena Wine Festival. “Anyone who goes to that (one) gets into ours for free.”
Meek said he hopes the offer will encourage festival-goers to “cruise around” to both events benefiting deserving causes.


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The Pasadena Wine Festival is donating proceeds to the California Philharmonic and the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, where it is being held.
Because of that location, the Pasadena Wine Festival isn’t actually taking place in its namesake city, but rather in Arcadia.
For the festival’s second year, a swelling crowd size means that “aside from the Rose Bowl, there really isn’t a venue that can handle this in Pasadena,” Meek said. Festival organizers are expecting 6,000-7,000 in attendance this weekend.
In addition to exploring the expansive Arboretum grounds, visitors will spend the day tasting more than 125 wines from around the world and savoring fare from gourmet food trucks.
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Pouring stations will be arranged by country and region, so tasters can take the proverbial world tour of wines; The food, too, will have an international flair — from stylized American comfort food with the Grilled Cheese Truck to spicy Southeast Asian flavors with the Dosa Truck.
Redwhite+bluezz is also drawing on its connections to leading jazz musicians in presenting a formidable concert lineup. Among the headlining performers are world jazz guitarist Greg Pore, bassist Ryan Cross, vocalist Lindsey Harper and Jos Espinosa’s Umbalaye Band.
And — less than two miles away, at the intersection of Baldwin Avenue and Sierra Madre Boulevard — there is more jazz and more wine to be had at the Sierra Madre Wine and Jazz Walk.
Now in its fifth year, the wine walk benefiting cancer research at City of Hope takes place along the sidewalks and streets of charming downtown Sierra Madre.
More than 30 local businesses are participating in the walk this year, with those boutiques and restaurants each serving as a pouring station for a different wine. (At check-in, wine-walkers get a keepsake glass and a map to guide them.)
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“One of my girlfriends calls it adult trick-or-treat,” said Sindee Riboli, who is part of the committee that puts on the benefit each year. “You get to mosey through town, listen to jazz, drink wine. And, to think, it all goes to benefit cancer research.”
Riboli’s husband, Steve, is the owner of Downtown L.A.’s San Antonio Winery and of the Riboli Family Wine Estates, which are the presenting sponsors of the wine and jazz walk.
Up for tasting Saturday will be many of the award-winning wines produced under the Riboli family umbrella, as well as select bottles distributed by the downtown winery.
Some standouts to look for in the course of the wine walk include the Santo Stefano cabernet sauvignon; the Maddalena zinfandel and chardonnay; and the San Simeon pinot noir. Bodega de San Antonio’s brand-new sangria will also be featured, along with wines from Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Italy and South Africa.
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Between tastings, visitors can bid on prizes in a silent auction; take in the sounds of jazz acts stationed throughout Sierra Madre; see classic Ferraris and Mercedes-Benzes displayed on the streets; and even sign up — with a quick-and-painless cheek swab — for the life-saving bone marrow registry.
Later in the evening, an outdoor wine garden will open in Kersting Court, where guests will be able to sip full glasses of wine and take in a performance by jazz-dance band Mercy & The Merkettes. Local restaurants 38 Degrees, Casa Del Rey, Charcuterie and Mike & Ann’s Wistaria Grill will be serving up heavy appetizers to pair with the wine.
About 1,200 people attended last year’s Sierra Madre Wine and Jazz Walk, and Riboli said she would be thrilled to see that number grow.
“In our four-year history, we have raised almost $200,000 for (cancer) research,” Riboli said, “and I’m hoping to make that $300,000 by the end of Saturday.”
Drinking wine while supporting a great cause may just be the finest pairing of all.
PASADENA WINE FESTIVAL: Oct. 9, 2 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. Tickets prices start at $28. Online ticket sales end tonight (Friday) at midnight. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance gate at the Arboretum beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. Free tickets available tonight (Friday) at the new point08 bar, 95 E. Green St. in Pasadena. pasadenawinefestival.com

SIERRA MADRE WINE AND JAZZ WALK: Saturday afternoon and evening. Saturday, Oct. 9; Wine and jazz walk from 4-7 p.m.; San Antonio Winery wine garden from 6:30-10 p.m. Intersection of Baldwin Avenue and Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre. Advance tickets cost $40 each; $50 on the day of the event; Includes commemorative wine glass and 10 wine tasting tickets. Advance tickets to the evening wine garden cost $35; $40 day-of. sierramadrewineandjazzwalk.com
(File photos and courtesy photos)

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