Photos: Pacific Beach Town Council wine-tasting raises cash for operations

Taking a chance on a new venue and a new time, the Pacific Beach Town Council’s (PBTC) annual wine-tasting fundraiser for general operations lost none of its appeal with preliminary totals surpassing the $6,800 raised last year.

The event drew about 120 people to the rooftop bar at the Firehouse American Eatery & Lounge on Oct. 13. The wine was paired with a silent auction of 50 items, including stays at the high-end Tower 23 hotel and the timeless Beach Cottages.

Held for years in June at the PB Woman’s Club, the event was moved to October to avoid “fundraiser fatigue” arising from the numerous other benefits held in June, according to PBTC president Brian White.

Food was donated by area vendors, including a cheese table from Gelson’s, pizzas from Surfrider, and square pizzas and health foods from Freshii. In addition, wine was on tap from LJ Crafted Wines, a local eco-friendly vintner named after owner Lowell Jooste, not necessarily its location on La Jolla Boulevard.

The Olive Baking Co., an outgrowth of Olive Cafe, donated baked cinnamon rolls and cookies. Owner Sarah Mattinson, a member of the Mission Beach Town Council, pointed out that her company donates to more than 40 organizations annually.

Brandon Shank provided artisan breads for the occasion. Shank is working to open an Italian bakery, and although he lives in Normal Heights, he has plenty of reasons to prefer Pacific Beach: “Great people. Great vibe. Everyone is so gracious. It’s kind of different from (other parts of) San Diego where people are usually stand-offish.”

Added resident Jim Pratt of the gathering: “It’s a lot of action. Good people, good food, good wine. The only thing missing is more (of it).”