Rosé in the Rose Garden
September 18, 2018

Atop the hills east of Hollywood, nearly 70 Rotarians and friends gathered on September 9th for the first wine experience of the new Rotary year at the beautiful newly remodeled chateau of Marjorie and Dean Heller. The afternoon was filled with warm fellowship, endless laughter, memories of Presidential glory, delicious food, and, of course, bottles upon bottles of rosé.  

As the guests of honor, Past Presidents shared personal memories from their year at the helm as well as insights into getting the most out of Rotary…. 

President 86, Mike Birkholm, spoke of the significant growth of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles Foundation through generous planned giving by late member Helen Close that today allows LA5 to award more than $100,000 in scholarships annually from her contributions alone. His one piece of advice to members looking to receive the full benefits of membership was “get involved with a committee.” 

President 100, David Bland, during his term combined LA5’s passion for wine with serving the community by producing a food and wine festival at the Music Center complete with limited edition branded glassware. These glasses made a cameo appearance at the event where it was pointed out that “the line on the side of the glass is supposed to be the limit for what is poured.” Bland further remarked after looking around the event “I guess we need to work on our pouring accuracy for the next event.”  

President 105, Ken Chong, shocked the crowd when he expressed his greatest pleasure was summed up in one word: “FINE!” In reality, fines were only second to hosting our annual scholarship event at Dodger Stadium alongside current and former players, coaches and media personalities. The event generated $80,000 for our foundation and provided very special memories for the students and Rotarians alike. 

President 107, Jose Vera, brought the focus to wine back by highlighting his fond memory of an all-day wine trip by train that John Lockhart helped orchestrate. Aside from wine, he was very moved by the work of LA5ers focusing the club’s community charitable giving around ending homelessness. 

President 108, Todd Johnson, shared the pride he felt in seeing the club come together to strengthen its foundation stating, “I was honored to be part of a team that implemented a long term succession plan.”

President 109, yours truly, stated how much I was truly honored to lead the club as the 5th female president during the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling allowing women to be members. My goals remain to this day to make sure Rotary is “fun and personal to each person in our club. It is imperative that Rotarians are involved where they are passionate, not just spectators.”

The festivities would not have been possible without the generous contributions and support of our sponsors and host committee including Chris Campbell, California Partnerships, Inc, Cheryle Bland, Denise Anthony, Elizabeth Skrzat, and Christina Moses. Special thanks to our bartenders Eddie De Ochoa and Past President David Bland. 

Mark your calendars for November 4 as the next wine lovers destination will take us to Hancock Park. If you’re interested in learning more about drinking wine with Rotarians or the other great things LA5 does, visit