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Taste wine, save dogs

Gisela Campagne's fundraiser is in its fourth year, having grown to include wineries of Napa Valley.

June 19, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio
  • Gisela Campagne, the southern California director of Waggin' Trails Rescue Foundation poses for a photo with her 3-year-old Chihuahua mix, Molly, at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort on Thursday, June 13. Campagne is organizing a Wags N' Wine fundraiser for Waggin' Trails Rescue Foundation.
Gisela Campagne, the southern California director of… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Gisela Campagne's journey toward rescuing unwanted dogs led to a seemingly unlikely solution: wine.

She has put her years of experience behind her ever-growing dog-saving wine-tasting event. Campagne worked for the Huntington Beach Planning and Community Services departments for 37 years and knows a thing to two about hosting get-togethers.

"I've done a lot of fundraising for the city and event planning," the Huntington Beach retiree said. "Somehow I was always the party planner wherever I was."

When she needed to come up with a fundraiser for her dog rescue program, it didn't take Campagne much time to come up with Wags N' Wine.

In its fourth year, the wine-tasting event helps to keep Waggin' Trails Rescue Foundation up and running while finding canines a new home.

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The event can be traced to 2009 and a small gathering at the historic Newland House, where a friend of Campagne's cooked pasta dishes and bottles of wine were donated to the cause, even before her foundation had been officially created. Now more than 10 wineries from Napa Valley are represented at the event, held at the Waterfront Hilton in Huntington Beach, and a major sponsor is Five Points Plaza, she said.

"People come and they have such a good time," said Campagne, who is the Southern California director for the foundation. "I think it's because we offer such an amazing value."

People have the option of purchasing a general admission ticket for $45 or VIP admission for $60 online. Tickets will be sold for $50 and $65, respectively, at the door.

All tickets include unlimited wine tasting and a souvenir wine glass. Those choosing the VIP option get an upgraded glass, a swag bag and access to premium wine tastings, according to the event website.

Featured wineries include Rutherford Wine Company, Anantaah, Peju and Charles Krug.

"I walked door to door in Napa Valley just to get this wine donated. I really did," Campagne said. "I went from one winery to the other and that's how I got this amazing premium wine donated."

Waggin' Trails transports dogs that are unwanted or slated to be euthanized to reliable rescue shelters across California. The foundation also sends canines to Washington, Oregon, Idaho and even Vancouver.

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