The Vine Dawgz (back): Ralph Cesena Jr, (front, left to right) Sonny Hernandez, Mike Swearingen, Kevin Nagata, George Alvarez
A little over five years ago, Lodi neighbors Ralph Cesena Jr and Mike Swearingen discovered that the other was a musician. Ralph a keyboardist, bassist and vocalist. Mike a keyboardist and vocalist.
Ralph had an idea to create a "wine events band" that would play the kind of feel-good music that wine event attendees would appreciate. Mike liked the idea and brought in friends George Alvarez and Kevin Nagata to play guitar. Ralph brought in friend Sonny Hernandez to play drums and the "Vine Dawgz" were formed.
Fast forward five years, and the "Vine Dawgz" have appeared at wineries, wine events and private functions all over Northern California - from Modesto in the Central Valley, to Lodi, and beyond to Calistoga in northern Napa Valley.
In addition, they have been a driving force behind a series of local fundraising events - "Vine Dawgz ROCK!" and "Rotary ROCKS!" that have raised over $20,000 for local non-profit organizations. Their next event will be Saturday, November 2nd to benefit Hope Floats!
The Vine Dawgz will be appearing at the "mother of all local wine events" - the Lodi Grape Festival - on Friday September 13th and Saturday September 14th from 7pm until 11p at the Sierra Nevada Pier 413 Stage.
The show will feature a Classic Rock "Tour of the Decades" with 60's music at 7pm, 70's music at 8pm, 80's music at 9pm, and the "Best of the Vine Dawgz" set at 10pm.