Wine Talk with Alice Swift
UNLVino 2016 Recap: The Grand Tasting
UNLVino celebrated its 42nd anniversary this year, and it continues to live up to its reputation. With the thousands of attendees who attend annually, it is amazing that the events are brought to life by a class of two instructors, and 32 managers. Working in conjunction with Southern Wine and Spirits, and Greenspun Media Group, the UNLVino class takes on major roles and responsibilities throughout the entire operations from beginning to end, including the recruiting and managing of the 400+ student volunteers who are needed to work each night’s event.
The UNLVino event series continues to provide scholarships to students in UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Administration programs, offering hundreds of scholarships totaling over $1 million to date. I had the opportunity to attend the most popular and main event of the series, the Grand Tasting, which had over 60 booths. This year I discovered the “Silent Disco” corner, where guests were given wireless headphones and had their own dance party! In addition, the silent auction impressed with a number of lavish experiences, some standouts being: a two night package stay at the Mandarin Oriental; Napa Valley winery tour with a hot air balloon ride; and a private dinner for 10 courtesy of Executive Chef Mark Sandoval, UNLVino instructor/Culinary Director who has a notable list of executive chef experience in Las Vegas.
This year’s Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence honoree for the Grand Tasting was our city’s very own former mayor and Executive Vice President of Government Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility for Caesars, Jan Jones Blackhurst. She has played such an influential role in Las Vegas, including the implementation of a Responsible Gaming program at Caesars, and the increase in diversity and sustainability efforts within the organization.
The nearly 80 vendors and hundreds of wines being poured kept guests hydrated the entire evening. My key favorite wine producers for the night included: Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Justin Vineyards and Winery, Far Niente Wine Estates, Qupé, and Wente Vineyards, and Wolfgang Puck Wines. For those who wanted a variety of beverages besides wine, there were also other liquors poured, such as beer, whiskey, brandy, tequila, sake, and many others.
UNLVino remains a success year after year, and a plus is knowing that the event gives back to UNLV’s Hotel College, promoting higher education. I look forward to taking a “Sip for Scholarship” at next year’s UNLVino events, and hope to see you there!
Until next month, Cheers~!