Looking Into the Future by Romero Britto

UNLVino is differentiated through unparalleled, accredited hands-on student experiences at all levels of event planning, execution and promotion.

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, in partnership with the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at UNLV, hosts this year’s 44th annual UNLVino with some fun surprises coming. In speaking with Michael Severino, Senior Director of Marketing and Special Events at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada, he shared the thought process behind this year’s format. 

The entire concept of UNLVino was founded back in 1974 with former dean Jerry Vallen of UNLV’s Harrah Hospitality College and Senior Managing Director Larry Ruvo of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. It’s only natural that the partnership continues with this year’s annual and educational event. This iconic space will house tasting booths and vendors, with over 150 wines, over 40 sparkling wines and Champagnes, spirits, and mixologist cocktail creations. Inside the beautiful Keep Memory Alive Events Center, a large assortment of over 40 exotic sakes will be poured. A craft beer garden will be located in the lush back patio and garden area, with a Cicerone-certified expert on site to answer your questions and make recommendations. 

With this beautiful and iconic space, this year’s event was able to invite venues from all over our valley to participate. As part of the joint celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Hospitality College, UNLVino will be showcasing 55 restaurants at the event. There are a number of notable chefs and restaurants participating this year, such as Scott Conant, Rick Moonen, Hubert Keller, Charles Phan, Brian Howard and Paul Bartolotta, just to name a few. 

UNLV’s Hospitality College graduates have gone on to work in hospitality fields all over the world - you can go to nearly any hospitality or F&B establishment and someone is sure to know about UNLV’s hospitality program and school. The annual UNLVino may have evolved year over year, but one thing has remained the same – it continues to be an event that is “by the students, for the students.” “Why wouldn’t we toast to the memories in the spirit of education!” ~ Jennifer Oshiro Rivers

As UNLVino continues to be a memorable night for past grads, we thought it worthwhile to hear from prominent UNLV alumni and faculty about their memories of past UNLVinos.

UNLVino is a Las Vegas tradition, [with the] best of the community spirit coming together for education and fundraising at the same time.

~ Michael Severino, Senior Director of Marketing and
Special Events at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada

I look forward to UNLVino each year! We have been great partners and have had the opportunity to host the event itself at our properties. Great wine and networking…don’t miss it! Congratulations & good luck…Your friends at Caesars Entertainment.”

~ Stacey Purcell
Class of 1990
Assistant Director of Sales, Caesars Entertainment

For me, I love the networking aspect – I see lots of alumni, friends, and past coworkers each year I attend – it’s like an annual reunion.”

~ Christine Kiely
Class of 1990
Director of Sales, Kre-8 Media

I had an amazing time volunteering as a student at UNLVino! I was able to network with many Hospitality professionals in the industry along with gaining practical hands-on experience in organizing a
large-scale event.

~ Anthony Lai
Class of 2008
Student Affairs Program Manager, The International School of Hospitality

As a student, UNLVino was a practical way to learn about planning and executing large events within the industry. As an alumni, UNLVino is a great event to grow scholarships for the hospitality program, but at the same time, it presents a sophisticated event this is enjoyable to attend as a consumer.

~ Jeff Yedlin
Class of 2002 and 2008
Director of Food and Beverage, Hilton Worldwide

Going to UNLVino is like taking a world tour in one night!

~ Marco Benvenuti
Class of 2002
Co-founder and Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Duetto

When Larry (Ruvo) and Harrah College Founding Dean Jerry Vallen began putting UNLVino on 44 years ago, no one could have imagined it would evolve into what it is today! It was their passion for education that sparked the idea for the event, and it’s our passion for education that keeps it going.

~ Stowe Shoemaker
William F. Harrah College of Hospitality

UNLVino offered me the opportunity to meet up with friends, also Rebels, and enjoy each other’s company while reminiscing about our college days. Why wouldn’t we toast to the memories in the spirit of education!

~ Jennifer Oshiro Rivers
Class of 2005 and 2008 Senior Sales Manager, Groups, Cirque du Soleil

It’s not every event that allows you to have a blast, enjoy culinary delights from some of our best local talent, see all of your friends from the community, AND, support the university’s Hospitality program. I love that UNLVino is an event by the community and for the community and I love that we can make an impact for the future industry leaders studying at UNLV.

~ Ann Hoff
Class of 1990
President & COO, Excalibur Hotel & Casino

UNLVINO is important to support annually because it allows student involvement in the planning and execution of a large scale culinary and beverage event and it raises awareness and scholarship dollars to future students. Cheers

~ Donald Ross
Vice President, Catering, Conventions & Events, Caesars Entertainment

I love how UNLVino brings together students, faculty, alumni, industry and the Las Vegas community for an evening of fun and entertainment over a glass of wine. Every year I get to connect with someone that I haven’t seen in awhile!

~ Charles Beris
Class of 2013
Regional Director - West, Play with a Purpose

As UNLVino turns 44, we’re marking our 25th anniversary of involvement. We began as student volunteers, graduated to alumni attendees, and support as industry peers! UNLVino is the premier Las Vegas tradition for the College of Hospitality and our industry - it’s always a great celebration of food and drink, an opportunity to reunite with old friends, and truly fun way to support scholarship!

~ Robin Slipock and Brian Slipock
Robin - Class of 1993
Brian - Class of 1995
Owners, Jackson’s Bar & Grill

UNLVino has been an amazing event from the first day it was founded and run by Jerry Vallen and Larry Ruvo in Southern’s warehouse. Wow…we have come a long way from sipping between the pallets of wine to sipping the grandeur of the Ruvo Center! But, the students have been and remain the lucky beneficiaries.

~ Pat Moreo
Class of 1969 and 1983
Dean, University of Southern Florida

It is THE hospitality industry’s annual reunion. UNLVino is where ideas and industry colleagues come together for a great cause as we support scholarships.

~ Holly Weberg
Class of 1990
Manager - Strategic Alliances, Caesars Entertainment

For me, UNLVino means new wine and old friends. I would always ask our sommelier, fellow alumni Ken Vogt, “What should I not miss?” Most of the time I am talking to old friends instead of drinking but it’s sensory overload!

~ Holly Mae Lindsay
Class of 1999
Senior Business Manager,
Delmonico Steakhouse

A not-to-be-missed night of celebrating friendships while discovering new wines. This is one fun charity event!

~ Tim Lam
Class of 2004
Executive Director, The International School of Hospitality

As a student, it was very clear that UNLVino was the hospitality school’s marquee event. It was a long and tiresome day working it but it was very fulfilling. The best part was looking forward to attending as an alum!

~ Phillip Luchetta
Class of 2000
Vice President,
America Financial Service