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UNLVino 2015 saw a 30 percent increase in attendance from 2014. (Photo bySallyann Ficarrotta)
UNLVino 2015 saw a 30 percent increase in attendance from 2014. (Photo bySallyann Ficarrotta)

UNLVino Offers a Taste of Wine for Patrons, Experience for Students

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Culinary and hospitality majors that helped host this year’s edition of UNLVino raised money for scholarships while gaining vital experience prior to graduating.

UNLVino 2015 took place April 16-18. The three-night wine tasting event consisted of Bubble-Licious Thursday at the Venetian/Palazzo, Sake Fever Friday at Red Rock Casino and Resort and Grand Tasting Saturday at Paris Las Vegas. Tickets were $125 in advance and $150 at the door.

“Having worked UNLVino as a student manager for my senior capstone class really helped enlighten me on what it means and what it takes to put on a large event like this,” said Deborah Farmer, hospitality management major. “I have not had a greater or more rewarding college experience than I did working this event.”

Students prepared for UNLVino all semester. “We got donations. We’ve been making sure we know what we’re doing and that we have all our ducks in a row,” said Cydney Appolito, hospitality management major.

Culinary and hospitality majors need 1,000 work hours to graduate, and UNLVino gives them 10 times the amount of hours they volunteer. Some classes are required to participate, and some students volunteer on their own. “Even if it wasn’t required, I would still be here,” said Appolito.

The event consisted of many different booths for sampling food and alcoholic beverages.

“The whole idea here is charity,” said William Garcia, Pernod Ricard supplier. “While we support the students we love to expose, to the average consumer, items and products they would normally not have access to.”

(Photo by Sallyann Ficarrotta)

(Photo by Sallyann Ficarrotta)

Seventy-seven beverage suppliers participated in the event.

“There’s amazing food and delicious wine,” said Yohana Mesfen, UNLVino patron. “I had a lot of fun.” Fifteen restaurants participated including Andre’s, DW Bistro and UNLV Culinary Arts Management. “There are a lot of events students can participate in, but this is the biggest one,” said Senior Zihao Gu.

“They made it a little bit tougher to get into the class this year because the stakes are higher for this event and there is more student involvement now,” said Farmer. As one of the student managers Farmer had a big part in the event, especially with the auctions.

“All of the silent auction and live auction items we had to procure,” said Farmer. “We have more items than we’ve had in the years past, and we’re raising more money than we have in the years past.”

According to Farmer there was a 30 percent increase in attendance from last year’s event. Ticket sales were over $9,000 not including online sales. All ticket sales go toward running the event, while the auction sales go toward scholarships. The silent auction tallied about $25,000 — a $6,000 increase from last year. And that doesn’t even include the total for the live auction.

“It’s a great cause,” said Gene Fowler, UNLVino patron. “UNLV needs all the support it can get.”

Frankie Moreno performed Saturday night and Steve Martorano, owner of Cafe Martorano and four other restaurants, received the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence. In a speech he told the students, “Never take no for an answer,” and “Always believe in yourself.”

UNLVino celebrated its 41st year. It was jointly sponsored by the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration and Southern Wine and Spirits.

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