On Saturday night, April 16, The Grand Ballroom at the Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, hosted throngs of tipplers and nibblers as wine and food aficionados from all points of the globe flooded into the glittering chandelier lit area to celebrate UNLVino 2016 with the Grand Tasting. Students from the UNLV Culinary Arts beamed as they handed out Asian creations, seafood samples, sliders, salads, appetizers and desserts.
An impressive number of wine and beverage providers complemented the food offerings. Among some of my local and international favorites and familiars (and perhaps yours as well); Asahi Beer USA, Inc., Azzurre Spirits, Banfi / Excelsior, Casa Noble, Castle Rock Winery, Chopin Imports, LTD, Cline Family Cellars, Don Julio Tequila, Far Niente Wine Estates, Ferrari-Carano, FIJI Water, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Freixenet USA, Full Sail Brewing Company, Grey Goose, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Freixenet USA, Full Sail Brewing Company, Grey Goose, Nevada Wine Cellars (Pahrump), Santa Margherita USA, and many more.
There was a local flavor throughout with culinary samplings plus scrumptious desserts from Crazy Pita Restaurant, DW Bistro, HEXX Kitchen+ Bar, MTO Café, Scarpetta, D.O.C.G. enoteca and SkinnyFats.
Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of government relations and corporate responsibility at Caesars Entertainment, temporarily shared the center stage with the Shaun DeGraff Band as she was gifted a framed white chef’s coat signed by students who helped with the event, then introduced UNLV President Len Jessup to the festive crowd.
In 1974, Larry Ruvo, managing director of Southern Wine & Spirits, and Jerry Vallen, dean of what’s now the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, put their heads and hearts together to create a means to a raise scholarship funds for students. Thus, UNLVino was born in a Southern Wine & Spirits warehouse on Wynn Road. Forty years later, UNVLino Bubblicous and the Grand Tasting are two of the most popular annual events in Las Vegas and have raised millions of dollars for students.