The 42nd annual UNLVino, offering tastings of wines, spirits and beers, will be held April 14-16. UNLVino is Nevada’s largest and oldest wine festival, showcasing an international beverage array to raise millions of dollars for Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada Raise Scholarship Funds, which benefits students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration.
The three-day event includes tastings and will honor three recipients of the Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence. Three individuals selected are those who have “distinguished themselves by setting an example through their inspirational leadership, character and work ethic.”
The tastings include:
Bubble-Licious at The Venetian’s Doge’s Palace on April 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. UNLVino will pop hundreds of bottles of champagne and sparkling wine at Bubble-Licious, under the stars at the Venetian’s Doge’s Palace. A fan-favorite event, Bubble-Licious guests will enjoy small plates from the Venetian and Palazzo’s outstanding collection of restaurants.
Rob Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of The Venetian and The Palazzo, is the honoree of the 2016 Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence during Bubble-Vicious.
Sake Fever at Red Rock Pool on April 15 from 7 to 10 p.m. UNLVino will introduce sakes, craft beer and craft spirits from around the world while reintroducing the popular Sake Fever with an exciting new twist, melding the best of the East and West. Surrounding Red Rock’s scenic pool, the evening will showcase Vegas’ mixology scene, an extensive selection of sakes, plus Japanese and American cuisine from some of the city’s favorite restaurants.
Brian Massie, executive chef for Light Group, is the honoree of the 2016 Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence during Sake Fever.
The Grand Tasting at Paris Las Vegas on April 16 from 7 to 10 p.m. UNLVino’s time-honored Grand Tasting will delight guests with an unrivaled collection of premium beverages and a fresh entertainment lineup. Delectable cuisine from UNLV’s culinary students and celebrated Las Vegas restaurants will be featured.
Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of communications, governor relations and corporate responsibility for Caesars Entertainment, is the honoree of the Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence during The Grand Tasting.
The annual fundraising event has grown from warehouse gamble into a full-blown food festival. When Jerome “Jerry” Vallen was hired in 1967 to start UNLV’s hospitality program, someone proposed a summer wine tasting class. The idea made sense to Vallen. The first classes were held at the Las Vegas Convention Center and taught by a sommelier from the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel and Casino. After the class was completed, the school offered to give the wine back to the distributors, which wasn’t allowed by law but made an impression on the company.
Larry Ruvo, head of Southern Wine & Spirits, approached Vallen about starting a wine tasting in 1974, with the proceeds going to the hotel college scholarship fund. The first event was held in the Southern Wine & Spirits warehouse with fewer than 50 attendees. UNLVino eventually outgrew the warehouse site and moved to the Thomas & Mack Center.
“It really has gone from a wine event to a food and wine festival,” said Mohsen Azizsoltani, a former hospitality professor who has been the event coordinator for the past 20 years. Azizsoltani has also seen an increased focus on students gaining valuable hospitality experience at the event. The professor says it’s not uncommon for students to see job offers after using the UNLVino experience as a networking opportunity. “The partnership with Southern Wine & Spirits is very strong. Without them, we really couldn’t be this successful at all,” Azizsoltani stated.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit unlvino.com.