POSTED ON MARCH 25, 2009:
Wine Me, Dine Me
First annual Wine Forum of Oklahoma a two day sensory extravaganza
Look, smell, taste. Learning how to drink wine is an adventure that will deepen your appreciation for both wines and winemakers.
For those of you avid wine lovers, how does two full days of nothing but wine sound? It's a dream come true for wine lovers on April 3 and 4 as Oklahoma State University's School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration and College of Human Environmental Sciences hosts the first Wine Forum of Oklahoma. The inaugural event features two full days of educational wine seminars, wine tastings and gourmet dining.
This event takes place on the OSU Stillwater campus and the funds raised provide scholarships for hotel and restaurant administration students. Sixty-six students from the school have volunteered to work the event.
The event's keynote speaker is Tim Hanni, one of the two American residents to complete a formal examination that earned him the title Master of Wine. Hanni, CEO of Napa Seasoning Company, is also a Certified Wine Educator with the Society of Wine Educators and a professionally trained chef.
With more than 35 years of wine, food and education experience under his apron, Hanni will present two lectures in the Student Union Little Theater on the OSU Stillwater campus. The first, "Vines to Wines", takes place on April 3 at 1pm; and his second lecture, "Why You Like What You Like", is at 12:30pm on April 4. Drawing from his research, Hanni focuses on how human sensations connect us to our physical world and how the brain processes sensory experiences.
Other seminars feature speakers such as G.M. "Pooch" Pucilowski, sommelier and fine wine consultant Christie Dufault, winemaker Jim Kakacek, Tulsa World's Scene and Spot editor Mark Brown, OSU professors Bob Miller and Eric Stafne and Chef Kurt Fleischfresser of The Coach House. Also speaking will be Celebrity Chef Alain Sailhac, executive vice president and Dean of Emeritus of the French Culinary Institute in New York City.
The main event, the Grand Tasting, takes place the evening of April 3 at the College of Environmental Sciences Courtyard. Vintners from around the world will pour samples from their wineries and discuss their latest offerings with guests. Restaurants from across the region will serve samples of their finest cuisine. Mark Bruner and Shelby Eicher, the popular acoustic duo from Tulsa, provide live entertainment throughout the evening. The suggested dress code for this event is business casual and the cost for is $75 per person.
Chef Sailhac, named Chef of the Year in 1997 by the Master Chefs of France, serves as Master Chef for the gala dinner on April 4. Other chefs at the dinner include Tulsa's Tuck Curren, head chef at The Local Table and Biga, Robert Black from Cheevers, Curtis Bramlett from Bolero and LeCep Bistro, Alain and Michael Buthion from La Baguette Bistro, David North from the Oakwood Country Club and Joe Prichard from Pete's Place. The dinner is open to patrons of the Wine Forum of Oklahoma; and the dress code is Black Tie optional. Award-winning author and reporter, Michael Wallis serves as Master of Ceremony for the dinner.
The dinner will also include a live auction hosted by "Tulsa's Charity Auctioneer" Jay Litchfield. Litchfield was honored in 2005 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals with the "Pillar Award" for outstanding service to nonprofits.
Co-chairs for the event are Steve and Sue Gerlain from Tulsa. David Egan, John Bennett and Brian Hesler are members of the executive committee. The forum's director is OSU instructor Philippe Garmy. You may find him or his assistant and event manager, Susan Anderson, walking around making sure everything is in order. Garmy believes that wine, as with all potables, are growing in popularity. As a nation we are "romancing the beverage" as well as the healthy Mediterranean style diet that embraces wine consumption.
"We hope to have this event every two years; on the off year of the Philbrook Wine Experience so that we are not competing because we respect what they do," said Garmy.
Garmy also teaches a wine course at OSU. It is an elective course so that students beyond the hotel and restaurant administration can enhance their next fine dining experience.
Honorary co-chairs, OSU alumni and owners of Van Duzer Vineyards, Carl and Marilynn Thoma states on the event's Web site, "We are proud to support the inaugural Oklahoma Wine Forum as it assembles for our enjoyment vintners who grow and make fine wine and scientists who understand our perceptions of wine, chefs and wine educators."
All events are individually priced. For more details on the event or ticket information, visit www.wineforumofoklahoma.com or call (405)744-7600.
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