Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Lessons on tap for students at wine fest

Pop! Let the sipping begin.

The University of Denver is playing host to the 4th Annual Denver International Wine Festival Oct. 29 to Nov. 1. Festivities will take place at the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM).

But this year’s event isn’t just about the wine.

“We’ve placed much more emphasis on learning opportunities for students this year,” says HRTM director David Corsun.

Corsun says 30 HRTM student apprentices are working with organizers to produce the festival.

“Our students are learning about various aspects of event management by participating as volunteers in the festival, enhancing their knowledge of wine and wine-food pairing,” Corsun says.

All the students have been “save-serve alcohol” certified, meaning the students have successfully completed training in alcohol content, facility liability and knowing when and how to cut someone off from drinking more alcohol. In Colorado, students may serve alcohol at 18 years old.

To prepare, students have been learning about how large events such as this one are managed from start to finish — including publicity, communications, client relations and finance.

“They’ll get a sense of the multitude of functions needed to make large events successful, what the challenges are and begin their hands-on education in the field,” Corsun says.

During the event, students will help winery reps set up displays, prepare to serve guests, help patrons, answer questions, give directions and work with volunteers.

Antoine Perretta, a junior HRTM major from Oxford, Ohio, says the sheer size of the event (up to 1,200 people are expected) makes for good experience.

“It’s definitely one of the larger projects we’ve had,” Perretta says. “I know it has helped me be a better communicator because it involves a lot of different people both inside and outside of the University — good communications helps keep the event problem-free.”

On Wednesday, the event will feature an HRTM fundraising dinner. Corsun hopes to raise $15,000, which will go into an endowed scholarship fund for DU students studying HRTM.

Main activities scheduled are:

Wednesday, Oct. 29
John S. Davies Scholarship fundraiser dinner

Thursday, Oct. 30

“Taste of Elegance” food and wine competition

Friday, Oct. 31
Tour of Front Range wineries

Saturday, Nov. 1

Grand tasting of international wines

Attendees must be at least 21 years old to participate in festival events. Tickets and information are available

Read more: Wine fest to uncork new uses for empty bottles.

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