Swirl and Sip for Scholarships

Nevada’s oldest wine-tasting event, UNLVino, is back and is bringing with it a case of Sake Fever.

More than 250 sakes will be on hand at the Palms Pool April 9 for night No. 2 of the three-day festival. The rice wine-themed party is a fresh addition to the annual fundraising event, which was founded in 1974.

UNLVino 2010 begins April 8 at Caesars Palace with a “Bubble-Licious” evening of champagne tasting by the pool and concludes at Bally’s on April 10, where the Grand Tasting will offer an expected crowd of 6,000 more than 2,000 wines to sip, swirl and sample.

“I don’t think you’ll get through all of them,” says Michael Severino of Southern Wine & Spirits, the event’s creator and sponsor.

He suggests two Californian wines—Caymus and Ferrari-Carano—as standouts to look for, and aspiring winos are given a wine guide to help navigate the three-day oenophilic trip around the world. “You’re going to taste wines that normally you wouldn’t have the opportunity to taste all in one area,” Severino says. “You have New Zealand, Australia, Italy, France—it’s an international array of wines.”

Since its inception 36 years ago, UNLVino has raised millions for scholarships and educational programming for the university’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration.

Three local tastemakers will receive the 2010 Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence for their contributions to the local hospitality industry at this year’s event: executive pastry chef and Caesars Palace-based restaurateur François Payard, Golden Gaming President Blake Sartini and Aria president and COO (and UNLV alumnus) Bill McBeath. Tickets $50-$75 in advance or $75-$100 at the door, 739-2367,unlvtickets.com.

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