Wine event to benefit hospice

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The eighth-annual Flint Hills Festival of Wines will be March 2-3 and will include a dinner and wine-tasting event to benefit the Homecare & Hospice Foundation.

Christina Nolte, director of development for Homecare & Hospice, said the event will start with a Winemaker Dinner on March 2 at Manhattan Country Club.

She said the multi-course dinner will be paired with different wines for each course. A live auction will follow, when customers can bid on a variety of items.

The event will continue at 6:30 p.m. March 3 at the Clarion Hotel for the Grand Tasting event, where customers can try 250 different wines and spirits from around the world.

“Ticket purchasers just show up, and they get their wine glass and walk around and sample any different wine and spirits that they want,” Nolte said.

Appetizers also will be available from nine restaurants, most of them from the Manhattan area, she said.

Nolte said people can purchase the $40 tickets by calling or stopping by the Homecare & Hospice office, 323 Poyntz Ave.

She said tickets also can be purchased at the door before the event, though there are a limited number available.

Nolte said the Standard Beverage Corporation founded the event and provides all the wine and spirits.

“That way we are able to raise funds so that we can provide charitable care to the community,” she said.

The event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the foundation, Nolte said.

Pat Pesci, director of the hotel and restaurant management program, is on the festival committee and said two groups of K-State students are helping with the benefit.

One of the groups consists of students 21 years of age and older who have taken the eight-week wine tasting class offered at K-State.

“The students pour the wines and talk intelligently about the wines and where they are from,” Pesci said.

He said the other group – one consisting of students under 21 years of age – greet customers. Members of this group also help with the check-in and check-out process.

“It’s a nice blend to help the community,” he said.

Betsy Barrett, associate professor of hotel, restaurant, institution management and dietetics, instructs the wine-tasting class.

Barrett said the students who help with the event and have taken her class learn to evaluate wines based on their color, smell, taste and finish.

“There’s lots of words to describe all that,” she said, “and they can describe it to the person tasting the wine.”

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