by Caitlyn Lopez
Hosts at the Trinchero Family Estate Winery could have allowed January’s bad weather to rain on their parade; but instead, they used the experience as an opportunity to show 10 Harrah Hotel College scholarship recipients what hospitality is all about.
Scrapping plans to host the students’ welcome reception at the winery’s Hospitality Center, the Trinchero chef and staff braved the rain, transporting all of the ingredients to the inn where the students were staying. Before long, the students were helping to prepare the meal.
“It was a unique experience that I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere else,” said student Hamilton Tran. “This was one of the best opportunities I’ve had with UNLV, and I was proud to be able to represent the Hotel College.”
The impromptu dinner was the first of several unique experiences students enjoyed as part of the 2017 Trinchero Family Estates’ wine education scholarship, awarded this year to Monica Mencer, Jessica Hillman, Nicole Edrington, Reid McGill, Hamilton Tran, Kevin Huang, Tina Welch, Lauren (Yu) Liu, Rochelle Good, and Hernan Banos
Offered to up to 12 qualifying students each year, the Trinchero scholarship provides three days of hands-on learning opportunities as well as tours of the estates’ wine cellars, winemaking facilities, and vineyards in Napa Valley.
“This educational experience is unique and unparalleled to any others the students receive in a classroom setting. This opportunity will definitely set them apart as they launch their hospitality careers,” said Harrah Hotel College instructor and program coordinator Mohsen Azizsoltani.
A few key educational sessions focused on wine/food pairings, allowing students—many of whom are concentrating in food and beverage—to learn how to enhance a meal using wine.
“Pairing food with wine is imperative for success in any food-and-beverage setting,” said scholarship recipient Monica Mencer. “If the meal negatively impacts the flavor profile of the wine – or vice versa – guests may leave with an inaccurate impression of what the chef intended to serve.”
The students enjoyed several exquisite meals prepared by estate staff while learning about the Napa Valley region and Trinchero’s 70-year history as wine pioneers. An additional trip highlight included a VIP stay at the historic Sutter Home Victorian Inn.
“For most students, this is their first time visiting a wine region,” said Barry Wiss, Trinchero’s vice president of communications and trade relations. “We want this experience to be the first of many by showing them wine regions are amazing places that offer great food, great wines and great times – really, the finest things in life.”
Through its educational programs, Trinchero aims to elevate the quality of the hospitality industry by elevating the accessibility of quality wine education.
“Trinchero Family Estate has been a big supporter of our college's wine education program for the past 13 years by donating their time and resources,” Azizsoltani said. “We are grateful to Mr. Wiss and his team for investing in the education of our students.”
As students began mastering the art of food and wine pairing, it was clear they were also learning how well wine pairs with friendship.
“I really appreciated the camaraderie among students and professors that developed,” Mencer said. “Although I have had a few of the scholarship recipients in my classes, I never got to know them on a personal level. It is amazing how a centuries-old beverage can bring people together.”