Wine not? SRJC wine classic great success for community college


Ali Benzerara, Sports Editor

Santa Rosa Junior College raised close to $100,000 for student programs and scholarships on Feb. 12 by wining and dining. Guests enjoyed wine from 30 local wineries and tasted  culinary treats from students and alumni at the third SRJC Wine Classic.

As a part of the WINE 131 class, students used this event to familiarize themselves with the process of putting on a wine-tasting event.

“Yesterday we moved tables, buckets, pitchers and got everything in place. It took us a few hours,” said WINE 131 student Robin Spriggs. “After the event we will clean up and break down everything so it’s ready for class tomorrow.”

The Wine Classic gives the community an extravagant opportunity to see SRJC in a wine-industry light, connecting the college and community while giving back to it as well.

“It’s events like this where we build our community and our base as a college, and really show how deeply we are rooted in this community,” said SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong. “It’s very uplifting to see people come out and support our college.”

The annual SRJC Wine Classic is a student-run event spearheaded by St. Francis Winery President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Silva and SRJC instructor Audrey Le Baudour. The event is put on with the help of 40 SRJC students and alumni from the culinary arts department, wine studies program and international students program.

The money raised from the event goes towards scholarships and programs for culinary arts, hospitality and viticulture students. In addition to funding scholarships, students working the event can network with local winery owners for future employment opportunitiesmaking the event extremely beneficial to students.

Chong and Silva greeted guests upon arrival and handed them an etched SRJC agriculture crystal Riedal wine glass, included with the $75 ticket price.

The cafeteria was given an upscale look, and provided comfort for guests as they tasted wine poured by local owners and winemakers.

There were 82 local wines poured, some cultured from vines as old as 130 years, such as the Kunde Family Winery’s 2014 Reserve Century Vines Zinfandel.

The culinary arts department created a food-lovers island in the middle of the cafeteria, filling it with gourmet appetizers prepared by SRJC culinary arts students and alumni.

Current culinary students opened fresh oysters provided by Bodega Oyster Company. Herbed goat cheese and caper tapenade crostini’s, spicy shrimp salad shooters and ahi tuna tartare cups were served by SRJC alum Andrew Jetson, 26, owner of Croques and Toques food truck. Brunch Anytime, started by alumna Lisa Cameron, created a colorful Cajun jambalaya, chicken Bourguignon over polenta and posole rojo appetizers.

Along with the appetizers supplied by SRJC Culinary Arts and its alumni, cheese boards were donated by Oliver’s Market and Jackson Family Winery provided gourmet tapas. Crispy pork