For nearly four decades, one of California’s leading industries has been a vehicle for raising money for LMU student scholarships. The 39th Annual LMU Wine Classic Fundraiser, on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, will bring wine-lovers together with vintners and proprietors from more than 40 wineries in California, which leads the nation in wine production and consumption.
Funds are raised through ticket sales, and the exhibitors themselves also contribute to the cause: All the wine that’s poured during the event is, in effect, a donation to the cause. Wineries are required to bring two cases of each wine they wish to highlight, and many exhibit more than one wine. Attendees pay no tasting fees, and all the wine that is poured is offered, from the vintner’s point of view, at no charge. No sales take place during the event.
Art Carroll ’61, who established the tasting in 1981, says vintners are drawn to the event for two reasons: First, they support the cause of raising money for student scholarships. Second, because they are, in fact, smaller, boutique operations, their products do not fill the shelves of major supermarket chains. The LMU Wine Classic, then, is an important way of gaining product visibility before a knowledgeable audience. The event has earned a reputation as one of the best wine-tasting events in the state, Carroll says. “It’s a serious wine-tasting, not a party or a gala, and the vintners appreciate that.”
For attendees, part of the classic’s appeal is the rare opportunity to meet with the owners and vintners of smaller boutique operations. They interact with those who make important hands-on decisions, check the vines and put their livelihood on the line as entrepreneurs.
Among the wines to be found at the event are LMU Private Label Wines, produced by Brutocao Cellars. The labels for this year’s LMU wines are newly designed by Amanda Moore ’20, who studies graphic design in the studio arts program of the LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts.
The Wine Classic’s roots go back to Carroll’s desire to blend his interest in wine with his commitment to the university. Carroll, who was named a Distinguished Alumni Awardee in 1989, was raised in a family that regularly served wine at the dinner table. Carroll’s father, like son later, was a wine collector. When Carroll was older, he and his father would taste wine together, comparing notes. Carroll and his family, he says, have been deeply influenced by Jesuit education for years. “This is a labor of love for the education I received at Loyola,” Carroll says.
This article appeared in the winter 2020 issue (Vol. 9, No. 2) of LMU Magazine.