What better way to welcome fall than with a toast? Representatives of 35 premium wineries will gather next Wednesday for the fourth annual Thirst for a Cause. Several area restaurants and clubs will provide food for the evening, which will include about 200 wines.
The fundraiser is sponsored by Thirst Wine Merchants, an Oklahoma brokerage owned by Alex Kroblin of Oklahoma City and Scott Large of Tulsa.
“The beneficiaries are employees of Oklahoma City’s independent restaurants who have medical emergencies or are in need of urgent medical care,” Kroblin said. “Our charity now operates under the umbrella of the Oklahoma Hospitality Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association.”
Thirst for a Cause brings together some of the best-known names in the wine world — including Turley, Blackbird, Heidi Barrett, Hourglass, Charles Smith, Shafer and Maynard Keenan — to sample.
In addition, attendees can meet the owners and winemakers. Three proprietors will be making their first appearance in Oklahoma: Jeff Smith, Charles Bieler and Heather Phillips.
Smith’s Hourglass Vineyard has been producing small quantities of highly sought-after wine on his St. Helena estate in Napa Valley. His Blueline Vineyard Cabernet Franc is widely considered one of the globe’s best representatives of that varietal. Oklahoma has had access to only a handful of cases from Hourglass over the years.
Bieber helped bring rosé to the U.S., “at a time when people considered rosé cheap and sweet — if they considered it at all,” Kroblin said.
“Bieler traveled the U.S. in a pink Cadillac to promote Routas rosé, his brand from Provence, France, and helped light a fire under what is now a highly respected category,” Kroblin said, calling him a “wine innovator, explorer, marathon runner and New York hipster.”
Phillips is the proprietor for Vine Hill Ranch. Since 1959, her family has been growing grapes, but debuted its first wine in 2008, making it the oldest new wine in Napa.
In addition to supporting a good cause, the event presents a chance to taste food from new fall menus.