VPAA Gives Seniors a Taste of Sophistication

Lena Williams, Reporter

The university held its first free wine tasting for seniors  Nov. 17.

Dr. David Rehm, Vice President of Academic Affairs and self described wine connoisseur,  hosted the event with the Potentate of Pinot Nior, the Maharajah of Merlot, and the Sovereign of Syrah.

Previously, Dr. Rehm was the Provost at Mount St. Mary University where he began wine tasting events in 2002. The objective is to try various wines, talk about their importance, and look, taste, smell and think about them. The tasting event is an opportunity to help students learn about the etiquette of wine, he said.

”I think any opportunity the university can provide where faculty and staff are interacting in thoughtful and respectful ways with students and preparing them for the world, we should do,” said Rehm.

Eighty students registered for the event and about 60 attended, along with about 20 faculty and staff members. Students, faculty and staff were seated among each other to enhance social interaction beyond school work, just as he has done in the past.

“First, I talked about wine glasses regarding the difference between a red wine glass and a white wine glass. Then, I discussed what you are supposed to do with wine before you taste it.”

He advised students to examine color, viscosity or thickness and the smell. He informed attendees about the types of grapes that go into wine, and began an open discussion about the wines people did and did not like.

”That’s the beauty about wine; it has no truth,” said Rehm.

Rehm said he was thrilled with the event’s success would like to have a wine tasting in during the spring semester.

He would like a fuller attendance rate, and the addition of food.

“It’s a little artificial to taste wine by itself. Wine is meant to be consumed with a meal. In fact, the same wine can taste not so interesting when it is on its own, and then quite interesting when you pair it with food. The taste and caliber of the wine can change,” said Rehm.

He is exploring thoughtful ways to incorporate food. Rehm suggested a sign-up sheet that asks attendees to specify  the food or appetizers they can bring.

“It is not infrequent that for a job interview will be a meal. If you know the role wine plays at a meal and be able to discuss wine, you are displaying that you are made up of more the major and profession you are interested in. The ability to show comfort at a dinner table speaks volumes to a recruiter.”

Students says the event should continue.

“As a senior, it was a great way to connect with my fellow classmates as well as faculty and staff. The VPAA was so welcoming and friendly and was sure to circulate throughout the evening. Having an administration member take the time to get to know the students and what they want at their school spoke volumes,” said Thea Arico, senior education major.

“If there was another wine tasting, I would definitely go to enjoy the wine while I network and connect with my classmates one last time before I graduate,” Matthew Hinton of Writing and senior class advisor, expressed his thoughts of the wine tasting as well:

Mathew Hinton, Coordinator of Writing, said the events enabled students to be engaged with each other as well as faculty and staff as they prepare to set off on their lives and careers.

“This event was essentially prepping our students to have an experience at cocktail hours and functions that may attend throughout their professional careers. This also gives students the opportunity to discover what they enjoy about wine, and not drink for the sake of drinking. It was nice to see students raising themselves up to the level of wanting to be treated as adults, and the opportunity to express their opinion.”