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It has been a banner year for the Wine & Food Foundation, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to give our community a little recap! 

We kicked off 2022 with Big Reds & Bubbles in early February. What better way to kick off Valentine’s Day weekend than with bubbles and big bold reds?! The event featured top-notch wineries from around the world as well as some of Austin’s best restaurants. Registration is now open for BRB 2023 – with Urban Roots as our Beneficiary – and tickets are selling even faster than last year – scoop yours up soon!

Tickets are on sale now!

Our next Premier Event was Toast of Texas – where we celebrate and support our local Texas winemakers. This year, we added a VIP component at which Shelly Wilfong of This Is Texas Wine podcast selected her Top 5 Texas Wines of 2022, and invited those winemakers to join her on a panel. The sold-out crowd got to taste these top-notch wines and engage with these talented Texas winemakers. Save the date for ToT 2023 – Sunday, April 23rd!

Toast of Texas 2022

Rombauer Vineyards sponsored our annual Membership Drive in September on the rooftop of the JW Marriott in downtown Austin. We drank delicious Rombauer wine, brought in a slew of new members, and Rombauer donated a portion of the ticket sales back to WFF to help support our mission.  Thank you to our friends at Rombauer and our new members!

November marked the 36th Annual Rare & Fine Wine Auction Gala weekend.  We knew our community would be excited when we announced that Paul Hobbs would be our Featured Winemaker, but nothing could have prepared us for how fast tickets went! As always, we kicked off the festivities on Thursday evening with the Kick-Off BBQ with wines from Portugal’s Quinta do Crasto. On Friday, Paul Hobbs led guests through a sold-out, four-course lunch paired perfectly with his top-notch wines at the Featured Winemaker Luncheon. We crushed our fundraising goals at the Auction Gala on Saturday evening – enabling us to donate nearly $7,000 to the professional sommeliers who volunteered at the event, and $15,000 to our beneficiary and good friends at Lift Collective!

36th Annual Rare & Fine Wine Auction Gala

Some other notable happenings….

We learned so much throughout this year’s IMBIBE Education Series in WFF’s brand-spanking new Central Austin tasting room! And we launched our monthly Members-Only Happy Hour and Bottle Share events, which are such a fun way to gather with like-minded wine & food enthusiasts!

Finally – some well-deserved shout-outs:

  • A huge shout-out to our sponsors . . . especially H-E-BTwin Liquors, RombauerCapstone Title, Heritage TitleThe Label CollectiveMarquee Event Group, Vine Vault, and so many others. Your support enabled us to meet and exceed our goals for the year!
  • Thank you to our members who make our world go ‘round! We love having such an engaged community of wine & food enthusiasts and have so enjoyed getting to know you at our events. And to the rest of our community – event guests, hospitality industry, volunteers, partners, beneficiaries, etc. – thank you for breaking bread with us this year!
  • Thank you to our stellar Board of Directors, who have been highly engaged and incredibly generous with their time, connections and resources. An extra special thank you to our outgoing Board President, Jerry Valdez – for his leadership and dedication throughout your two-year tenure! And welcome to our incoming Board President, Amber Pearce Shaw!
  • Last, but certainly not least, thank you to the WFF team – Sarah, Pam, & Katie. We are small but mighty, and we get the job done! You all have stepped up and gone above and beyond to create and produce memorable events for our community and enable us to give back in meaningful ways.
WFF Named Lift Collective as the Rare & Fine Wine Auction Gala Beneficiary for the 2nd year in a row.

I am so grateful for this amazing community and for such a fulfilling year. I am looking forward to a week of relaxation, family time, and of course – great wine and food – while I recharge for what is sure to be another fantastic year ahead! Wishing you all a peaceful, relaxing, and delicious holiday! I look forward to seeing you at our events in 2023!



Executive Director

As WFF’s Executive Director, Denise is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Foundation – promoting its mission to cultivate the wine & food community and ensuring high program value for its members and stakeholders. Denise has 20+ years’ of experience in events/hospitality, team management, business development, marketing, philanthropy, and operations. Read More…