Jayhawks who share hometown roots in Paola and a love of wine recently toured the California wine country, where they discovered more KU connections.
Paola native Sharon Weaver Vitter and her husband, KU Provost Jeffrey Vitter, gathered family and hometown friends for the journey, which included a stop at the Lang & Reed Wine Company, founded in 1996 by Jayhawks John, f’76, and Tracy Armel Skupny, c’77. The group sampled four Lang & Reed wines on a picture-perfect afternoon, and Becky VanWyhe Thomas, e’86, of Baldwin City shared the souvenir photo. The KU contingent included (left to right):
Jim Otten, assoc., Lawrence
Audrey Vitter, Boston
Don Weaver, e’81, New Orleans
Vickie Otten, assoc., Lawrence
Felicia Weaver, New Orleans
John Thomas, j’83, Baldwin City
Becky Van Wyhe Thomas, e’86, Baldwin City
Provost Jeff Vitter, Lawrence
Sharon Weaver Vitter, p’78, Lawrence
Tracey Armel Skupny, c’77, St. Helena, California
John Weaver, e’79, Goodyear, Arizona
Donna Vitter, Paris, France
Kathy Weaver Steele, p’76, Topeka
Roxane Gonser Weaver, Goodyear, Arizona
Steve Steele, d’76, Topeka
Sarah Thomas, j’79, Leawood
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No one could have asked for better weather at this year’s East Kansas Chapter Wine Festival.
Unseasonably cool temperatures greeted nearly 100 Jayhawks as they lounged outside the Somerset Vineyard and Winery, sampling local wine and wood fired pizza. Somerset Ridge is a family-owned vineyard and winery in Paola that has more than 8,000 grapevines and produces more than 5,000 cases of wine each year.
Alumni members received a commemorative KU Alumni Association wine glass for attending the event. Jayhawk fans were also treated to an appearance by Baby Jay, the world’s most photogenic baby bird.
A big thank you to hosts and sponsors Dennis, c’81, l’84, and Cindy Campbell Reynolds, j’82, of Leawood and fellow sponsors John, j’83, and Becky VanWyhe Thomas, e’86, of Baldwin City. Becky, who plays a big part in organizing the wine festival each year, also serves as the president of the East Kansas Chapter and is a past member of the KU Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.
Click here to see pictures from this year’s event, or watch the slideshow below.
Make sure your alumni profile information is up to date so you don’t miss out on fun events like this! Register online at www.kualumni.org/register. Registration is free for all alumni.
The Alumni Association’s annual East Kansas Chapter Wine Festival again was a huge hit on Sunday. The event is held at Somerset Ridge Winery & Vineyard near Paola, which is owned by Dennis, c’81, l’84, and Cindy Reynolds, j’82.
Steve Rottinghaus, j’90, provided this write-up about a special flyover at this year’s event:
Visitors at the most popular—and growing—event for the East Kansas Chapter of the KU Alumni Association received a surprise Sunday.
Already a success because of the entertaining venue and gracious hosts, the Wine Festival added a new feature in 2012—multiple flyovers from pilots in the Beechnutz group. A twin-engine Beechcraft Baron and four single-engine Bonanzas buzzed by the event with nearly 150 KU alumni and friends of the University. After landing in nearby Paola, the pilots joined the festival and took time to savor some fine wine and pose for photos.
Come to find out that Bob “Stones” (all pilots have cool call signs) Hellebuyck, c’75, was one of the pilots. He is an air naval Vietnam veteran (P-3 Orion aircrew) and a Life Member of the KU Alumni Association. Other pilots were Jack “Carbon” Letts, Jim “Sputter” Beyers, Pete “Boom Boom” Rouse and Craig “2B” Wilcox. Ground crew members were Carl “Keys” Carlson and Bob’s wife, Rachel “Bullet” Hellebuyck. The group has been together since 2009. Bob received an invitation to the festival and asked if he could fly over the event before dropping by. Thanks, Bob. That sky-high arrival will be hard to beat.
View photos from the event above, or click here to view them on Flickr.