Thanks to all of our Lawrence-area Jayhawks who attended a wine tasting and networking event on Oct. 23 at the Adams Alumni Center. The crowd of around 75 people was educated by sommelier Drew Robinson, b’85, on all things wine—from acidity to zinfandel and so much more.
Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, vice president of alumni programs, and Brandon Petz, b’06, g’07, local volunteer, shared some updates about the Alumni Association and the Lawrence network.
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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Guests had a special treat at this year’s event: former KU basketball coach Ted Owens, who led two teams to the Final Four and won a record 206 games in Allen Fieldhouse, shared stories from his time at KU and offered his thoughts on this year’s team.
The 90 Jayhawks who attended also enjoyed a tasting of Somerset Ridge wines while bidding on unique KU items in the silent auction.
Somerset Ridge is a family-owned vineyard operated by proud Jayhawks Cindy, j’82, and Dennis Reynolds, c’81, l’84. Thanks to chapter volunteer Steve Rottinghaus, j’90, for sharing his photos from the event with us—watch the slideshow below, or see them on Flickr.
This event is part of the ‘Hawk Days of Summer, the KU Alumni Association’s annual summer sojourn across the country and around the world. The 90-day series of events resulted from a determination to make the most of the summer months. The 2014 tour kicked off on Saturday, May 17, and includes picnics, receptions, baseball games and more. Visit our online calendar to find upcoming events near you.
The KU Alumni Association plans over 500 events every year for chapters across the country, and wine tastings are a popular event for many groups.
The Colorado Springs Chapter held their third annual wine tasting on April 20 at the Patty Jewett Clubhouse. Jayhawks who attended enjoyed wine and appetizers, along with a silent auction of KU items. Danny Lewis, director of alumni programs, attended the event to share updates from the Hill.
Chapter leader Julie Andrews, d’81, provided photos for us:
The next day, April 21, Jayhawk alumni, fans and friends in the Manhattan area took over the upstairs room at Varney’s bookstore for the Flint Hills Chapter’s wine tasting.
Chad Lohman led a tasting of Italian wines from the Piedmont area, and the event also featured a silent auction and raffle with unique KU items. Dr. Larry Stoppel, c’73, a member of the Alumni Association’s national Board of Directors and frequent event photographer, provided the photos below:
Be sure to check out our list of chapters to find one near you! We’re busy planning the third edition of ‘Hawk Days of Summer, where staff members will travel the country to host events to bring Jayhawks together. A full schedule will be available soon.
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.