Western New York’s premier wine and food tasting event is moving. The 7th Annual Wines of the World (WOW), hosted by Rotary Club of Buffalo and the Buffalo Rotary Foundation, will be held on March 2 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. in the elegantly restored Grande Ballroom at Statler City (107 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo). Tickets are $50 pre-sale/$60 at the event and can be purchased online at www.buffalorotary.org or by calling 716-854-3397. All proceeds will benefit local literacy programs and free valet parking will be available.
“We’re really excited to be at Statler City this year,” said co-chair Laurie Albertsson. “Not only have they restored the Grande Ballroom to bring back its historic beauty, but the Statler’s new Lobby Bar—which is also really beautiful—is just outside the ballroom. So we think the combined experience of WOW from six to nine, then the Statler’s bar nightlife is really going to draw more attendees this year.”
Co-chair Jack Pederson said the Statler’s elegant atmosphere will compliment the food and drink from 10 restaurants, seven wine distributors, six beer distributors, three dessert stations, and stations for cheese, bread dipping, coffee and soft drinks. “WOW has something for everyone’s tastes and takes the whole club to organize,” said Pederson. “It’s a testament to the endless energy of Buffalo Rotary members and the great support we receive from dozens of sponsors and donors that we’ve been able to expand over the years.”
“We started with just wines—and the wines are from all over: the United States, Europe, Australia, South America,” said volunteers co-chair James Tyrpak. “Several years ago we added microbrewed beers and this year we’ve expanded our food and desserts. There’s also free valet parking to take the worry out of that, so we look forward to a fantastic night.”
WOW also offers some something for everyone in its auction, according to auction co-chair Michelle Longley-Helles. “One really unique thing we have is a collection of presidential campaign buttons from 1936 to today,” said Longley-Helles. “We have a vacation trip, an autographed Buffalo Sabres book and game tickets, a wooden croquet set, jewelry, gift certificates to local attractions, restaurants and retail outlets—you name it, we have it.”
Wines of the World began in 2006 as a fundraiser to help Rotary Club of Buffalo meet its commitment to raise $500,000 for the Frank Lloyd Wright Fontana Boathouse, according to WOW co-founder and club president Ron Caruso. “Every year we welcome 500-600 people who help raise funds for much needed projects and organizations in the community,” said Caruso. “This year we’ve set a goal of $50,000 for local literacy programs like Read To Succeed.”
“WOW in and of itself is a fun event. So much food and drink in one place—that surprises people,” said co-founder and auction co-chair Sandie Yeater. “But we’re also able to address community needs and help many not for profits.” Among the organizations that benefited from last year’s proceeds were Cradle Beach, the Food Bank of Western New York and Rotary Rink.
“After several years as a WOW guest, I’ll be a part of WOW at this year’s event as a Rotary member.” said Dennis Black, vice president for University Life and Services at the University at Buffalo. “It’s exciting to see how many people and organizations come together for an evening of hospitality that supports good works year round.”
This year’s sponsors include Adema Heating & Air Conditioning, Allpro Parking, Dengler Roberts Perna Funeral Home, Dignity Memorial, EnergyMark LLC, Gauthier Blacktop, Insty Prints Business Printing, Lawley, the Linde Group, Lumsden & McCormick LLP, Mid City Office Furniture, Mollenberg-Betz, Nickle City Cheese, Pepsi, Savarino Companies, 360 PSG.com and West Herr Auto Group. Wine distributors include Dr Frank’s, Empire North, Lauber, Opici, Martin Scott, Southern Wines and Vias. Beer distributors include Ellicottville Brewing Company, Flying Bison Brewing Company, Lake Placid, Long Trail Brewing Company, McKenzie Hard Cider and Saranac Brewery. Restaurants include Bing’s, Creekview, D’Olivio, Glen Park Tavern, Irishmen, Left Bank, May Jen, Statler City, Templeton Landing and Tuscany on Main.
The mission of Rotary Club of Buffalo is to provide fellowship and networking opportunities for business, professional and community leaders, to provide service to the community, to promote high ethical standards and to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace. In 2010, Rotary Club of Buffalo officially marked 100 years of service to Buffalo, with 150 current active members serving the local and international communities. In addition to distributing many one-time grants, Rotary Club of Buffalo has contributed to such significant projects as the founding of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club (1926); establishing Sunshine Day at Cradle Beach (1945); Rotary Lane next to Mirror Lake (now Hoyt Lake) in Delaware Park; Rotary Rink in Fountain Plaza; Rotary Park next to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fontana Boathouse (for which Buffalo Rotary was a large contributor) and installing the 100-foot-high Rotary Flagpole with 30’ x 60’ flag at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park in downtown Buffalo. Rotary Club of Buffalo is part of Rotary International, a worldwide organization founded in 1905 in Chicago. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 33,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary Club of Buffalo was the 28th club in the world. For more information about Rotary Club of Buffalo, visit www.buffalorotary.org.