This year, the largest wine tasting in the region is kicking it up a notch.
Charity di Vino, the annual wine tasting event put on by the Greater Ramsey Chapter of UNICO, an Italian-American service organization, is next Friday, Oct. 26, at Mahwah’s Sheraton Hotel. According to event co-chairs Lou LaVigna and Joe Tredici, this year’s event is building upon already-successful past years.
The first big change for Charity di Vino is a switch from holding it on a Thursday to a Friday night. “We wanted to make it as convenient as possible for people to come,” LaVigna said of the switch. Friday night will also allow the group to open Illusions, the Sheraton’s nightclub, for an after party following the wine tasting. The after party will feature a live band, DJ and karaoke.
Also new this year will be a wine seminar. “It’s kind of like wine-tasting for dummies,” LaVigna said. “There’s an educational aspect to it. So, people who really want to learn more about the different wines can do that.”
Local chefs will compete in a pasta cook-off that will be judged by all attendees. “This year, the chefs are making enough for everyone, so we can all try some and vote for our favorite,” Tredici said. “It’s just a fun way for everybody to get involved in that part of the night.”
And, the staples of the event that community members have come to love over the past three years – like a cake from the Cake Boss’s Carlo’s Bakery, Brooklyn Cannoli’s, imported cheeses, pasta and other food stations, raffle prizes, a live auction, and of course varieties of wines and beers from around the globe – will all be back this year.
And, Starbucks will be on site, serving the 1,000 cups of coffee the company donated to the event.
According to Tredici, the most important component of Charity di Vino is the charitable aspect.
“That’s what it is really all about,” he said. “Over the past three years, we have raised over $100,000, and it all goes back to the community.”
The event this year will benefit four local organizations - The Center for Food Action, which provides food and other emergency assistance to those in need in Northern NJ, Meals on Wheels, which delivers food to people in need, Hearts and Crafts in Ramsey, which provides grief counseling, and Meaningful Movements in Midland Park, which provides dance and exercise classes to disabled children and adults.
“The event is just packed with great things to do, you really get so much,” Tredici said. "And, on top of that, you know your money is benefitting charities right here.”
Tickets for Charity di Vino are on sale on UNICO’s website. They are $75 (buy five get one free) in advance, or $90 at the door.
See the attached flier for more details.