Elizabeth Booth

Concentration: Global Wine Studies; Current Student

Publish Date: June 22, 2015


Italian wine country — it’s been the backdrop for countless movies and books. You can probably see it in your mind: the breathtaking villas, rolling hills and sun- dappled vineyards.

Now imagine that same scene as a classroom.

That is exactly what it was for Elizabeth Booth, an Individualized Degree student majoring in global wine studies, who spent nine days in Italy this May as part of the Banfi Scholastic Tour program.

This opportunity was made possible by the Banfi Vintners Foundation, which invited MSU Denver to be one of 11 schools worldwide to participate in the program. The foundation provided a $12,000 grant to fund the immersion experience for one student and faculty member. As part of the tour, the MSU Denver contingent visited Banfi’s family- owned and partner wineries across the country and studied Italian culinary traditions.

“Studying with Banfi is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Booth. “It was the ultimate stepping-stone in achieving my career goals of becoming a master sommelier and owning my own importing company, with a focus on small Italian producers.”

As you might imagine, competition for the award was fierce, with students writing essays discussing their passion for wine and how the experience aligned with their professional goals. Applicants also participated in interviews with faculty and agreed to make public presentations upon return from the trip.

Professor Michael Wray, who accompanied Booth, believes this opportunity reflects the transformative education happening every day in the HTE program.

“It’s one thing to talk about wine in a class, another thing to read about it, or even taste it,” he said. “What we’re talking about here is going to the country, walking the vineyards, talking to the winemakers, tasting the food. That kind of immersive experience can’t help but change the way someone sees the world.”