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Press Release

Denver Food & Wine Classic Sept. 10-12 offers hospitality students real world experience

Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705

Posted: September 10, 2010

(Denver, Colo.) — Class will be in session for nearly 80 students in the Metropolitan State College of Denver Hospitality, Tourism and Events Department when they work at the 6th Annual Denver Food & Wine Classic on Sept. 10-12.

Although students have volunteered at the campus event in years past for extra credit, this year is the first time the Denver Food & Wine Classic event will be written into their class syllabus, according to John Dienhart, chair of the department.

“Last year, students volunteered on a variety of tasks including preparing desserts to hand out. We discovered our students real-world experience went well beyond the primary tasks, we also became involved in selling tickets and raising funds,” says Dienhart. “This year, we’ve worked it out so that anything we sell we get a percentage on, and these funds go toward our student scholarships."

Presented by Southern Wine & Spirits of Colorado and the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Foundation, the event offers a sampling of more than 600 featured wines, signature spirits and cuisine from more than thirty of Denver’s finest restaurants, a wine auction and a Denver Chef culinary showcase.

It’s a marquee event for the department and the College, according to HTE Professor Michael Wray, who is director of restaurant management. “This is the second-largest festival in Colorado behind Aspen Food and Wine. And it’s the largest wine festival on a college campus.”

The South Beach Food and Wine festival in Florida is bigger, he says, but it is not held on a college campus. In that respect, Metro State students have a unique opportunity for applied-learning activities. It’s what they have asked for, says Wray. "My students have told me this is one of their more valuable experiences. So, instead of me lecturing about the industry, now they get to see the real world. Students sell tickets, work the ticket booth, and organize and check people in. They also intern with a distributor for a day, helping set up their booths and market products."

An event as large as this will also have a “green” element, where some students will monitor the recycling habits of the vendors for the event, and contribute to the goal of reducing landfill waste by 20 percent, Wray adds.

Students will have an opportunity to choose from variety of jobs and activities for their class assignment. Friday features seminars, Saturday offers professional booths, and Sunday sees the students serving as food-wine ambassadors at local restaurants, according to Cindy OnkenGlimm, affiliate faculty member, who is helping to coordinate student activities for the weekend.

For more information and ticket prices for the following events, visit the


About Metropolitan State College of Denver

With more than 24,000 students, Metro State is Colorado’s leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans. Starting in the fall of 2010, the College is offering master’s degrees in accounting and teacher education, with plans to offer a master’s in social work in fall 2011. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts 67,500 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.