The lure of free food and alcohol brought out a crowd to the House 5 in the Village at 115th last Thursday, April 16. The Upperclass Experience’s (UCE) Wine Tasting event included eight types of wine presented by sommelier Monica Minck. Graduate Resident Mentors (GRMs) Angeline Catena and Bryan Kessler planned the event, one of the many UCE events offered to students each semester to help prepare students for life after graduation.
Minck guided students throughout the evening, transitioning from light white wines to bolder reds to ensure each subsequent wine wouldn’t be overpowered by the previous wine’s flavors. Each wine catered to the crowd at hand, found in Constantino’s Market at a reasonable cost of around $10 per bottle. Paired with various cheeses and other light hors d’oeuvres, live piano music set the backdrop as upperclassmen mingled and enjoyed the reprieve from the looming stress of final exams.
Minck carefully explained the factors affecting a wine’s true flavors, from the soil in which grapes are grown to the oak aging process. Sparking discussion amongst students about food and wine pairings, an often intimidating detail, Minck explained the use of spices impact your choices more than the traditional meat or fish dichotomy. Minck emphasized using your own taste preferences, as long as the wine never overpowers the flavors of the food or the sweetness of the dessert.
Networking tips were also shared after each wine description. Catena and Kessler stressed the importance of handing out professional business cards during networking events, a detail often overlooked by the recent graduate crowd. A simple, individualized “thank you” note to new contacts further sets you apart and opens the door to more meaningful network connections.
The UCE staff’s successful wine tasting event was well received from both sides. Sydney Covelli, a senior at the event, enjoyed the event’s fast and useful networking tips, presented without imposing on the enjoyment of its sophisticated atmosphere. Kessler and Catena were thrilled with how enthusiastic and attentive the guests were, emphasizing the importance of such events for UCE community members as an opportunity to learn and practice networking in a professional setting before entering the real world.