The McAllen Chamber of Commerce, together with Santa Fe Steakhouse, successfully undertook its ninth annual Santa Fe Wine Classic event at the historic Quinta Mazatlan. Upon walking in, guests were welcomed with a personal wine glass to sample wines from all over the world, including California’s Napa Valley, Argentina, Italy, and Spain. Rows of vendors lined the hallways of the nature center with over 300 bottles of white, red, and blush wines. Guests welcomed the opportunity to talk to experts in the industry, including winemakers who actually work in vineyards. Pairings of food and wine were suggested from some of the best restaurants in the Valley, including Santa Fe Steakhouse, SALT New American Table, and Bodega. Jazz music filled the air while patrons indulged in a luxurious and classic evening under the stars.
“I look forward to this event every year and I just want to say that I went to Austin, Texas, two weeks ago to a similar event and this is 100 times better,” said Jesus Gonzalez from NIU Urban Living furniture store in McAllen. “So, I’m so proud of McAllen and the Chamber of Commerce.”
This year’s theme was “Vintage Hollywood Glamour: A Night With the Stars,” meaning there was plenty of room for sparkling drinks and shiny attire. Tickets for the event sell at $125 and every year, including this year, tickets sell out at least a month in advance. People come for delectable treats and drinks but enjoy knowing the event donates all of the proceeds to Mcallen ISD. Every year, funds from the event support 25 of McAllen’s top students by awarding them a $1,000 scholarship upon graduation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Lamar Academy in McAllen.
“This event is for a worthy cause,” said Albert Rego, co-owner of the Santa Fe Steakhouse and one of the partners who started the annual Santa Fe Wine Classic. “This is to raise monies for the top students regardless if they have or haven’t received other scholarships, regardless of their demographic, or income, they will be rewarded through their merit and hard work.
“You get to see the parents, how appreciative they are, you see how much the kids appreciate it, and then they come back and tell us the stories of what they did with that money. We’re doing this for a charitable organization,” Rego added.
The organization is the McAllen Chamber Education Initiative and over the last eight years, nearly $400,000 have been raised for scholarships, supplies, and program donations for McAllen ISD students.
Gerry Garcia, vice president of Special Projects for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce guarantees to all guests, past and future, that all proceeds go to the students of McAllen. “I want people to know that when they’re coming here, yes, they’re enjoying the food and the wine, but the fee of $125 per person really does go to McAllen ISD and its students,” he said.
So let’s raise our glasses and give cheers to a wonderful night that acts as a celebration of the world’s finest wines, the Valley’s most delicious food, and one of the few extravagant and fun ways to support education in our area.