History & mission
The mission of Wine Forum of Oklahoma is to disseminate a wine education program for the students of Oklahoma State University and the community-at-large; promote the many facets of wine and its role in complimenting food, tourism and economic development; and to increase the recognition of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management as a world-class education and research institution dedicated to developing future hospitality professionals within the wine, culinary and related industries. Wine Forum of Oklahoma also has a special interest in celebrating Oklahoma-connected wine producers and purveyors from around the globe.
The vision of Wine Forum of Oklahoma is to be the world-class wine education and outreach program in Oklahoma dedicated to the promotion and development of Oklahoma State University students, the community-at-large, and food and wine industries.
Wine Forum of Oklahoma began in the spring of 2009 as the idea of Marilynn and Carl Thoma, dedicated OSU alumni and owners of Van Duzer Vineyards. The event offered wine enthusiasts and professionals educational seminars, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and vintner dinners. The Wine Forum provided students the opportunity to plan, implement and manage a major event as part of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration curriculum. Funds raised provided scholarships and professional development for the students.
The first keynote speaker was Tim Hanni, one of two Americans to earn the title of “Master of Wine.” Master Chef Alain Sailhac, the executive director of the French Culinary Institute in New York City, was the celebrity chef for the first Wine Forum.
With Honorary Chairs Jeannette and Dick Sias, owners of Joullian Vineyards in California’s Carmel Valley, the theme for the second biennial Wine Forum was Cowboys and Gauchos and celebrated the wine and beef cultures of North and South America. Argentina’s celebrity chef, Francis Mallmann, was the keynote speaker. Mallmann is well known for cooking with wood fire and cast iron.
Of Wine, Women and the West was the theme for the 2013 Wine Forum. We celebrated the spirit of the west with two very special women. Our celebrity chef was Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman and Food Network star and Honorary Chair Beth Nickel, proprietress of Nickel and Nickel Winery. The event grew approximately 300%, student participation increased and a student marketing committee was added to help promote the event.
Bill and LaRue Stoller, owners of Stoller Family Estate from Dayton, Oregon served as our Honorary Chairs and Oklahoma City’s own Kurt Fleischfresser was the Celebrity Chef. The theme was Beyond Borders, celebrating wines from around the world. A new pre-event, Vendange, introduced the Wine Forum to area alumni and friends. Student participation reached a record of 150 students and the Ambassador committee was added for outreach and to help with the gala auction.
The 2017 Wine Forum emerged to a new level. The event was hosted in the new North Wing of the Human Sciences building and utilized its new technology. K.R. Rombauer was the Honorary chair, and the Scholarship Auction was steered by well-known auctioneer Karen Sorbo. The marketing committee took the initiative to re-brand the event by modernizing the logo and website.
Father-daughter duos Ed Mascarin and Mia Mascarin-Oven of 32 Winds Wine and Larry Bump and Tricia Bump Davis of Darms Lane Winery toasted to the 10th year of Wine Forum with Honorary Culinary Chair Master Chef Jonathan Moosmiller at the gala. 2019 also saw five Master Sommeliers featured in seminars among other world renowned speakers, as we welcomed record breaking numbers of wineries, chefs and attendees to the Wine Forum of Oklahoma.