After 42 years as a springtime tradition, it was recently announced that the Columbia Wine Tasting will take a break this spring to allow organizers at the Columbia College Hospitality Management Program “to refresh the event, and bring it back with a new look and feel in 2020.”

“Event founder, Tom Bender, is stepping back from his event duties after four successful decades,” said Columbia College Hospitality Management Coordinator Don Dickinson. “We’re grateful for all of his efforts, and are going to take some time now to regroup and reimagine the event.”

Bender, recognized statewide for his wine expertise, will continue as an adjunct hospitality management instructor at the college. Bender originally created and coordinated the Columbia Wine Tasting as a benefit for the Columbia College Hospitality Management Program while he was the assistant manager and then manager of the City Hotel in Columbia State Historic Park, where the program educated students. He worked with state park officials, dozens of wineries across the state and many volunteers to build the event into a unique showcase for premium California wines that drew hundreds of attendees each spring.

The event raises funds for hospitality student scholarships, as well as program equipment and supplies, and has been co-hosted by the Columbia College Foundation.

Dickinson said he and his colleagues will use this next year to bring in some new ideas and partners.

“So many exciting things are happening in the food-and-beverage world,” Dickinson said. “Look for us to come back with a great new event next year!”

For more information, call 588-5142.

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