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UNLVino changes name, plans revised for April bash

UNLVino is evolving into something new, with a little help from Bobby Flay.

Less than a week after the news broke that Vegas Uncork’d won’t return this year, the organizers of the long-running UNLVino festival have revealed plans to transform that event into the Evolution Food & Wine Experience. The inaugural event will take place on April 18 at the new Caesars Forum Convention Center, adjacent to the High Roller observation wheel and The Linq Promenade.

Evolution is a collaboration between Caesars Entertainment and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada. It’s described as “a multi-sensory festival with a focus on immersive activations designed around the best chefs, winemakers, brew masters and distillers in the world.” It will include tastings from over 50 restaurants located on and off the Strip, and over 100 beverage booths.

Evolution will also carry on UNLVino’s educational tradition through a partnership with the university’s William F. Harrah School of Hospitality. Forty students will receive college credits for working in the planning and execution of the event. Furthermore, a portion of the proceeds will be used to fund scholarships.

Another UNLVino tradition that will continue at Evolution is the awarding of the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence. This year’s recipient will be Bobby Flay.

“I am honored to participate and be recognized at the inaugural Evolution festival,” Flay said in a statement announcing the event. “Las Vegas offers the most incredible array of restaurants and chefs in the world. With Evolution, we can support the education of the students, showcase the best in culinary and celebrate the dynamic Las Vegas food scene.”

Tickets for the event, which will run from 7 to 11 p.m., are available online at evolutionlv.com for $150.

UNLVino, which began as an educational event about how to treat wine and was held for UNLV students in a Southern Wine & Spirits warehouse, celebrated its 45th anniversary last year. Over the years, hundreds of students have received credit for participating, and it’s raised millions of dollars for scholarships.

“The hands-on experience our students receive producing this large, high-profile event is something they cannot get anywhere else, and the legacy they leave for other students through funding scholarships is incredibly rewarding,” College of Hospitality Dean Stowe Shoemaker said. “These scholarships are a critical part of the ongoing success of the college, and with the support that Evolution provides, students are granted the opportunity to pursue higher education and a career in the hospitality industry.”

Contact Al Mancini at amancini@reviewjournal.com. Follow AlManciniVegas on Twitter and Instagram.

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