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Wine Spectator: A Training Ground For Tomorrow’s Top Sommeliers

September 25, 2013

Leading executives from the wine and spirits world joined Florida International University staff and students September 19 at the Miami school’s Biscayne Bay campus to celebrate the ribbon-cutting for the brand new Restaurant Management Lab at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. The new facility, paid for by fundraising from the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, will help further FIU’s ambition to be one of the nation’s top hospitality schools.

“We are lucky enough to have a world-class hospitality school right here in the backyard of our corporate headquarters,” said Wayne Chaplin, president and COO of Southern Wine & Spirits. FIU’s hospitality program, consistently rated as one of the best in the nation, has more than 1,500 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs at its North Miami campus and another 1,000 at a campus in the port city of Tianjin, China.

Chaplin and his father Harvey Chaplin, Southern’s chairman and CEO, with the help of other executives such as Mel Dick, president of the wine division, have been the driving force behind the Restaurant Management Lab since it was conceived back in 1997 during a one-day food-and-wine event called the Florida Extravaganza. That affair later evolved into the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which has supported the Chaplin school since. For Wine Spectator’s full report on the Chaplin School’s Restaurant Management Lab, click here.

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