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Fred Parks Lecture Series Offers a Wine-Tasting Tour of Tuscany 10/13/2010

Expert from Banfi Vintners to speak on region's fine wines, including free tasting

Not everyone can take a trip to Tuscany to sample its diverse array of fine wines, but not to worry. The University of Houston's Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management is bringing the taste of Tuscany to you.

Through the Fred Parks Lecture Series, a wine expert from Banfi Vintners of Old Brookville, N.Y. is presenting "Titillating Tuscany: In the Land of Wine," a wine-tasting tour of a region known for its alluring whites and full-bodied reds. The tasting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the Conrad N. Hilton Ballroom at the Hilton University of Houston.

The guest speaker is William J. Whiting, wine education director for Banfi Vintners. As wine education director, Whiting gives presentations on wine throughout the United States and Europe. His presentations focus on the wines of Italy, Chile, Argentina and Australia. Whiting, a graduate of the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, is a grandson of Banfi founder John F. Mariani Sr.

"Banfi is one of the leading Italian wine producers in the world, and their wine selection is second to none," said Kevin S. Simon, director of the Fred Parks Wine Cellar at Hilton College. "We are very fortunate to have someone of Bill's caliber come speak to the public. It's going to be a great opportunity for people to learn all about Italian wine."

Attendees will have the chance to sample six wines from the Tuscany region, including two whites and four reds. Wines will be paired with food for sampling. Whiting will offer an overview of wines from the region, explain the basics of wine tasting and answer wine-related questions.

The lecture is underwritten by the Fred and Mabel Parks Foundation.

"This is the sixth Fred Parks Lecture we have held here at UH," Simon said. "The event is an extension of Fred's passion for wine and wine education, and a way to bring wine to the masses."

Admission to this wine tasting and lecture is free, but seating is limited to the first 160 people. You must be at least 21 years old to attend and a photo ID is required. To RSVP, visit

About Fred Parks
Throughout his illustrious career as a trial lawyer, Fred Parks collected fine and rare French wines. In 1994, he donated a portion of his collection to the Hilton College. This collection became the foundation of the Fred Parks Wine Cellar and features more than 1,000 bottles from the early 1900s to contemporary vintages. Parks died on Oct.18, 2001, at age 95. At his bequest, his estate donated the remainder of his collection to Hilton College. Today, the Fred Park Boardroom showcases his remarkable collection and pairs his passions for wine and education. The boardroom serves as an international repository for research, education and training in the study of wine.

Debbie Maurer