Ten days before the big wine tasting, Elizabeth Warner, president and CEO of , and Jane Carroll, 19-year developmental director, were nervous about the success of their new benefit. But not for why you’d think.
For the past four years, the major annual fundraiser for MARC, which provides services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, was a gala auction. This year, they tried something new: a “Red, White and Blush” wine tasting at .
Already nearly all of the 350 tickets had been sold and Carroll wondered if they might have to turn folks away. Warner joked that she had already checked with the Middletown Fire Marshal, Al Santostefano, who sits on the MARC board of directors, to find out the room capacity for Beckham Hall.
The event April 27 went off without a hitch and, according to new Development Director Andy J. Heuer (Carroll retired May 1), 457 tickets were sold and 370 people attended. “Total revenue will exceed $14,000, which is the sum of ticket sales, sales from the purchase of wine, corporate sponsorships, and some additional donations from people who couldn’t attend the event,” he said.
Connecticut vendors, set up in stations along the perimeter of Beckham Hall, were: Slocum & Sons, New Haven; 2 Fly Wines, East Hartford; Allan S. Goodman, East Hartford; Iberia Wines & Spirits, East Hartford; Ace Distributing, Plainville; Brescome & Barton Inc., North Haven; Connecticut Distributors, Stratford; Progetto Veneto, Portland; Worldwide Wines, North Haven; Hartford Distributors, Manchester; Dichello Distributors Inc., Orange; Hartley & Parker Ltd. Inc., Stratford; CDI Gallo Divisions, Stratford; and Latitude Beverage Co., West Hartford.
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Cheese, cracker and fruit appetizers were provided by Bon Appetit Food Services, whose servers also circulated the room with hot hors d’ouvres.
The new owners of Abhay and Bina Sheth donated all profits from beer and wine sales to MARC.
All that next day, Bina said, usually a day of rest for the busy couple, Abhay placed orders for cases with distributors — and made sure to stock most of the more than 80 wines and beers offered during the tasting.
Past owner of Forest City John Bagley, whose first worked with MARC on the event before selling the store and is very knowledgeable about liquors, eagerly helped customers place orders and answered questions.