HOUSTON—On March 7, a group of lucky wine-lovers at the University of Houston's Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management will embark on an aromatic, educational tour of California's Napa Valley—personally guided by a rising star in the wine world—without ever leaving great state of Texas.
How? They'll be attending the latest edition of the Fred Parks Lecture Series, "Napa Valley: Formation and Creation."
From 6-8 p.m. in the Hilton University of Houston's Conrad Hilton Grand Ballroom, Master Sommelier Drew Hendricks will introduce 200 ticketholders to six Napa Valley wines with foods to match, all while teaching them about the historical and geographical forces that helped create the country's top wine-producing region.
Hendricks, vice president of Marketing and Sales for Napa's esteemed Rudd Winery, is the company's brand ambassador and one of the most-respected sommeliers in the country. A Master Sommelier since 2008, Hendricks previously served as the wine director for Pappas Restaurants, as well as Charlie Palmer at The Joule in Dallas. Prior to that, he worked for several years on the distributor side with Glazer's and Prestige Wine Cellars of Texas.
"I am very excited to have Master Sommelier Drew Hendricks as our Spring 2013 Fred Parks Lecture Series speaker. His knowledge about wine is invaluable, and I think our guests will benefit greatly from that. To put it in perspective, there are only about 180 Master Sommeliers in the entire world—and we're lucky enough to have Drew living right here in Houston. On top of his wine expertise, Drew's experience in food and beverage operations makes him an ideal candidate to speak at Hilton College," said Kevin S. Simon, director of the College's Fred Parks Wine Cellar.
Hendricks has amassed an impressive list of accolades in his young career, including second place at the National Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Sommelier Finals competition and first place at the International Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Sommelier Competition. He was also named "Best New Sommelier" by Wine and Spirits magazine in 2005. Recognizing the challenges facing young people interested in wine, Hendricks co-founded and became a board member of the Texas Sommelier Association, which hosts the annual Texas Sommelier Conference to promote wine education throughout the South. He also serves on the board of directors for both the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Guild of Sommeliers.
Though there are no more seats available for Hendricks' lecture, the next edition of the Fred Parks Lecture Series will be in April at the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair, when award-winning sommelier Laurie Forster will speak to wine enthusiasts at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. Tickets to that event are $50 and can be purchased here.
All Fred Parks lectures are underwritten by the Fred and Mabel Parks Foundation.
"The lecture series is an extension of Fred's passion for wine and wine education, and a way to bring wine to the masses. Thanks to the generosity of the Parks Foundation, we're able to bring in personalities like Drew and Laurie to share that passion for wine with the public," Simon said.
Most Fred Parks lectures are free to the public. Participants must be 21 years old with a valid photo ID.
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 Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. 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 at age 95 on Oct.18, 2001. 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.