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Despite crowded venue, UNLVino’s ‘Bubblicious’ a success 

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It was a champagne supernova spectacle at the Venetian Hotel and Casino Friday night.

The four-day food and spirit extravaganza known as UNLVino celebrated its 40th anniversary this past week, and saved the “bubbly” for Friday at 7 p.m.

PHOTOS BY LAUREN KERR / THE REBEL YELL

PHOTOS BY LAUREN KERR / THE REBEL YELL

“Bubblicious – Champagne under the stars at the Venetian Las Vegas” was the tagline for the evening’s festivities. Although there were not many stars visible, the glow of lights from the surrounding Las Vegas Strip illuminated the event and provided excellent atmosphere.

After attending Friday’s event, it is amazing to see how UNLVino has evolved from its humble beginnings forty years ago.

In its inaugural year, UNLVino was held at the Southern Nevada Wine warehouse and an estimated 400 people attended. Fast forward to 2014, and the event is held over four days at some of the fanciest spots in Las Vegas with thousands people showing up over the week.

The price tag has also changed from the original admission price of $5 to $125 a person.

As always, all proceeds of UNLVino go to support the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, and provide scholarship money for applicable students. Even at the rather expensive ticket price, the allure of “all-you-can-drink” fancy, alcoholic beverages brings in quite the crowd, and it is for a great cause.

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There were more than 24 booths providing ample champagne varieties, fi ne appetizers and exquisite mineral water samplings.

Armand de Brignac, Bronco Wine Company, Bruno Paillard, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Freixenet, Gerard Bertrand, Henriot, La Caravelle, Moet-Hennessy, Pernod Ricard USA, Prestige Wine Imports, Remy Cointreau USA, Riboli Family Wines, Terlato Wines, the Wine Group, Toast Spirits, Vineyard Brands and Wilson Creek Winery brought their top champagne choices to “Bubblicious.”

Whether you are a fan of traditional champagne, super sweet or extremely dry, there were plenty of champagne and sparkling wine options to choose from. For those anticipating unique or bizarre champagne flavors, “Bubblicious” may have been a disappointment.

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Wilson Creek Winery supplied the more diverse choices out of the vendors on hand.

Their sangria, orange mimosa and peach bellini flavors were ideal for a sip, but too sweet to enjoy a whole bottle. The participating restaurants for “Bubblicious” were a who’s who of the Venetian’s top eateries. B&B Ristorante, Bouchon, Delmonico Steakhouse, Lagasse’s Stadium, Postrio Bar & Grill, Sushi Samba, Table 10 and Zine Noodles & Dim Sum were all present dishing out plenty of bite-sized appetizers.

B&B Ristourante featured a Burrata Crostini with spring vegetables. The presentation of the dish was spectacular, but the flavor was a miss.

“It is pretty bland,” said Wes Cattarall. “It’s basically cream cheese on a toasted piece of bread. There is not a lot of flavor going on. I wouldn’t order this if I ate at B&B.”

Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio Bar & Grill had a heavy line throughout the evening. They served a ravioli dish with peas and mushrooms in a dark, brown sauce. It was not uncommon to see people come back for more after finishing their plate.

The mineral water varieties were an excellent addition to hydrate, and to sort of cleanse the palate.

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Fiji, Nestle Water, Jana Water and Danone Waters of America had booths dispersed throughout the courtyard. Perhaps the most interesting choice was Resqwater. The company provided bottles of their special, “anti-hangover” water. The flavor was atrocious, but according to the Resqwater representative, the benefits are worth it.

With the many champagne and sparkling wine booths, anti-hangover may not have been such a terrible idea after all.

A noticeable complaint of “Bubblicious” was the venue itself. For as many people that attended, the Venetian courtyard was not spacious enough to house the crowd. It was impossible not to bump into another, or possess any personal space. It is essential at a wine-tasting or champagne-tasting event to allow patrons the option to relax, visit with friends and enjoy the product without being crowded.

Despite the packed perimeters, “Bubblicious – Champagne under the stars at the Venetian Las Vegas” appeared to be a success. It was heartwarming to see the number of people who decided to attend and support UNLV.

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