MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE and Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern) are proud to announce the honorees of the 2015 Tribute Dinner — Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Chef Juan Mari Arzak, acclaimed pioneer of Basque cuisine. Baseler and Arzak will be honored on February 21 during the Festival’s annual Tribute Dinner hosted by José Andrés and Master of Ceremonies Harold McGee presented by Bank of America, part of The New York Times Dinner Series, at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. The award recognizes their extraordinary contributions to the wine and culinary industries.
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is the third largest premium wine company in the U.S. Baseler began his career at Ste. Michelle in 1984 as director of marketing and was offered ever-increasing levels of responsibility, eventually becoming chief operating officer before being named president and CEO in 2001. He is being recognized for building Ste. Michelle’s world-class status through strategic acquisitions, capital investments and the development of an imported wines division all of which he initiated after assuming leadership of the company. Since 2001, Ste. Michelle has invested millions of dollars into the Washington wine industry with new vineyard plantings, capital improvements to existing wineries and building dedicated wineries for Northstar in Walla Walla, Col Solare on Red Mountain and 14 Hands in Prosser. Also under Baseler’s leadership, the company acquired the iconic Napa Valley winery Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Erath Winery in Oregon.
During the Tribute Dinner, Baseler will be honored with the Southern Wine & Spirits of America Lifetime Achievement Award.
“We have all bore witness to Ted’s visionary guidance, creative innovation and strong leadership skills, qualities reflected in Ste. Michelle’s enduring success which includes the ‘String of Pearls’ portfolio of wineries that is the envy of the entire industry. Ted’s dedication and passion have been key drivers in solidifying Washington State’s position as the second largest wine region in the U.S.,” said Mel Dick, President of the Wine Division, and Senior Vice President of Southern — the leading distributor of beverage alcohol in the U.S.
Arzak graduated from the School of Hospitality in Madrid. In 1989, his family’s namesake restaurant received three stars in the prestigious Michelin Guide. Amongst a slew of awards, Arzak has been included in the top ten of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list since 2006 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the organization in 2011. He is recognized for spearheading the Nueva Cocina Vasca (New Basque Cuisine) movement that laid the groundwork for a larger Spanish culinary revolution. In 1970, Arzak developed a scorpion fish dish — called kabrarrok — that served as the tipping point for his career, a creation that emulates his playful and innovative approach that holds true to present day. As he told Wall Street Journal magazine in 2013, "If it isn't fun," he says, "what is the point? I've never eaten and not had fun."
"There is no one like Juan Mari! Not only is he the father of New Basque cuisine, Juan Mari is a lasting inspiration to me and so many chefs in Spain and around the world,” said Tribute Dinner Culinary Chairman José Andrés. “He is a revered mentor and teacher. He was kind enough to take my phone call many years ago when I was a young, aspiring chef, filled with questions and ideas, and his generosity has never stopped since."
Tickets to this dinner, and more Festival events taking place February 19-22, 2015, can be purchased online at www.sobefest.com, or by calling 877.762.3933 (phone sales open Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST). All proceeds from the Festival benefit the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management’s Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory and Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center at Florida International University (FIU).
About the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE
All proceeds from the Festival benefit the students of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management who also assist Festival organizers with sponsorship fulfillment, restaurant and exhibitor recruitment, logistics, and inventory as well as working alongside some of the world’s greatest celebrity chefs and winemakers. To date, the Festival has raised more than $20 million for the School. In October 2014, BizBash named the Festival the #1 Food & Restaurant Industry event in the United States for the second year in a row.
The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE is produced by Florida International University and Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida with the support of the Miami Beach Visitors & Convention Authority and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information about the Festival, visit www.sobefest.com or call 877-762-3933. For more information about Florida International University visit www.fiu.edu, for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management visit www.hospitality.fiu.edu and for more information about Southern Wine & Spirits visit www.southernwine.com.
About Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor and broker with operations in 35 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska and Texas. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 14,000 team members. Southern urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve and enjoy its products responsibly. For more information about Southern and its responsible consumption program, visit: http://www.southernwine.com.