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The Wine & Food Foundation Connects Austin Wine Lovers Through Education and Philanthropy

With its vibrant community, educational opportunities, and commitment to philanthropy, WFF is the perfect place to uncork your passion for wine and food

Toast of Texas (photo courtesy of the Wine and Food Foundation)

At its core, the Wine & Food Foundation is all about community. Well, OK. It’s also about wine and food, but it’s mostly about fostering connections, spreading knowledge, and pouring back into the local community — while swirling, sipping, and bonding over vino, of course. 

“Community is what we do best,” says Executive Director Denise Silverman. 

WFF’s founding members first came together to create the Rare and Fine Wine Auction, a fundraiser aimed to engage wine lovers and collectors while raising funds for worthy causes. The event became a hit, and the group knew they wanted to do more than host an annual auction. The nonprofit officially incorporated in 1997, and since then, WFF has awarded more than $1.7 million in grants, scholarships, and industry support to local organizations, as well as individuals in the hospitality industry.

From supporting initiatives like Southern Smoke, Austin Shift Meal, Urban Roots, Central Texas Food Bank, and others, to providing scholarships for aspiring culinary professionals, WFF is dedicated to making a meaningful impact in the community.

“We harness the collective power of our community to support philanthropic initiatives that align with our values,” explains Silverman.

WineFoodFoundation_Erica Wilkins Photography
Wine and Food Foundation (photo by Erica Wilkens)

An array of gatherings

Through a diverse array of events, casual get-togethers (like member happy hours or informal Imbibe classes), parties and upscale galas, (including the annual Rare and Fine Wine Auction), WFF brings together individuals who share a passion for the culinary arts. Whether you’re a newbie wanting to upgrade your boxed rosé or an oenophile itching to explore more of Burgundy or Bordeaux, there’s a place for you. And, with a calendar packed full of exciting events, tastings, seminars, and meet-the-winemaker gatherings, there’s always a chance to meet a new pinot pal. 

Educational and engaging programming

“Our programming is educational, fun, mission-focused, and open to all,” says Silverman. Indeed, WFF’s events reflect this ethos, providing opportunities for members to learn, connect, and celebrate together in un-intimidating environments. “We want everyone to feel like they can join our community, regardless of where they are in their wine journey.”

Marie Blackmon, WFF member of seven years with her husband Alan Comley, agrees. “We knew absolutely nothing about wine when we joined the foundation and we are incredibly thankful that we did.” says Blackmon. “Today, we know more about what wines truly spark our interests and have made so many meaningful connections with wonderful people, both winemakers and members, who share our passion for discovering more.”

Gwen Schuler, Ron Yates, Tiffany Edmonds photographed by Erica Wilkens

Supporting hospitality workers

Another of Wine and Food Foundation’s key initiatives is its support for hospitality workers. Through grants and scholarships, the organization helps individuals in the industry further their education and advance their careers. By partnering with institutions like the Texas Wine School, WFF helps to equip hospitality professionals with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a competitive industry.

“Education is expensive, especially for those in the hospitality field. We want to support their growth and help raise the bar in our local community,” notes Silverman. 

With its vibrant community, educational opportunities, and commitment to philanthropy, the Wine & Food Foundation is the perfect place to uncork your passion for wine and food. 

“People don’t just love wine. They love everything about wine. Wine is about family, stories, and history,” says Silverman. “Wine brings people together in a way that’s different from anything else!” 

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