The wine was "spiked" with some added excitement on April 14 at the Rogalski Center, where members of a record turnout for the annual St. Ambrose Wine Festival Preview Dinner kept an eye on the national championship volleyball match waged at the PE Center next door.
The 291 diners enjoyed a gourmet meal along with samplings of wines from award-winning featured vendor, Smith Madrone Vineyards, and also watched the volleyball action on one of three large-screen TVs in the Rogalski ballroom.
Preview dinner co-chair Molly Carroll said the championship action added to the evening's Olympic Gold Medal theme, adopted in honor of the gold medals collected by Smith Madrone in wine competitions around the world.
The record turnout provides momentum that will carry for the annual three-part fest into the May 19 closing Wine Festival itself, which Carroll predicted will be the biggest on record as well.
"We have had more and more tickets sold each year," she said, noting wine donor and festival co-founder Dimitri Papageorgiou "has so many fabulous wines planned for May 19 we feel it will be a record turnout."
Carroll said a large sampling of gourmet foods will be available as well due to generous sponsors from throughout the Quad-Cities.
Tickets are $45 for the May 19 event, which will be held on the lawn between Ambrose and McMullen Halls or at the Rogalski Center in the event of rain. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.
Proceeds provide scholarships to St. Ambrose students.