PARKERSBURG - Tonight's wine tasting will be a homecoming of sorts for wine educator Robert Cavanaugh.
Cavanaugh, owner of Adventure Wine, lived in Vienna from 1976 to 1984 and attended Parkersburg Catholic High School. Cavanaugh has conducted wine-tasting seminars at the Taste of Parkersburg for the past four years.
"This is our fourth time in the Taste of Parkersburg," he said Wednesday. "Tonight will be a seminar 'Study in Styles' for beginners and intermediates on how to taste, judge and evaluate wine like a pro."
Robert Cavanaugh looks forward to returning for the Taste of Parkersburg. (Photo provided)
Cavanaugh said past wine seminars in the Blennerhassett Hotel ballroom have been well-attended with 75 to 100 people. In tonight's program, Cavanaugh said, they will sample different wines and everyone who attends will learn how to evaluate wine.
"At the Friday night event, they can be new to it and go out knowing how to judge and evaluate wine," he said. "We will taste eight different styles and have a lot of fun while we are doing it; this is my favorite seminar to give."
Cavanaugh said he began teaching at the wine seminars in Atlantic City, N.J., during the mid-1990s.
Cavanaugh is a master sommelier, with certifications from The Wine and Spirits Education Trust of London (WSET), The Court of Master Sommeliers and Le Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux as part of the International Bordeaux Ambassador program.
"There is a lot of study and a lot of wine tasting," he said. "It is certainly something you need to enjoy. I like to have fun with it and I like for those in attendance to have fun."
Cavanaugh said his career began in the food and beverage industry.
"I've always been in the food and beverage industry," he said. "I started with Bally's Park Place on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, then to Manhattan with Ritz Carlton, then Palm Beach with Ritz Carlton and then Washington, D.C., with Marriott International."
Cavanaugh also will present a wine seminar during the Taste of Parkersburg on Saturday.
"Some of the team will be serving wine at the Taste of Parkersburg," he said. "We will do a seminar with Holl's Chocolates on chocolate and wine and a seminar on Burgundy and Loire Valley wines."
Cavanaugh said he and his staff look forward to their yearly trip to the Mid-Ohio Valley.
"We love to come to Parkersburg," he said. "Part of the reason for coming is I lived in Vienna for a number of years."
Cavanaugh said it is nice to see old friends when he makes his trip back to the area and considers the area to be his hometown.
"My father worked with DuPont and took us to three different countries," he said. "We moved to Holland from Vienna and then to Switzerland and then back to the U.S. I still have a lot of ties to the area."
Cavanaugh said he decided to come to the Taste of Parkersburg after meeting with Cecil Childress, general manager at the Blennerhassett Hotel.
"For my staff, the reason we come back is the people; they have so much fun here," he said. "It's one event we look forward to all year long."
Cavanaugh said the seminars in Parkersburg are the only ones he does in West Virginia; however, he did have seminars at the Greenbrier several years ago.
Most of his wine seminars are in or near larger cities, making Parkersburg the smallest city where they have seminars.
"My clients trust my judgment and when I tell them this is a thriving market they trust me," he said. "We've had terrific support from the Blennerhassett; it has been unreal; it's a great property with an award-winning wine list."