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McClure to be featured certified wine specialist at charity dinner

July 6, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Ben McClure, a certified wine specialist and brand ambassador of Talbott Vineyards, will be the featured speaker at the Islander Wine Dinner on July 31 at The Community House on Sanibel.

McClure is sitting for his certified sommelier exam in the fall. At the event, which is being hosted by Bailey's General Store, he will lead a dining experience and enlighten guests on the rules for food and wine pairing. McClure will discuss the wines as they relate to the vineyard, winemaker and brand.

"Any wine with food is better than no wine with food," he said of the first rule of pairing.

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McClure moved to California from his native Florida six years ago to pursue his passion for wine and hospitality. He first fell in love with wine while studying abroad in the south of France, where his host family made their own wine in small batches for friends and family. After finishing his undergraduate degrees in French and international relations at the University of Florida, McClure moved to New York City to pursue a masters in humanities at NYU.

While putting himself through school, McClure worked in hospitality at the Hotel Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District, often recommending his favorite wines to guests and celebrities who frequented the property. After completing his degree, he returned to Florida to become a French professor at Flagler College. On the side, McClure worked in a boutique wine shop and tasting room. That is when he decided to combine his passions for teaching, wine and hospitality by moving out to wine country.

The six-course dinner will take place at 6 p.m. and include six estate grown wines made by Talbott, including from its famous Sleepy Hollow Vineyard. A limited number of tickets are on sale now.

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Tickets are $100 per person or $550 for a table of six and include a welcome glass of sparkling wine, assorted hors d'oeuvres, a full glass tasting of six Talbott Vineyards wines and locally-sourced dinner pairings, as well as various dessert selections.

The charitable event will raise funds for The Community House.

Reservations can be made at 239-472-2155 or

They can also be made at The Community House, at 2173 Periwinkle Way.



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