Wine Opener offers passport to Argentina

More than 300 guests at the sold-out North Texas Wine Opener on April 9, 2011 will arrive at Royal Affairs Ballroom in Lewisville, greeted by tango music and authentic Argentinean art, for the gala evening that features wine tasting and delicious fare by an award-winning local chef.

In January, Morris Salerno, owner of The Grotto in Highland Village, and his wife Kathy traveled to Argentina. They spent 10 days visiting different regions of the country, working with expert chefs and students and participating in charity festivals in Mendoza and Bariloche. What they experienced has provided inspiration for the culinary delights Salerno will serve to guests at the event.

“Our time in Argentina was amazing,” said Kathy Duke-Salerno, Morris’ wife. “You can gather recipes and buy ingredients, but to really prepare an authentic meal you need to experience the culture. Our trip gave us a chance to use local fruits, vegetables and meats to truly discover the flavor of Argentinean cuisine. When we learned the Wine Opener theme was Viva Argentina, everything came together to make for a truly memorable evening in support of the cystic fibrosis cause.”

Event co-chair Jill Welke concurs. “We are so thrilled that Morris has graciously agreed to return this year and prepare and present the evening’s amazing seated dinner. Terrazas de los Andes ( will pair perfectly with Morris’ menu selections.”

The high-elevation, snow-fed vineyards sit at the base of the Andes Mountains and are known for maximizing fruit expression in Chardonnays, Malbecs and Cabernet Sauvignons. In fact, Terrazas de los Andes has earned the Best Argentinean Malbec distinction 10 years in a row from Wine Spectator and has been awarded a “Double Gold” “Reserve Champion” award at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo International Wine Competition.

“Argentina is a country of polo, gauchos (Argentinean cowboys) and fine wine,” said event sponsor Ed Kukol, who has generously provided Terrazas de los Andes wine for the evening. “What better pairing than Terrazas de los Andes and a wine event with an Argentinean theme?”

A Highland Village resident for many years, Kukol watched the charity event grow to become the #1 wine opener in the country for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “I have been in the wine and spirits industry for over 30 years, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of this event with my friend Morris Salerno.”

During this year’s Live Auction, patrons will again have a chance to bid on a once-in-a-lifetime trip for two to Argentina. The experience includes two nights at the fabulous private Casa Lapostolle, Clos Apalta Winery in Santiago, Chile and two nights at the award winning Terrazas de los Andes Winery in Mendoza, Argentina.

The Wine Opener gala event benefits children and young adults with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that leads to chronic lung infections and other complications. Considered an “orphan disease,” cystic fibrosis does not receive government funding or attract large pharmaceutical company dollars.

“Every dollar raised brings us that much closer to the day when CF stands for ‘cure found,’” said Eric Welke, event co-chair for the North Texas Wine Opener.

For those that missed out on purchasing tickets to the event, there is another way to help the cause.

Treasure Chest Thrift, a hidden gem that holds a galley of gently used clothes, household items, sports equipment, electronics and children’s books and toys in the Kroger shopping center at I-35E and Hwy 121 in Lewisville, will generously donate to the upcoming North Texas Wine Opener five percent of net sales from last quarter of 2010 and first quarter of 2011.

Owner Bob Kollasch decided to get involved as a sponsor this year when he reconnected with a former coworker, Christine, who has a child with cystic fibrosis.

Flower Mound residents Brett and Chris Grizzle, owners of Games2U, dedicate themselves to fundraising that will make a difference in their child Cooper’s life, and that of other CF families.

Searching for treasure at Treasure Chest Thrift is a “swashbuckling adventure.” The store is very clean and organized, with Kollasch overseeing every detail. The aisles are clear and wide with items sorted and labeled according to the cheerful treasure map painted on the walls.

The staff regularly sorts and stocks donations. “Hundreds of items every single day,” Kollasch said.  Wednesday’s are the best day to shop for new items. 

In addition to already low thrift store prices, Treasure Chest offers ongoing weekly sales to savvy treasure hunters, discounts up to 50 percent.  Tuesdays are declared “Kids Day,” with all clothing, shoes and toys on sale.  On “Wild Wednesdays,” customers get discounted prices on all clothing, shoes, books, jewelry and housewares.  Watch for tag sales each week and receive additional discounts at the register.

Unlike the all-volunteer run North Texas Wine Opener, there are no volunteers at Treasure Chest Thrift.  All employees are financially compensated, which Kollasch believes makes a difference when it comes to customer service. Manager Brenda Kinney devotes herself to providing customers a positive experience and said she really enjoys helping all the interesting people that shop at Treasure Chest.   
“Treasure Chest will find among its patrons this month volunteers and long-time supporters of The North Texas Wine Opener,” said Jill Welke, event co-chair. “We have a whatever-it-takes attitude toward finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and sincerely thank people like Bob Kollasch who help us raise critical funds to support research and raise awareness.”

The North Texas Wine Opener has been going strong since 2004, raising over $1.1 million net for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which devotes over 90 cents of every dollar for research and patient care.

“Treasure Chest gives our community two reasons to hunt for buried treasure—$3 designer jeans and an easy way to support CF families and the North Texas Wine Opener,” Welke added.

CF Champions
: Generous financial sponsors currently include: Jeroboam Sponsor: Reptrax; Magnum Sponsors: Lemonade Pals; The North Face; Jeff & Cara Price; Merrill Lynch / Bank of America – Price and Associates; Carafe Sponsors: Anonymous; Driscoll Professional Services; Bob & Nita Jones; Lakeside Eye Care; Morning Star Energy, LLC; Pediatric Dental World; Lisa Y. Pierce, MD, PA; Radio One Dallas 97.9 The Beat and 94.5 KSOUL; Sam Pack Ford; Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound; ½ Carafe Sponsors: Ryan & Sandra Adair; AG Workers Mutual Auto Insurance Co.; Bowen Landscape; Lisa K. Clayton, M.D.; Dianne Paroubek, Merrill Lynch; Dryve Cleaners; Honorable Mike Donnelly & Family, Town of Double Oak Mayor; Debra Duffy, DDS, PA; Family Allergy & Asthma Care; Frankie Arthur & Associates with RE/MAX DFW; Todd & Joy Fries; Games 2U; Gronberg Orthodontics; The Laplante Family; Maxsys Solutions; Nicole Scherer – Keller Williams Realty; NORTHSTAR BANK OF TEXAS; Orthopedic Associates – Flower Mound – Lewisville; Starin Family Care Chiropractic; Treasure Chest Thrift; Bill Utter Ford; Worth Casualty Company and zpizza. Event Sponsors: The A/V Team; Ben E Keith; Bridlewood Elementary; Cabot Vermont Cheese; John and Carol Carter; Communilux Productions; The Cross Timbers Gazette; Games 2U; GDP Services; Graphic Converting, LTD.; The Grotto; Jim & Stacy Harycki; IMS Relocation; Dave & Cyndi Little; Tony Moon; Mail Boxes & More; Nestle; Pain Delice; Todd & Jennifer Patrick; Tim & Karey Rees; Royal Affairs Ballroom; Salerno’s Italian Restaurant; Gail Slangerup; Holly Paulson of Sillyheads Photography; Strange, Downing & Coa
ts, P.C., CPAs; Chandler & Niki Tatum; Terrazas de los Andes; Tom Thumb; Ussery Printing; Kellene & Alfredo Villalobos; and – Flower Mound. (Sponsors as of March 2, 2011)


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