After the COVID Strains of the World, Wines of the World Prevails


Mandi Mollring

On Friday, April 8, 2022, Buena Vista University’s graduating seniors gathered in the Multipurpose Room of Harold Walter Siebens Forum to celebrate the return of Wines of the World. Hosted by BVU’s Career and Leadership Development team, Professor of Digital Media Andrea Frantz was Master of Ceremonies.I had the honor of again hosting and emceeing what has become such a fantastic tradition for the senior class: Wines of the World,” Frantz wrote on Facebook. 

Wines of the World is a send-off to the senior class, allowing them to experience a “The thought process behind it was we wanted to help the graduating seniors feel like you’re ready to step into adulthood, for a lack of a better term,” BVU’s Director of Career and Leadership Development Mandi Mollring said. “Part of that is to be able to go to functions like this and know proper etiquette and be able to communicate with other people and have talking points when you are at a more upscale networking event.” This celebration is a Beaver’s rite of passage, of sorts. Mollring added, “It’s really a symbolic way to say, you’re graduating, you’re now an alumni, and we want to treat you as an alumni.”

The event had eight wines, each with a coordinating snack, ranging from a red Cabernet wine to a Sangria Wine (homemade by Frantz). The pairings were intentional, Frantz stated Friday night, calling herself a wine expert of sorts. Annamaria Formichella is BVU’s Professor of English, who volunteered at the event Friday night. It wasn’t her first time, though. “I did it 3 years ago. I enjoyed it very much,” she said. “I can tell you the best part for me was the learning process. Part of the learning process is how to pair wines with certain foods. We got to practice eating a food and tasting the wine, then tasting a different food, and you would be surprised how different a wine can taste depending on what you pair it with.” To her, it was very interesting to learn about this. “I had never thought about really specific flavors and how they would enhance part of the wine flavor.” 

When asked if it was a BVU tradition, Formichella said, “I think Andrea has made it a tradition. I associate it with her and her knowledge of the wines. I would definitely consider it a tradition.” Because of that — and not doing it for the last three years — it’s been on pause. Two years ago, students were off-campus due to COVID-19, and last year, no events were allowed on campus. “Like many traditions, we all hit that hiccup of COVID. That pause has made it hard for some things to get restarted. You lose that momentum, and it makes it harder to get some things restarted, but luckily enough people were interested and remembered it, which is really good,” she concluded. 

Luckily, Wines of the World survived the pandemic, with good food, kind faculty-student exchanges, and drinks on its coattails.