Signature celebration showcases hundreds of wines, award-winning local restaurants
By Dani Douglass
The chatter was lively and robust amongst the ballroom, foyers and seaside lanai of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel as more than 500 guests gathered earlier this year for Executive Vineyards, the Shidler Alumni Association’s (SAA) premier fundraising event.
“We were delighted with the turnout and generous support shown by our Shidler ’ohana at this year’s 20th anniversary event,” Shidler Dean Vance Roley said. “This event would not be possible without our community coming together to ensure these funds are available for the college, students and alumni.”
Alumni, faculty and staff and college supporters sampled wines from around the world and enjoyed delectable fare from several of Honolulu’s award-winning restaurants. After a brief downpour at the start of the event, the evening sky cleared and guests were able to disperse among the picturesque backdrop of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head.
“We would like to thank everyone who attended the event and all the people who’ve supported Executive Vineyards and SAA over the years,” SAA President Tyson Yamada, BBA ’03, MBA ’07, said. “Seeing people look forward to the event each year and having a good time during the event inspires us to make it better each year.”
The event hit its 20th anniversary milestone and is one of the most enduring alumni events.
“For me, it has been amazing to watch the evolution of the event since its inaugural wine tasting in 2001,” Beverage Marketing and More COO Mark Milton, said. His company, along with Southern Wines and Tamura’s, have been main event sponsors for many years.
“From a modest beginning, this first class event has involved a premier food and wine experience that is second to none in Hawai‘i. The top quality restaurants and world class wine offerings from around the world, along with the ambiance of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is a terrific combination for an awesome consumer experience.”
A special feature to commemorate the milestone anniversary were digital displays of images from past events at a variety of iconic venues, including The Plaza Club, Stan Sheriff Center, The Kahala Hotel and its current home, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
“Most attendees are not familiar with the growth of this event, so we added slideshows throughout the event space featuring the previous venues of the Executive Vineyards,” Event Co-chair and SAA board member Toby Tamaye, BBA ’95, said.
“Some of our guests have supported the event from the very beginning, so we hoped it would bring back a bit of nostalgia seeing themselves in the images,” Yamada said.
Other special features of the platinum anniversary included new restaurants La Vie, Dean & Deluca and BASALT. Lanikai Brewing, owned by Shidler alumni Steve Haumschild, EMBA ’11, was also a part of the bill, offering guests beer samples from its local brewery. Also new this year was an exclusive wine seminar with Robert Viernes, master sommelier, at Viaggio Restaurant, which was offered to guests purchasing $100 or more of wine. The tour of Italian wines will take place later this year.
Bringing it back full circle
The event serves an important mission for the Shidler College of Business, raising critical funds for student programs and alumni outreach initiatives. The SAA board is proud to be a part of giving back to their college.
“It is one of the largest gatherings of SAA of the year, so it supports our mission in creating networking opportunities for previous graduates,” Tamaye said. “In addition to its fundraising element, it also provides clear goals and accountability for every board member, each of whom sells tickets and helps staff the evening. The board accounts for 100% of sponsorship table sales and more than 70% of the individual tickets sold.”
It takes many hands
The event planning committee put in countless hours to assure this year’s event was a success. Those involved dedicated time, energy and resources and used their individual talents and strengths to produce something magnificent.
“For me, it's the relationships built with other board members,” Tamaye said. “Everyone on the committee has distinct roles, and the event would not be a success without the trust and cooperation of each committee member. I also enjoyed curating the menus with the restaurants for the food dish they would serve”
No event of this scale would be possible without the generosity of its sponsors, including the various organizations that donate items for silent auction and lucky draw. The collective support put forth raised funds that the SAA will use to support student scholarships, programs and alumni events.
“The sponsorships show the amount of support the local business community provide for the SAA, the Shidler College of Business and the students,” Yamada said.
The SAA looks forward to planning and executing the next Executive Vineyards in March 2021 at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
For more information, or to learn how your organization can get involved, please contact Bianca Mordasini, email@example.com or 808-956-3263.
See all event photos.