A Toast to the Philbrook

March 21, 2016
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As one of the nation’s top wine events, the Philbrook Wine Experience has been shining a light on the museum for 24 years, but there’s a lot more to the event than wine.

The Wine Experience brings national and international vintners to Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art for the two-day biennial event. While the vintner dinner and auction is more formal, the grand tasting on Friday provides a more laid-back opportunity for patrons to sip some of the world’s finest wines in a happy hour setting. Additionally, Friday’s trade tasting allows suppliers and vintners to meet, showcase product and make deals.

At $25,000 a table, Saturday’s vintner dinner and auction targets the serious wine drinker—one who’s wiling to invest in the opportunity. And it is an investment; purchasing a table at the vintner dinner offers the chance to dine and sip alongside winemakers from around the world. The dinner offers an intimate look at the work of the winemaker, and firsthand insight into specific wines, processes and preferences. Indeed, for the passionate wine enthusiast, it’s a rare peek into the winemaking world that many feel warrants the high price tag.

For those who can’t swing the cost the vintner dinner ($2,500 for a single seat), there’s the grand wine tasting Friday night. On April 29, nearly 1,000 tasters will crowd into a tent stuffed wall-to-wall with international wine merchants and makers to taste some of the most renowned varietals on the market. Additionally, food from local restaurants will be onsite for patrons to sample. The menu will feature tasting plates from some of Tulsa’s best and brightest local purveyors, with everything from The Tropical to The Chalkboard to Bodean and Antoinette Baking Co. showcased on the menu.

Additionally, the Philbrook Wine Experience trade tasting offers wine seminars, presentations and a tasting designed to give industry professionals a deeper knowledge of the featured wines, and the opportunity to meet and mingle with national and international wine professionals. For those looking to move to the next level of wine or food service, the trade tasting could be the avenue by which they get there.

For years, the Philbrook Wine Experience has been touted as one of the premier wine events in the country, garnering hoards of local, regional and national press. In this sense, the Wine Experience doesn’t just connect Tulsa wine enthusiasts with merchants from around the world, it also highlights Tulsa and its bustling local food and arts scene on a national level.

For those wondering how a place like Tulsa lands one of the most renowned and revered wine fundraisers in the country, Tricia Milford-Hoyt, the museum’s director of communications, says vintners are often attracted by the tastes of Tulsa’s residents.

“Tulsans are a well-traveled, well-experienced group of people,” she explains. “Just because we live here doesn’t mean we’re not familiar with the great wide world. And that worldliness attracts a quality of winery to want to come and showcase themselves.

“So we have 40 wineries that are coming in from all over the world—predominantly from the United States: Sonoma, Napa, Oregon. But we also have Italian and French wineries as well.”

In 2014, the Philbrook Wine Experience raised $2.7 million for Philbrook, making it the primary fundraising event for the museum and its myriad services and programs. Milford-Hoyt says they’re hoping to raise at least that much again this year, if not more.

This year’s Philbrook Wine Experience fundraiser is slated for April 29–30. Tickets to the grand wine tasting start at $145 for members and $175 for not-yet members. To purchase tickets for any of the events, or to view a complete list of featured wineries and restaurateurs, head to

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