Rotary clubs to wine and dine for charity

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Rotarian Barbara Schindler stands by the “wine pool” where 2018 Le Tour de Vin guests could donate $20 and draw for a bottle of wine.

Similar to the magic created when a delicious dish is paired with its perfect wine counterpart, Norman’s Rotary clubs are combining forces to make their own philanthropic magic.

The Cross Timbers, Norman Noon, Sooner and Legacy Rotary Clubs will host their 17th annual Le Tour de Vin fundraiser Saturday to raise money for Rotary projects and the Full Circle Adult Day Center.

“It’s a great event, because it gives an opportunity for a total of 400 Rotarians in Norman to work together, to help raise money and to help take care of different charities,” Le Tour de Vin Executive Director Joe Gil said.

The evening of fine food, wine and whiskey will begin at 6:30 p.m. June 22 at the NCED Hotel and Conference Center at 2801 E. State Hwy. 9.

Gil said Le Tour de Vin has raised more than a million dollars for charity since it was first held in 2003.

“Here in Norman, we work together to do more,” Gil said.

Gil said Le Tour de Vin was started in 2003 by the Cross Timbers club. As the event grew, Cross Timbers began calling on the other local clubs for support.

“Now there’s four clubs working on the project, which in the Rotary world is impressive, because most cities have maybe three or four clubs in their city, but they never seem to want to work together," he said.

With dining options varying from Italian cuisine to barbecue, the nine participating restaurants are sure to cater to every guest’s individual tastes.

“Most of [the restaurants] are from Norman,” Gil said. “The ones that we have that come every year do it, because they’re realizing what we do with the money, and they like being our partners.”

Guests will browse and bid on silent auction items, while tasting whiskey and wine from a selection of 32 different wines provided by Republic National Distributing Company.

“[Republic National Distributing Company] has done this for 16 years,” Gil said. “They’ve donated over 10,500 bottles of wine.”

At the live auction at 8:30 p.m., guests will be able to bid on a wine tasting in Napa Valley, a trip to the Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel distilleries in Tennessee, a day of storm chasing and an African photo safari.

“We have a total of about 15 items in the live auction and about 32 in the silent auction,” Gil said. “The big items in the live auction are the things that are real popular.”

Gil estimates the event will raise about $175,000.

Le Tour de Vin’s current two-year beneficiary, Full Circle Adult Day Center, will receive $50,000 of the money raised and the rest will go to other Rotary projects.

“We provide day services Monday through Friday for the elderly and disabled of the community,” Full Circle Executive Director Donald Pyeatt said. “It affords them to get out of the home and increase their community integration. Then, [if] the caregiver works outside the home, it allows them to work and provide for the household.”

Full Circle Adult Day Center used the funds they received last year from Le Tour de Vin to help with the construction of a larger facility.

“This year’s funds will go to help pay the mortgage for the center,” Pyeatt said. “Being able to move to the new center has afforded us to be able to serve more people of our community, because we have a lot more space and can provide a lot more activities throughout the day.”

Visit letourdevin.com to register for the event. Guests must be at least 21.

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