Pop a cork on the Fred Parks Boardroom nestled in the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. The livable space, surrounded by rare and traditional wines, plays host to corporate meetings and elegant receptions, and honors the Houston philanthropist.
“Fred Parks was very renowned attorney and entrepreneur in the Houston area and also very much of a wine enthusiast,” said Kevin Simon, director of the Fred Parks Wine Cellar. “He was introduced to the college back in the early 90s and liked what we did here. He donated part of his wine collection to the Conrad Hilton College.”
Parks heavily favored the French Bordeaux wines, and the collection includes all the First Growths: Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, Chateau Latour, Chateau Margaux and Chateau Haut-Brion.
“If some of these bottles could talk, what they have seen!” Simon noted. “From World War I, Prohibition, The Great Depression, World War II, Kennedy, Vietnam and where we are today. To me, that’s part of the fascination and enjoyment of wine.”
The board room and wine collection, while available to the public, also serve as professors in the college’s premier hospitality programs, which includes wine and spirits. For future sommeliers, the art of wine is paired with the business of wine and spirits in such programs as the Beverage Management and Marketing minor.
“Wine is art; wine is also history; wine is also science,” Simon said. “But wine to me is a beverage and it’s meant to be enjoyed. That’s what wine is about.”
The Fred Parks Boardroom is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.
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