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Mark Anthony King, wine specialist and distributor for Southern Wine and Spirits, Philadelphia, Pa., will host a wine-tasting seminar 6 p.m. today in Marquis Dining Hall.

The seminar is the first official meeting for Lafayette’s Wine Society. It is only open to Wine Society members, and only 35 spaces were made available. They were given on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Wine Society was founded in November last year by Gabriel Valentin ’02 of LiMoges, France, and faculty adviser Ed Gamber, associate professor of economics and business, to bring students and faculty together to learn about the world of wine.

“I wanted to promote a healthy attitude toward drinking,” says Valentin. “Because it plays such a large part in my culture, I know that wine is not something you drink excessively. It is supposed to be appreciated.” His focus is not on teaching about wine, but rather on showing students how to appreciate it.

Valentin believes that the Wine Society ultimately will prove that contrary to popular opinion, “Teenagers and young adults can be interested in something involving alcohol without using it excessively.”

Last semester, the society held an introductory meeting that drew nearly 80 students. Interest has since increased, with membership at 125 (40 have already paid their $10 dues for the spring semester). Following the kick-off seminar on Feb. 26, in which members will learn how to taste and judge eight different wines, Valentin plans to maintain an active schedule for the remainder of the semester. The Wine Society will go on one wine-tasting tour and hold monthly meetings. Ideas for future meeting topics include having a chef host a seminar on food and wine and a doctor discussing wine’s health benefits.

For more information about the Wine Society or today’s seminar, contact Valentin at 610-438-3219.

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