For Immediate Release Contact: Wayne Chaplin
President & Chief Operating Officer
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
Telephone: (305) 625-4171
SOUTHERN WINE & SPIRITS OF AMERICA, INC. ANNOUNCES MARIA RAMIREZ OF FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY AS THE 2005/2006 RECIPIENT OF ANNE BENNETT SCHOLARSHIP HONOR
SWS/FIU SCHOLARSHIP FUND COMMEMORATES MEMORY OF SWS PIONEER IN WINE & SPIRITS BUSINESS
MIAMI -December 20, 2005 - Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor with operations in 20 states and pending in one more, is proud to announce that Maria Ramirez, an honor student at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU) is the recipient of the Southern Wine & Spirits Anne Bennett Scholarship, which is given annually to deserving FIU students interested in pursuing a career in the nation’s hospitality and tourism business.
Commenting on the scholarship award, Mr. Wayne Chaplin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., said: “This scholarship is a wonderful way to honor the memory of Anne Bennett, a longtime employee of Southern and one of the pioneer women in the wine and spirits business. We are delighted this scholarship will help Maria Ramirez, who is a remarkably gifted and ambitious student, to complete her studies at FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.”
In a thank you letter sent by Ms. Ramirez to Southern Wine & Spirits, the Venezuelan-born student wrote: “Being the recipient of this year’s Anne Bennett Scholarship is going to help me show the world and myself that the people at FIU helped me build up the motivation to achieve my personal and business goal. I feel proud and I hope to one day have the opportunity to give back to other students the same help I have received.” Upon graduation in May 2006, Ms. Ramirez hopes to gain an entry level position in either the hospitality or tourism field, where she plans on working her hardest to contribute to her employer’s excellence.
Mr. Chaplin added that Southern Wine & Spirits is not only committed to supporting increased educational opportunities for students at FIU via scholarships, but has also made many significant donations to further the general academic goals of FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, from endowing professorships to contributing to specific building funds.
In 1999, founded with generous grants from Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. and many other supplier partners, the Southern Wine and Spirits Beverage Management Center was inaugurated at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at FIU. The 4,500-square-foot facility, widely considered to be the most advanced beverage appreciation and evaluation facility in the world, is living evidence of Southern Wine & Spirits’ commitment to furthering the professional and educational standards of the hospitality industry.
In addition, Mr. Chaplin said that Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is a proud founding sponsor of the annual The South Beach Wine & Food Festival, in association with Food & Wine magazine. Each year, this exciting three-day event attracts thousands of interested consumers, talented wine makers from around the world as well as famous chefs and cooking authorities. Now in its fifth year and thanks to Southern Wine & Spirits’ involvement, a portion of the Festival’s proceeds directly benefit FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, according to Mr. Chaplin.
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor, with operations soon to be in 21 states. The Company currently operates in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and, pending the close of the transaction, Mississippi. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 10,000 team members.