Hattiesburg, Mississippi (population 46,000), is blessed with an irresistible small-town southern charm. But what’s drawing an international gathering of some of the world’s most prestigious oenophiles to Hattiesburg for a charitable event to end hunger on April 12, 2013?
These industry luminaries are coming together for the ninth year in response to the compelling invitation of chef, author, and restaurateur Robert St. John (pictured) to help stop a nationwide crisis.
As proprietor of Purple Parrot Café – where most of the waiters also are accredited sommeliers and the acclaimed 1,000-label wine list has garnered a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 2005 — Robert has inspired some of the best winemakers and wineries from California and the Pacific Northwest to as far away as Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Spain and South America, to partner with him in an effort to end hunger in America.
They are traveling all this way, once again, to sponsor the Purple Parrot Café’s annual Wine Festival, in hopes to feed more mouths in 2013 for his charitable organization Extra Table.
On the evening of April 12, 2013, at the historic Train Depot, 308 Newman Street, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, guests will have the opportunity to sample (unlimited!) wines from a selection of more than 100 labels. While many of the wines are valued at more than $100 per bottle, tickets cost just $85, and 100% of the proceeds will benefit Extra Table.
Extra Table is a non-profit organization founded by Robert St. John with the mission of feeding every mouth in need at least once a day.
His determination to tackle food insecurity and obesity (two national epidemics that are most prevalent in the state of Mississippi) stemmed from his single question: “what if every restaurant, business and home in town had just one extra table just to feed the needy”? This occurred to him after he received a desperate call from his local pantry.
He found the solution by teaming up with Sysco, a national food supplier, to make it easier for healthy and modest donations to be made to the empty pantry the next day. St. John launched a grass roots movement among his fellow food professionals, and before long, had a statewide 501(c)3 on his hands. As other cities ask him to replicate Extra Table for them, Robert St. John’s vision for his community in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is on its way to becoming a national program.
Eric Johnson, Winemaker—Talley Vineyards (California)
Tommy Fogarty, Owner – Thomas Fogarty Winery (California)
Michael Keenan, President—Robert Keenan Winery (California)
Nils Venge, Owner/Winemaker—Saddleback Cellars and Cougar’s Leap Wines (California)
Chad Melville of Melville Winery (California)
Brian Loring, Owner/Winemaker – Loring Wine Company (California)
John Conover, General Manager/ Partner – Plumpjack and Cade Wineries (California)
Kathy Joseph, Owner/Winemaker – Fiddlehead Cellars (California)
Dan Kosta, Partner—Kosta Browne (California)
Tom Leonardini II, VP –Whitehall Lane (California), family-owned
Robert Biale, Owner—Robert Biale Vineyards (California)
Alexandra Cohn, Owner – JC Cellars (California)
Roger Roessler, Owner – Roessler (R2 Wine Company) (California)
Kevin Hall, Winemaker—Alexander Valley Vineyards (California)
Richard Morehouse, VP Sales –Pedroncelli Winery (California), family-owned
Scott Burleson, VP Sales Eastern US – Cecchetti Wine Company (California)
Matt Hobbs, Manager/family-owned Paul Hobbs/Paul Hobbs Imports (California/Argentina)
Bill Hatcher, Partner—A to Z Wine Works & Rex Hill Wines (Oregon)
Ginger Dollins, SE Regional Sales Manager – Domaine Serene (Oregon)
Betsy Bolling, Director—Charles Smith/K Vintners (Washington)
Chris Camarda, Owner/Winemaker – Andrew Will Winery (Washington)
Sebastian Sicilia, Global Ambassador & Export Manager – Altivo (Argentina)
Melanie Malosky, National Sales Director – Vine Connections (Argentina)
John Larchet, Owner/Winemaker (Australia)
Silvio Leguia, Export Manager – Aresti Winery (Chile)
Thomas Haehn –Von Schleinitz (Germany), family-owned
Christian Hermann, Winemaker—Dr. Hermann Wines (Germany)
Barbieri Wine Company (Italy)
Caitlin Tiller, Global Ambassador –Isabel Estate, Marlborough (New Zealand), family-owned
Christophe Durand, Owner/Winemaker – Vin D’Orrance wines (South Africa)
Felipe Alvarez Felipe Alvarez, Export Manager,Monte Vicor/Vega Moragona/Celler Malondro (Spain)
Bartholomew Broadbent, Owner—Broadbent Selections (worldwide varietals)
Photo Credit: Purple Parrot Café