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Wined and Dined: Nashville Predators Foundation Wine Festival & Tasting

by Kayla Evans / Nashville Predators

Like a fine wine, Nashville Predators charity events just keep getting better with age.

April 2 marked the 10th Annual Nashville Predators Foundation Wine Festival & Tasting presented by King Jewelers. Over 50 tasting tables encircled the covered ice at Bridgestone Arena, offering more than 300 high-end wines, beer and spirits. Delicious local fare and an extensive auction was the icing on the cake to a packed house, eager to give back to their community and have a little fun all at the same time.

With the money raised from the Wine Festival and other Foundation events throughout the year, such as the GnashVegas Casino Night & Auction, the Nashville Predators Foundation is able to present grants to Middle Tennessee charities and community service organizations in need.

“Every season, nonprofit organizations can apply for our grants, for $500 to up to $10,000, depending on what they looking to fund,” Predators Manager of Community Relations Kristen Finch said.

This year, the distribution of all the 2015 Nashville Predators Foundation grants will take place the first week of May. At this event, all of the chosen charities will join together at the Bridgestone Arena concourse and receive a check for their organization. Each organization is called up individually, and as an added bonus, gets to pose for a photo with Gnash.

“It’s really nice to see all the hard work you have done throughout the year be given away to these causes and then start again with zero so you can do it all over,” Finch said.

The pairing of Nashville and the Predators are an infectious mix and recent resident Vanessa Kirschke feels it’s hard not to become a fan once you move to the city, for more reasons than their talent on the ice.

“This is an incredible event, the atmosphere is amazing,” said Kirschke. “This supports one of the many reasons why people want to be a Predators fan, because they give back to the community. It makes everyone feel connected.”

Throughout the night, guests had the chance to feel even more connected with the team through generous auction items. Fans could bid on the Nashville Predators first “organ,” a dinner with Head Coach Peter Laviolette or a Predators wine box with four bottles autographed by Shea Weber, Mike Fisher, James Neal and Pekka Rinne.

Bringing a very different flavor to the evening was Jenn Desjardins, a Brand Manager for Copper and Kings Brandy Company out of Louisville, Kentucky. They use a traditional copper pot distillation to produce their delicious signature spirit, brandy, which like wine is also made from grapes.

“This is our first year being at the Wine Festival & Tasting. We are excited and will hopefully be here for future events because it definitely brings a great crowd,” Desjardins said.

The newer distillery, which has only been open to the public for the last year, was recently featured in Nashville Lifestyles Magazine and is available at numerous restaurants in the Nashville area.

“It’s great exposure,” said Desjardins. “Nashville is such a booming city and getting to make those connections with folks who really know what they are doing means a lot to us.”

With the excitement of the Predators clinching a spot in the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s hard not to feel the energy permeating Smashville. The Wine Festival & Tasting presented by King Jewelers was another successful event and great example of why the Predators have some of the greatest fans in the National Hockey League.

To view a photo gallery of the event, click here.

The Wine Festival & Tasting is just one of the Nashville Predators Foundation’s incredible fundraising events. Fans can mark their calendars for June 27 when the Craft Beer Festival presented by Tavern ’96 will take place. For more information about upcoming Foundation events, or on the Foundation itself, visit Nashvillepredators.com/foundation.

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