April 17, 2013 by Justin Bannister, NMSU News Center
New Mexico State University will host a grand opening for the Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 20. The facility is part of the university’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.
“The completion of the Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine is very emotional for me,” said Bobby Lee Lawrence’s wife, Marion. “Teaching people about wine was very important to Bobby Lee. His passion for all things wine should be passed on to future generations in the best possible way, and the Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine will do that. I’m excited about preserving his legacy. There are many, many people to thank for helping me realize my dream, and I am grateful to all of them.”
The Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine is a beverage management laboratory completed late last year inside NMSU’s Gerald Thomas Hall. Lawrence, known throughout the area as the “Southwest Wine Guy,” passed away in 2010. Marion Lawrence established the academy with a $250,000 gift to the university.
“This facility expands our ability to offer more wine education courses in the future,” said Janet Green, head of NMSU’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. “More than anyone, students will get the most use out of the academy as part of their courses of study.”
The School of HRTM has a beverage management class and a basic wine education course. Green said the gift will help build on these courses in the recently completed academy of wine. The facility has a design reminiscent of a Tuscan wine cellar, with natural travertine floor and granite-topped wine tables, wine chillers and space for students to both learn and study.
Lawrence was known around Las Cruces as a wine and food expert. He trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and the Culinary Institute of America. He taught about wine at area wine festivals, wrote about wine for Sabroso magazine and had his own wine blog. Lawrence also had a successful media career.
For more information about the grand opening event, contact Stella Lucero at 575-646-5995.