Southwest Louisiana’s premier annual wine and food event is back on the Quad on McNeese State University’s lovely campus. Rouge et Blanc takes place on September 8, 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. General admission tickets went on sale August 5 and sold 80% of available tickets within a few hours (tickets now sold-out), but lucky ticketholders have much to be excited about. Guests will be ushered through the Gold entry tent with live music from ACOUSTIC PIE; the Red entry tent with live music from Bill Rose; and in the Quad from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on the stage will be THREE SHEETS (Eric Sylvester blues /rock n roll). Not only will they experience the offerings of over 80 wines, 15 food booths, and live entertainment, but they also know their ticket purchases support one of SWLA’s most beloved and enduring arts and cultural organizations – Banners at McNeese State University. Read on to learn more about Rouge et Blanc, the Banners series, and that time-honored fruit of the vine . . . wine.
The Purpose behind the Party
Everyone knows that Rouge et Blanc is one of the best annual events on the Southwest Louisiana party scene. But do they know WHY the Banners committee works so hard to plan this amazing event year after year? The answer is simple – so that Banners, a financially self-sustaining organization within McNeese State University, can continue to provide the community with access to exceptional arts and humanities programming and education through arts integration that is unique to the area. Banners’ programs focus on lifelong learning and an appreciation of cultural diversity, working to enhance the quality of life in the communities of Southwest Louisiana.
When you purchase a ticket to Rouge et Blanc, you support community services provided by Banners. For example:
Banners Cultural Season
Through their Cultural Season, Banners presents a series of performances each spring. Those performances include classical and jazz music, readings, dance companies, illusionists, academic lectures, film, world music, and more. Each Season’s line-up is chosen by a group of volunteers who review possible artists and choose the best options for our community. Our volunteers also participate as ticket takers, hospitality providers, outreach assistants, and photographers.
One of the most important responsibilities of Banners is to engage local students in educational programming through arts and humanities performances. Banners Engages includes live presentations at no cost to public and parochial schools, appearances at Parish Public Libraries, demonstrations to students of McNeese State University, and other community venues. This program works to increase the number of students who experience live cultural programming, increase the number of hours of arts and humanities programming, and supplement the curriculum with prepared materials. It helps to ensure that children develop creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking. Studies have also shown that children involved in the arts are more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, be elected to class office within their schools, and win awards for school attendance. Each year, more than 17,000 students reap the benefits of having Banners educational outreach performances as part of their learning environment. With approximately 60 outreach programs annually, Banners brings arts and humanities to K-12 schools throughout Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jeff Davis Parishes and the students of McNeese State University.
When you support Banners at McNeese by attending Rouge et Blanc or purchasing a season subscription, you help provide our community with access to exceptional arts and humanities programming – as well as furthering the education of our children.
Wine Tasting Etiquetteaka the Ps & Qs of a wine tasting party
An afternoon of wine tasting, paired with delicious food, music and great friends – sounds like the perfect way to spend an early fall afternoon, right? That’s exactly what Rouge et Blanc’s grand tasting offers.
Long-time attendees have developed their tried-and-true routines for strolling through the various vendor booths. As the event has evolved over the years, and as Southwest Louisiana’s population has grown, there are more and more people attending Rouge et Blanc for the first time. If you’ve never been to a tasting event, it can be overwhelming.
Where to go? What to do?
Wine tasting etiquette goes beyond social rules. These guidelines can help you make the most of the tasting experience.
It’s a Taste
The wine offered at each booth is a tasting-size pour, which is about one ounce. That’s what the volunteers are trained to serve. So, don’t expect to receive a full glass of wine. It’s poor etiquette to ask for more than you are served, or to quickly drink your serving and request a refill. If you want a second taste of a wine you enjoyed, you can return to that vendor later.
Alcohol dehydrates the body, so sip water between wines to cleanse your palate and stay hydrated. Water is provided at several locations throughout the event.
There’s delicious food served along with the wine for a reason. Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly. When your stomach is empty, you’ll feel the effects much quicker, which means you’ll be able to handle less wine than you would on a full stomach.
Show consideration by stepping up to get a sample, and then stepping away or to the end of the next line to enjoy it. Other participants, as well as the vendors showcasing their wines, will appreciate this courtesy. If the vendor is offering more than one wine, either step to the side between pours or return later.
Pour out (or spit out) wine after you have had a sufficient taste if it’s one you don’t want to finish. Your pourer will not be offended. Drinking too much wine will make it difficult to taste the differences after a while, which defeats the whole purpose of a wine tasting. Buckets are available at all wine booths, along with water to rinse out your glass. Rinsing is especially important if you are going back and forth between reds and whites.
While you shouldn’t drink to the point of intoxication at a tasting, you may consume a fair amount of wine during the afternoon. Designating a driver or planning ahead for a taxi or Uber ride is the responsible thing to do.
All these suggestions have one goal in mind – to help you enjoy every moment you spend at Rouge et Blanc. À votre santé!
Your A-V Guide to Wine Terminology
Everyday words like “acid” and “clean” seem to take on a whole new meaning in conjunction with wine. But don’t let new terminology dissuade you from trying new wines! Here are the definitions for some of the most commonly used wine terms.
Acid Using the word “acid” in conjunction with a beverage sounds scary, but in the wine world, acidity refers to the tart and sour attributes of the wine that balance sweet flavors.
Body This term actually refers to the way a wine feels inside the mouth and generally is segmented into three categories: light, medium, and full. Wines with less alcohol, like Prosecco, are lighter-bodied, while wines with higher ABV, like Merlot, are full-bodied.
Clean A clean wine leaves no lingering aftertaste and has no murky flavors.
Crisp A crisp wine has more acidity and less sugar than sweeter wines.
Dry All wines contain sugar, of course, but dry wines have little or no perceivable sweetness.
Earthy This term can be both positive and negative. On one hand, an earthy wine is at once complex and clean; on the other, the term can be used to describe wine that literally tastes like dirt.
Fruity A fruit forward wine doesn’t necessarily taste like a glass of grape juice, but it does have the aroma and slight tastes of a variety of fruits (not only grapes).
Legs Legs are the rivulets of wine that stream down the side of your glass after you swirl your wine, or that appear when you hold the glass at an angle and then turn it upright. Legs can be an indication of the degree of alcohol and/or sugar in a wine but has little to do with taste.
Notes This is one of the most common wine terms and can refer to any nuance of a wine’s flavor, from acidity to fruit or even texture.
Tannins Found in grape skins, seeds, and even oak barrels, tannins give wine that sour quality that balances sweetness.
Vintage This is a wine made from grapes that were all harvested in the same year; it doesn’t necessarily mean an old or aged wine.
Learning wine terms can make it easier to track down your favorites in wine shops – or at Rouge et Blanc!!
Become an Imbiber for the Ultimate Rouge et Blanc Experience
So you’ve attended every Rouge et Blanc event for the past ten years or more and that four-hour tasting extravaganza is one of the highlights of your social calendar year. Are you ready to take your Rouge experience to the next level? Become an Imbiber!
There are many perks to being a Rouge Imbiber and Gold ticket holder. First, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase tickets early next year, so you’re guaranteed a spot at the party.
Avoid those longer lines and enjoy earlier access to the booths, as gold ticket patrons enter the event through the VIP gate and receive special goodies like an extra-large wine glass – the perfect Rouge souvenir. Imbibers are also eligible to purchase a reservation for one of four VIP tables (while they last).
To become an Imbiber, patrons must purchase $250-$499 in wine during the Rouge et Blanc event cycle. For even more perks, purchase $500 or more in wine to qualify as an Imperial Imbiber.
Patrons with Imperial Imbiber status qualify to attend the excellent Saveur du Lac pre-tasting event, a same-day tasting featuring wines over $75 in retail, paired with the best in Southwest Louisiana cuisine.
Special ticket bundles are also available to purchase for Imperial Imbibers, which include early pre-sale access to extra Red tickets for friends and family who’d like to attend. Get your tickets today and be a part of the biggest social event of the year!
The Rouge et Blanc staff and Thrive magazine want you to have a great time at this annual premier party. But we also want you to be safe. We strongly encourage you – if you’ve been enjoying the wine all afternoon — please don’t drive yourself home. There are plenty of other options.
Have a designated driver in your group. Arrange to have a friend or family member drop you off at the event and pick you up when it is over. Hire a chauffeur. Many young drivers appreciate the opportunity to earn a little extra cash. Make it fun by asking friends to join you in hiring a limo service. Call a cab. Yellow Cab offers a Safe Ride Home rate within the Lake Charles city limits; 337-433-8282. Or check online for other taxi options – there are several. Vouchers for Uber and Lyft will be available on-site for patrons of the event (limited quantities). Use the app on your phone, an Uber or Lyft driver will deliver you back home ($15 vouchers – rider is responsible for any overage).