fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

Wining and Dining for the Animals

Alaqua Animal Refuge’s 100-Point Wine Dinner

By Jill Tanner | Photography by Dawn Chapman Whitty

At the end of a winding dirt road just north of the sugar-white beaches of South Walton, Florida, you will find Alaqua Animal Refuge. The ten-acre award-winning refuge, located in Freeport, Florida, may be a little off the beaten path, but is one of the top no-kill animal shelters in the country. At any given time, the refuge is home to nearly 250 animals, including horses, chickens, pigs, bunnies, emus, wild hogs, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, and one very hefty steer named Loverboy (rumored to be the largest steer in the state). The animals of Alaqua lead a charmed life thanks to the care and love they receive from the staff and volunteers who give their time to make Alaqua a little piece of heaven on earth. Since its inception in 2007, Alaqua Animal Refuge has rescued nearly ten thousand homeless, abused, and neglected animals. 

Just across the street from the refuge is the home and ten-acre horse farm of Alaqua’s founders, Laurie and Taylor Hood, and their two sons, Garner and Crockett. The property, situated right on Alaqua Bayou, is adorned with moss-draped oak trees. Rare white pelicans frequent the bayou, and it’s not uncommon to see dolphins put on a show as you ride your horse along the water. The Euchee Indian tribe called this land home many years ago. They were known for protecting the land and the animals that shared it with them. Their spirit lives on at Alaqua Animal Refuge, which was named in their honor.

Wining and dining for the animals alaqua animal refuge Nikhil Abuvala Michel Thibault

Before Laurie founded Alaqua, there wasn’t a shelter or an adoption center of any kind for neglected animals in Walton County. Thousands were euthanized each year without a glimmer of hope or love. Laurie has since changed the entire state of animal welfare in this county, but having such a large operation in such a small town makes finding funds very tricky. Creativity often comes into play, which is exactly how the 100-Point Wine Dinner was conceived.

Laurie turned to French wine expert Michel Thibault to help her create the unique event known as the 100-Point Wine Dinner. Michel, who was recently inducted to the eight-hundred-year-old wine society, the Jurade de Saint-Émilion, in Bordeaux, France, scours the globe in search of 100-point wines. The wines are often held in private collections and locating them can be quite a task. Once the wines were procured, the dinner that followed was nothing short of superb.

Wining and dining for the animals alaqua animal refuge's 100-Point wine dinner

The 2014 100-Point Wine Dinner was held on June 14 at the Hood farm in the award-winning barn designed by architect Les McCormick. The evening began with a champagne and cocktail party featuring Nashville performer Daphne Willis, who serenaded guests with her unique vocal styling and distinctive brand of music during the reception.

Wining and dining for the animals alaqua animal refuge chef nikhil abuvala zachary spear

Following the reception, a five-course farm-to-table meal was donated and served by Chef Nikhil Abuvala of Roux 30A. Chef Nikhil created a superior menu and worked closely with Michel to pair each course perfectly with each 100-point wine. The chosen wines, such as the 2010 Dominus from the New World and the 2009 Château Pontet-Canet 2009 from the Old World, delighted the guests. Even the dessert wine, the 2001 Château Rieussec Sauternes, was rated 100 points.

Only fifty seats were available for this exclusive event due to the rarity of the wines. Jetsetters from around the country were in attendance, and this distinctive wine dinner made for a night that guests would never forget as they gathered together to help the animals of Alaqua. The evening was a huge success and garnered $95,000 from ticket sales, live auction lots, and silent auction items. A private donor also pledged $125,000 that night to build the medical facility at the new Alaqua, and $22,000 was pledged by other private donors for the Alaqua Relocation Campaign (ARC).

— V —

Many thanks go out to all who donated their time, services, and money to Alaqua’s 100-Point Wine Dinner. Alaqua Animal Refuge is excited to announce another way you can help—the very first Hunks and Hounds calendar will soon go on sale! Local photographer Dawn Chapman Whitty has generously donated her services and captured local “hunks” with their best four-legged friends to be featured in an exclusive 2015 calendar. 

Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine - The Art & Design Issue November 2021
VIE Magazine January 2021 Special Commemorative Edition
VIE Magazine September 2020 Wanderlust Issue, Fancy Camps, The Idea Boutique
VIE Magazine August 2020 Art & Culture Issue, Nathan Alan Yoakum Art
VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail