Oklahoma Restaurant Association - Event Information
Hirst Hospitality Awards
vintner presented by
2018 marks the 20th anniversary of this wonderful event! Held each November, the goal of the Hirst Hospitality Awards is to recognize and honor the hardworking employees in the foodservice industry. The event pays tribute to the backbone of the restaurant industry - the restaurant employees. This members-only event gives employers the opportunity to single out and recognize their best workers, acknowledging the value of a good staff.
"This evening of celebration is a wonderful opportunity for our members and friends of our business to get together and honor those employees who often go unrecognized but who are so important to the success of the foodservice industry," says Jim Hopper, President and CEO of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association.
The Hirst Hospitality Awards Dinner helps us reach two very important goals. First, to celebrate employee excellence, and to recognize their personal pride, service and dedication to the restaurant industry. Second, to support the Oklahoma Hospitality Foundation's goal of providing scholarships to qualified students of the hospitality industry. Our goal is met not only through paid attendance at the event, but with contributions made during the auctions as well as additional fundraising activities.
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum 1700 NE 63rd Street Oklahoma City, OK 73111
All employees are eligible and there is no limit to the number of employees you may recognize and register for the event. Please use your own criteria when choosing honorees, which may include management and non-management staff.
Pricing On or before November 5
Purchase 7 seats and get the 8th seat free, or
Purchase 8 seats and get the 9th seat free, or
Purchase 9 seats and get the 10th seat free
*Each person, including the person utilizing the free seat, must be registered in advance. There will be no extra seats available onsite.
After November 5
No multiple discounts
Engraved award (honorees not registered by November 5 will receive their award after November 12)
Eligible for a $1,000 cash prize drawing
Eligible for additional cash and certificate drawings
Media and industry recognition
What to Wear
Attire for Monday evening is “dressy,” but not formal. After-five attire is typical, but in no way is it mandatory. For men, a jacket and/or tie are suggested, but not required. Primarily women wear a dress or pantsuit. Most of all we want everyone, especially our Honorees, to feel comfortable and have a great evening.
Transportation from Tulsa
Round-trip complimentary bus transportation from Tulsa, provided by Red Carpet Charters, will be available on a limited basis. Contact Theresa Martin at (405) 942-8181 to reserve your seat on the charter.
2018 Guest Vintner
General Manager, PlumpJack Winery
John Conover joined PlumpJack Winery as general manager in January 1999 to oversee the daily operations of the estate winery and vineyard, provide strategic direction for the newly-established property, steadily increase production from 1,000 cases to 10,000 cases annually, and create the image, awareness and global distribution channels that would ultimately support that level of production.
The critical and fiscal success of PlumpJack Winery ultimately inspired the purchase of a new 54-acre property on Howell Mountain. CADE Winery, founded in 2005 by partners Conover, Gordon Getty and Gavin Newsom, is nestled against dramatic slopes at an elevation of 1800 feet. The grapes grow in soil characterized by mountain ash and minerals, and the temperatures provide the perfect conditions for ripening, producing grapes with balance and density. From the outset of this new endeavor, the partners were committed to building CADE as the first Gold LEED-certified estate winery. “No one had ever attempted this, even the contractors, so the responsibility fell to us to develop a completely original plan,” says Conover. “We used everything from recycled concrete to insulation made from blue jeans. We incorporated solar panels to minimize the amount of electricity we use on the premises and utilized renewable cork flooring. We also made the commitment to be extremely careful with water use. Since it’s opening, CADE has served as a model for those seeking this level of green building, from UC Davis to other private winery ventures,” Conover concludes.
With CADE’s success mirroring that of PlumpJack’s, the three partners were open to a third winery when the opportunity to purchase an historic property in Stags Leap was presented in the fall of 2011. Soon thereafter, in February 2012, they founded Odette Estate. Odette, which spans 45 acres and is currently in the late stages of development, will also be Gold LEED certified and farmed organically. The winery’s first vintage, a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, was released in February 2015 and received high awards from wine critics, securing a position for Odette among its celebrated siblings.
In October 2016, Conover oversaw the purchase of an 82-acre vineyard site adjacent to CADE. The acquired vineyards are planted to 74 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and three acres of Sauvignon Blanc, providing a significant increase in premium quality, estate vineyard grapes for the CADE winemaking team.
“This is an extraordinarily exciting step for us as we approach CADE Estate’s tenth vintage,” said Conover. The winery, the 13th to be built in the state of California, was one of the Napa Valley’s early gravity-flow facilities featuring the most modern technology of the era. “As leaders in in green grapegrowing, winemaking and architectural practices today, we feel a special kinship with this winery and the founders’ commitment to modernity and relevancy.”
Of his partners, Conover says, “I’m exceedingly fortunate to have had the opportunity to develop these properties alongside Gordon Getty and Gavin Newsom. We share an absolute passion for these three properties, our wines and our people. This level of alignment can be very rare and it is the foundation of our success.”
Conover spends time at each winery each day. “Running wineries isn’t something one does remotely,” he says. “It’s an agricultural business and requires a feet in the soil approach to management. It’s also a very human business and that means spending time with the people who are the bedrock of our organization.
On the topic of what makes him eager to start each new day after 30 years in the wine business, Conover credits the team. “Not a day goes by that I do not acknowledge what an honor it is to work with our winemakers: Aaron Miller at PlumpJack, Danielle Cyrot at CADE and Jeff Owens at Odette. These are among the best, brightest and most passionate individuals in the business. Their talent and level of commitment to their craft and their teams make me proud beyond words.” And,” Conover concludes, “I think anyone who’s been to any of the three wineries would agree that our hospitality team provides experiences that are nothing short of magical.”
Conover lives in St. Helena with his wife, Ann Marie, having raised two daughters who are now in their twenties. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of The Napa Valley Grape Growers.
A silent auction will be held during the Hirst Hospitality Awards. Proceeds will benefit the Oklahoma Hospitality Foundation. Auction item donations can be confirmed via the online registration form. Suggested auction items include game or event tickets, baskets of goodies, dining packages, gift cards, spa gift certificates, and electronics. All donated items are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Any remaining auction items will be used as drawing items.
Allied Members and Partners
Allied members are eligible to participate through partnership opportunities. Please contact Patti Colley for details. (405) 942-8181 or (800) 375-8181. Once you have confirmed your partnership you will receive a form to complete with your attendee names and submit to the ORA. Confirmed Partners do not register online for the event.