What a pairing

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They’ve created a win-win situation from a wine-wine one.

Pat Goodwin, the passion and brains behind the sixth annual CoCo Wine Festival on Saturday, has teamed up her love of fine wine with an even finer idea: giving culinary students a chance to shine and simultaneously build up a scholarship endowment for future Augusta Technical College students.

Not only will some of the program’s 64 students be sampling their creations at the festival Saturday, and getting real-world experience to boot, but proceeds from it will benefit the college’s nascent culinary arts scholarship – currently at over $2,200 (thanks to Goodwin’s $1,500 from last year), and set to start paying out when it reaches $10,000.

“It just seemed like the perfect partnership to me,” says Beverly Peltier, director of institutional advancement at Augusta Tech and head of its foundation, which includes 14 other endowments.

Delicious, really. With interest in culinary careers booming – in large part thanks to all the cooking shows bubbling up on television – it’s time Augusta Tech’s vital culinary program be given this kind of boost.

This is what happens when people stand up and lead – Goodwin is a decorated alum of Leadership Augusta and helped develop Leadership Columbia County. And it’s proof of the unexpected good that can come from simply plying one’s passions in life and sharing them with others. Goodwin conceived of the Columbia County wine festival – this year featuring over 200 wines and even distinctive beers – because she thought a community of this size and quality needed such an event.

That would have been enough – and she works hard every year to make it happen. But to also share the proceeds – with arts programs, the humane society, the battle against breast cancer and Augusta Tech – well, it’s quite a pairing.

(The CoCo Wine Festival is from 1-4 Saturday at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door, and $15 for hungry designated drivers.)


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