August Dining: Cheers to Philanthropy

August Dining: Cheers to Philanthropy

Looking ahead to the wine-driven philanthropy of Thirst for a Cause, plus other developments from around the OKC dining industry.

Photo by Tyler Ljunghammar


Without exaggeration, Thirst for a Cause is the best annual wine event in Oklahoma. The food and wine tasting charity fundraiser, which features approximately 30 wineries and portfolios, 200 wines and 10 local restaurants, will be at the Jim Thorpe Center on Aug. 21. Alex Kroblin, founder and co-owner of Thirst Wine Merchants, started the event 13 years ago, at which point it was just for the hospitality trade.

Beginning in 2009, Kroblin asked the Oklahoma Restaurant Association and a few of its members, including David Egan of Cattlemen’s, Chef Kurt Fleischfresser and Michel Buthion, to administer the funds generated by the event. All proceeds go to assist hospitality industry employees who have medical expenses that exceed insurance coverage, or for whom no coverage is available.

“It’s always been a great event,” Kroblin says. “As busy as it is, we look forward to it every year, mainly because the money helps people in real need.”



Participants will get to sample approximately 200 high quality wines from every major growing region in the world – Napa, Columbia Valley, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Austria, among others. In most cases, winemakers or winery owners are at the table, which also allows guests to talk about the wines, the wineries and the winemaking processes.

First-time participants this year include James Cahill of Oregon’s Soter Vineyards, and James Thornett, the former British paratrooper behind the Baghdad Country Club and Buckshee Bourbon and Rye. On the restaurant side, Rachel Cope’s 84 Hospitality will be participating for the first time, as will new restaurants Sparrow – the Italian concept from Pete Holloway – and The Hamilton, a new supperette from the team behind Café 7.

Tickets are available at for $75 in advance.