Richard Gonzmart, fourth generation founding family member of Florida’s oldest restaurant, The Columbia, has combined his love for wine, education and the University of South Florida Bulls to create a private label wine called RG, based on his initials.
A portion of sales profits from the three RG wines will benefit USF Athletics so that Bulls student athletes may enjoy some of the top athletic training and sports facilities across the nation, and will also offer other students and fans the opportunity to enjoy a collegiate athletic contest at the highest level possible on campus.
A portion of RG wine sale profits will also benefit USF’s Latino Scholarship Fund where Gonzmart has established the Columbia Centennial Scholarship to assist financially challenged, but academically excellent Latino students. Currently, there are three minority students attending USF on full scholarships under this endowment.
After a trip to the wine-rich Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina, Gonzmart visited with friend José Manuel Ortega, owner of the world-class winery O. Fournier to select these private label wines.
RG white wines will include Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and a red wine will be offered in Malbec Tempranillo.
These three wines will be served in all seven Columbia locations in Florida, and also sold in gift shops adjacent to the Columbia in Tampa’s Ybor City and in Sarasota on St. Armands Circle.
Gonzmart is proud to add these private label wines to the extensive wine collection offered at The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. The 240-plus page wine list of the Columbia has been recognized by many of Spain’s leading winemakers, including Miguel Torres of Torres and Pablo Álvarez of Vega Sicilia, as having the most complete and the world’s best collection in the world of wines from Spain. The Columbia’s wine list contains more than 1,056 wines with an inventory exceeding 50,000 bottles. The collection also contains a large selection of verietals from some of California’s leading family-owned wineries.
The Columbia Restaurant was founded in 1905 in Ybor City, and is Florida’s oldest restaurant. Additional locations include St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, the Historic District in St. Augustine, The Pier in Downtown St. Petersburg, Sand Key on Clearwater Beach, Central Florida’s town of Celebration and the Columbia Café on the Riverwalk in Tampa. All Columbia Restaurants are owned and operated by fourth and fifth generation members of the founding family. Please see www.columbiarestaurant.com for more information.
The label artwork is a watercolor rendition of an original photo captured when Gonzmart was in Pamplona, Spain running in the legendary San Fermín Running of the Bulls in 2007. It marked the second time he attended and ran in this annual festival. He was accompanied by fellow USF Iron Bull Athletic Boosters.