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Professor to present former student's wine at Notre Dame dinner event

When Patrick Murphy and John Bargetto met in a Notre Dame classroom in the 1980s, it was as teacher and student. Neither would have guessed that more than 25 years later, they would still be meeting as friends.

That’s why Murphy, a professor of marketing at University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, recommended Bargetto for the upcoming Sorin’s Wine Academy dinner series. When Bargetto, who owns Bargetto Winery in California, couldn’t make it to the dinner to present his wines himself, he could think of no better person than Murphy to appear in his stead.

“Notre Dame is near and dear to my heart,“ Bargetto said. ”This friendship has allowed me to keep in touch with the university; it keeps me tied.“

The dinner series showcases Notre Dame alumni winemakers and pairs them with a five-course meal from Morris Inn chefs. Murphy will speak about Bargetto Winery’s 80-year history and give pairing notes for the winery’s two chardonnays, a merlot, and La Vita wine made with a blend of Italian grapes. Though Murphy is, as he put it, “a professor and not a wine expert,” his close ties with Bargetto has fostered a familiarity with the wines.

“We regularly have Bargetto wine shipped here,” Murphy said. “When I heard about this dinner, I lobbied for Bargetto Winery to be one of the featured wines.”

Over a dinner with John Affleck-Graves, executive vice president of the university, Murphy mentioned Bargetto’s wine, which led to a meeting with Bargetto and an agreement to carry the winery’s selections at Notre Dame’s Morris Inn year-round. 

Wine is, in fact, one of the reasons the pair met in the first place.

In 1986, Bargetto wanted more business experience before he took over his family vineyard in Soquel, Cali., and found his way to Notre Dame for Murphy’s marketing classes in the MBA program.

Bargetto became Murphy’s student assistant; the two shared an interest in business and ethics. They stayed in touch even after Bargetto moved back to California, catching up every few years either over the phone or in person. Murphy and Bargetto also co-authored two research case studies, including one on the ethics of slotting allowances in the food industry.

“I’ve probably had a handful of students in 30 years that I’ve remained in close contact with,” Murphy said. “But John occasionally calls me for ideas and uses me as a business sounding board. And we talk about our kids.”

Murphy has also visited Bargetto Winery in the Santa Cruz mountains several times, and remembers an off-site tasting room with big vats of wine and an “idyllic picnic” in a gazebo at the winery’s Regan Vineyards, with several bottles of wine.

“I could definitely picture the process from vine to bottle,” Murphy said. “It’s nice as a former professor to see someone who is successful make a good business with ethically sound decisions. And the fact that he’ll pick up the phone and call me is great.”

The Sorin’s Wine Academy Dinner will be held at Notre Dame’s Morris Inn at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 14. A meal and wine pairing dinner will include dishes such as prosciutto-wrapped scallops and porcini-dusted New York strip. The cost is $75 per person for meal and wine pairings, with valet parking included. To make reservations, call 574-631-2020.

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