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Larry Ruvo is a Champagne Hero

LARRY RUVO, is Mr. Las Vegas! And, definitely a Champagne man!

Someone who well-knows that we create our own luck is Mr. Modern-Day Las Vegas. After all, his is the extraordinary talent which created the gastronomy and architecture of what is known, world-wide, as Vegas. Larry Ruvo is the founder and senior managing director of Southern Wines and Spirits of Nevada. Larry is a man who acts on his visions to make the best possible future happen. And the results are not Lady Luck; they are because of the dedication and hard work of such a visionary as Larry.

One of Larry’s initial lucky-spins was the result of years of preparation and of fortuitous convergences. Larry, highly regarded for his wine and cuisine appreciation and knowledge, surrounded himself with the best of Chefs from around the globe; then the computer came into its own; and next The Wine Spectator was cutting-edge ready to spread the word about what was happening in Las Vegas.

All factors converged, and Larry took that lucky-spin, and Las Vegas came out the winner. First among the star Chefs to heed his call and saunter the gold-brick road into Las Vegas was Mark Miller, chef and creator of Santa Fe’s Coyote Café, where “the food is so good it makes you howl.”

Next, Larry’s good friend, Wolfgang Puck put his hand to the wheel and won, bringing Spago to Caesar’s Palace, as well as his Santa Monica, California-fusion restaurant, “Chinois.”

Today’s roster of famous starred restaurants serving the lucky millions, who now flood into Las Vegas has resulted in world-recognition for gastronomic excellence, all converged upon those few miles of constant light in the Nevada desert.

Las Vegas has a lot to thank Larry Ruvo for. Not the least is for growth so rapid that a whole airport expansion had to happen. And look at the architectural wonders, hotels growing and daily dreaming up new and more extravagant luxury lifestyles within each; like those of Steve Wynn with his world-class museum collections, which works of art are often reinterpreted by Chefs into signature dishes of gastronomic art, and by Master Sommeliers in wine collections worthy of traveling long lengths of miles to experience. This brings up the Master Sommelier Club. Vegas’s explosion of Master Sommeliers is another wonder to thanks Larry for. I recently experienced a meeting of one group of more than fifty women, most Master Sommeliers, “Women Gone Wine.” It is an ebullient, effervescent and talented group of women celebrating the wonders of great wines.

Without the vision of Larry Ruvo such a unique group would not exist. Spearheaded by Kristi Smith, Director of Southern Wines and Spirits Rare Liquid Assets division – (an idea Larry encouraged and promotes proudly) this group of women certainly epitomizes a zest for knowledge and life.

I was thrilled to be a guest at their recent meeting, which began with Champagne Perrier Jouet Blanc de Blanc on the Bellagio hotel’s gallery before a tour of the art gallery’s feature of Women Artists such as Mary Cassatt (first American, first woman invited to exhibit with the Impressionists) and Marie Louise Vigee leBrun, (portraitist of her friend, Marie Antoinette in happy days), before adjourning to the hotel’s gourmet kitchen for discussion of wine and gastronomy. I was privileged to speak about my wine book, The Night Julius Caesar Invented Champagne, as well as the great blanc de blanc we enjoyed from Perrier-Jouet.

Not all of Las Vegas is found in or around the hotels and casinos of Vegas’s “Strip”. Not far away, Las Vegas actually has a real downtown.

And, OMG, has it changed in the last decade, springing up renewed, with a professional theatre complex and restaurants, and charming, well-maintained and planted streets for family strolling.

And, there, within this charming urban setting, Larry Ruvo’s foresight and love for his father, Lou, has once again created a marvel that might very-well change our whole world: his joint-venture with renown Cleveland Clinic hospital is today the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center For Brain Health, specializing in the cornerstones of the Cleveland Clinic – patient care, research, and medical education. To make it noticeable so that this important vision of his garners the attention it deserves, Larry has housed this Brain Health Center in a remarkable Frank Gehry building that incorporates the multi-facets of this center for brain health.

The “motto” of this medical facility is “Keeping the Memory Alive.”

Not only for the cure and care of Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Multiple System Atrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, is cutting-edge research happening.

Larry’s Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center’s medical staff is led by Dr. Jeffrey

Cummings and his team of researchers and physicians and technicians.

What would such a magnificent center be without the needed stimulus that

gastronomy and activity bring to all involved? Larry’s dear friend, Wolfgang Puck, designed the professional kitchen from which great events begin, well and professionally staffed by Las Vegas’s finest chefs.

The events center in Frank Gehry’s domed immensity is truly alive with activities meant to focus on the positive: lights, music, action – a magnificent facility to create and celebrate life within. To me, the icing on such a fabulous cake is the Executive Health Program, designed for leaders in all fields who are daily under stress. Here at the Lou Ruvo Center the Wellness Institute’s Preventative medicine examination is specially designed to really keep the memory alive. Larry has thought of everyone in this magnificent center celebrating brain health. It is eminently obvious that Larry Ruvo is a Champagne guy, bubbly with the gas of life, Co2. Sante! To you, Larry. Bravo!

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