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Idea Fair

Share Your Wine

How has this idea enhanced your club's operation, etc.?

The dinner is almost three events rolled into one. We first have the food itself; it is like a chefs table as they select the courses. We allow the chefs to be as creative as they like. This allows the club to try new dishes that if are well recieved make it to the normal dinning menu. Second, we have the members pairing the wine with the course they are given. It would be similar to going to a wine dinner and having five different sommeliers pairing wine for each course. There is a beautiful curvy road of wines that are brought to the dinner. This starts lots of conversations with our wine director as the members try to figure out what they want to bring. Last, we have something like a mixer. The dinner is extremely limited and fills up in minutes. With that happening members that have never meet or never socialize get to sit down and enjoy dinner. After enjoying wine, personal experiences, and great food we see new friendships form. This dinner allows the club to put on a very affordable wine dinner as the members supply the wine. The dinners are scheduled on a slower night to help drive in business. This also prevents the kitchen from getting overwhelmed. The wine director has fun helping members pick wine and getting members interested in new varietals. With all the aspects of the dinner, members see and feel the sense of community that we all look to cultivate and maintain in clubs.

How was this idea implemented, and what have been the club members' reactions?

The dinner is fairly easy to put on. We first have the executive chef and his team produce a five-course dinner. We realized any more courses it is either too much wine or too much food. This makes it a dinner for five couples. We advertise the dinner menu with a price and let them know sign up will be in a week. This allows everyone a chance to see it and be ready to sign up. After the dinner is full with ten people, we let everyone else know they are on a wait list. We then take all the courses, place them in a hat, place the members in another hat, and draw a course and then a member. We do this until all courses have a member assigned. We then notify the members of their assigned course. Only the induvial member and we know the wine/course they have. Members love surprising the group with what they bring. We ask of the member a few small things. First is that they bring two bottles of the selected wine to make sure everyone gets a glass. Second when their course is up, they talk about why they brought the wine, why they think it works for the course, and anything personal about the wine or vineyard they love. The only requirement is to bring the wine to us the day before or morning of. We will ensure it gets the proper glass wear, served at the right temperature, and decanted if needed or asked. We provide a small tasting notes page at dinner so they can write down wines they like, flavor profiles they tasted, and what wine was paired perfectly. The dinner menus also have "Course paired by guest sommelier members name" under their corresponding course. Our wine director is there to let the members know of additional choices for pairing, vineyards or regions on the wines they brought. He also provides recommendations on other wines to try based on wine that was poured. We allow about a five-minute window from pouring the wine to serving the course. We want members a chance to speak with no interruptions. Each course introduced is a wow from our talented culinary team. At the end, our members are caught in the most unexpected wine pairing conversations and tales of life. Members love this night. During the dinner they are taking photos, texting pictures, exchanging contact info with one another. The free marketing you get from them telling all other members ensures the next dinner is sold out. After the dinners we see members that never sit together now enjoying after dinner drinks, planning golf trips, and creating a stronger sense of family in the club.

About the author

Christopher Wahl

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