I have this great little circle of friends.  It’s one of a few circles, as I’m sure we all have.  The one I’m talking about tonight is one I call “wine club,” aka, SIP.  (Fear not Studio, I’m sure I’ll write about you someday.)

A few years ago, my friend M decided to start a monthly get together of women – like book club, only without the books. There are twelve of us, and each of us only hosts once a year.  So for eleven other Thursday nights, we just have to show up, no pressure, and enjoy some good wine, great food, and even better company.  It’s really evolved into such a wonderful event that I look forward to every month, with an extremely supportive group of smart and funny women.  The conversations always vary widely, and I never feel “stuck” talking to any one person, because there’s no one with whom I feel “stuck.”  It’s comforting.

There are only a few rules to help keep things running smoothly – like sending out invites two weeks in advance, and rsvp-ing at least a week before – common courtesy type things, but when it comes to the theme and what to serve, it’s wide open, as long as you can somehow relate it to wine.  We’ve had organic wines, specific varietals, specific regions or AVAs, sake, bubbly, France vs. California, wines all from one winery, blind tastings, South American, Italian, Eastern European, “Pink,” …the list goes on and on.  We’re in our third year, so it has become increasingly difficult to think up a new theme.  In the end, it really doesn’t matter, as we all just talk about which ones we each like best.  And, as we’ve discovered, it’s not really about the wine anyway, but still…I guess the designer in me likes to have a concept around which to organize myself.  Last year, I chose wines purely based on labels I liked.  Judging books by their covers, if you will.

This month is my turn again.  I first considered a “party like it’s 1999” theme, where I’d buy wine all from the same year.  If I couldn’t find 1999 wines, then perhaps we’d be partying like it’s 2004, but then I read on wikipedia that the concept of good vs. bad vintages may be up for some debate.  I suppose I could try a blind tasting of a good year vs. a bad year, but oh well, maybe next year.  What I’m leaning towards now is more like “everything old is new again.”  I can compare a specific varietal from an “old world” style with the same grape or blend done in the “new world.”  The food can be new twists on old favorites.  It seems to fit well with the current atmosphere of reinvention – doing more with less…

My goal this year is to actually photograph some of the process and the festivities.  If all goes as planned, I’ll be back with a follow-up.  Cheers!