Monday, March 19, 2012

The Ladies of the Vine Wine Club

When I was teaching a Zumba class last semester, one of the ladies in my class mentioned she wouldn't be at class the following week because she was attending the monthly "Ladies of the Vine" dinner. Intrigued by the name (and joking that if it had something to do with wine she was "excused" from class) I asked her what it was all about. She told me it was a monthly get together to eat and drink wine and the next time she was in class she brought me a flyer. I jumped on the internet that night, and soon after contacted the founder of the group, Kristin.

Kristin, a Buffalonian, was living in Fort Myers, Florida in 2004, which is where the original idea for the "Ladies of The Vine" concept came from. When we discussed where the idea came from, Kristin said, "...over dinner and drinks with some friends. I was telling them how nice it would be to get together more often for nice dinners and to learn about wine. After a few more drinks, I said, "what the heck" and decided to get something off the ground." Kristin partnered with a restaurant in Fort Myers and began hosting a monthly women's wine club. It was an instant success.

After moving back to Buffalo in 2005, Kristin knew she wanted to start a women's wine club up here, but wanted to get re-acclimated to the area first. In August of 2010 she launched the first wine club event in Buffalo at Stillwater. Since that initial event, they have continued to meet the first Tuesday of every month.

Anyone can participate, and the group has no formal "membership" policy. Ladies pay one price for dinner which includes appetizers, dinner, wines, tax and gratuity. Each month the group tries out a different restaurant in Buffalo (although they do admit they have some favorites they have gone back to; Torches, 31 Club and Rue Franklin, to name a few). The typical cost of the event is $60.

Also included in the cost are a chance at prize drawings at the end of the night, and throughout the year money is donated to local charities. For the past year, "The Ladies of The Vine" have been working with Everywoman Opportunity Center.

Reservations for the event are required ahead of time and cancellations are nonrefundable if made within 48 hours of the event.

To find out more about the monthly events, you need to join Kristin's mailing list. (e-mail her to join at or call her at (716) 380-8565). An e-newsletter goes out each month, along with an invitation to the event. Kristin also sends out invites and updates via Facebook and everything can also be found on their website. Participants don't need to come every month, they can take a look at the schedule, see what interests them, and join in when they can.

For anyone who works full time, has kids that keep them busy, or doesn't get to get out on the town often, it can be hard to make new friends. This group is the perfect place to strike up new friendships (who share your common love for food and wine). Kristin noted that many of the ladies who have participated have become great friends!

Depending on the size of the restaurant, monthly get togethers typically have between 50-60 ladies in attendance. The group also hosts smaller happy hour events and dinners in Niagara County as well.

"The Ladies of the Vine" truly has something for all women. Whether it's getting to "Love on Buffalo" and sample different menus out, learn about wine, get away from work and kids to have a fun night out, or network with a lot of business professionals in Buffalo, you won't be disappointed you attended an event. The next dinner will be held on Tuesday April 3rd at Rick's on Main in East Aurora. Check out all the details on their website/Facebook pages today!

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