The Wino Club Logo

The Wino Club Logo


Networking With Wine

We know this is not a business site but we can’t resist thinking outside of the box every once in a while.

Creating your own wine tasting club can be a very powerful tool for business people who want to build their business with referrals and relationships. When most people think of a business networking group, they think of business cards and handshaking, 10 second commercials and dry chicken.

When most people think of a wine tasting party, they think of getting together with a few friends and spending the evening together enjoying wine and good food.

Which do you prefer? Obviously you have a kit in your hands so the answer is already apparent.

People refer business to people they know and like. Getting to know your referring partners and meeting with them regularly is the best method of building a great business relationship. This is why the best business groups meet regularly, either weekly or monthly.

Now imagine that instead of dressing in your business finest and passing out cards for a couple of painful hours, you were to toss on a pair of jeans, toss back some great wine, leave your cards in the car and still generate referrals?

The relaxed atmosphere of a wine tasting party makes the relationship building phase of networking painless. By meeting in each other’s homes instead of at a hotel or restaurant, you’ve just moved from business relationship to friend. Forming a wine tasting CLUB rather than just throwing an occasional party creates a consistent presence with one another to reinforce those relationships.

There is one really great advantage to this format as well. We’re not tax professionals here, but if you are building a networking group that just happens to be called a wine tasting club, wouldn’t that qualify as a business expense? So go for the good cheese and some special napkins. You don’t have to make it a gourmet event (remember this is about relaxing with one another), but please skip the American cheese slices on Ritz crackers. These are business professionals you are inviting to your home and you want to leave them with a good impression. The wine will help a lot with that, but it doesn’t hurt to put in a little bit extra.

The same rules apply to a business wino club as to a regular wino club. There is one rule we would like to repeat here because in business it can be a fatal trap. Invite Business People You Like. That seems like an obvious thing to say, but when building a social business network, personality actually weighs in more than occupation. You may know of a person who is a great potential business referral partner but they are just so boring. Don’t invite them. This may sound counter-intuitive but keep reminding yourself that an exciting group will generate more community interest than a stuffy one.

If your club is fun, it will attract more dynamic business people. You’ll have people begging to come. Go the to order your own kit today to start networking smarter (and have a way better time doing it).

Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris

The Other Pinot

Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio is a good change of pace for most of our clubs who are heavy on the reds. The grape itself is actually a relative of Pinot Noir so you red lovers should feel right at home here. Actually, the grape has the same DNA but mutated long ago to grow in a different color. Add that to your trivia bank. However don't expect to smell much because this wine is surprisingly low in aroma so you're going to have to hunt for the bouquet.

This wine varies greatly from region to region. Some prefer Pinot Grigio from TreVenezie in Italy. It is light and frivolous and easy to drink. There's nothing serious about this wine at all, it's just a great bottle to open up for a picnic. It is consumer friendly however and is sure to please most palettes. Italians are big red drinkers as a rule so their attention is usually spent perfecting that science. Don't get us wrong, it is good if you are hot and thirsty but not expecting much complexity.

Pinot Gris from Alsace, France has a much more complex flavor. The whites from Alsace tend to be taken quite seriously as one of the only wine regions in the world that produces predominantly white wines. The only red grape varietal grown here is its cousin, Pinot Noir. To note, Alsace was one of the first wine regions to list the varietal on its wine bottles, rather than the region as done in other parts of France. They also frown upon blending their grapes, taking a pure version of a wine to heart. Their Pinot Gris is dry and sweet as are most of the wines from the region. This means basically that you are drinking a nice crisp fruity wine with a full bodied flavor.

Pinot Gris also comes from Oregon where they were made popular in the early 1990s. Their Pinot Gris is spicy and would be a great pairing to Kathleen's Pear salad below. It is a very food friendly wine and would be a safe bet when bringing your hostess a gift on a sunny day. It was a natural for Oregon, a huge fan of Pinot Noir, to grow this relative. While it is not their top produced white wine, it is one of the favorites from Oregon, thriving on the cooler temperatures for a fuller wine.

So the moral of the story is Pinot Gris, or Pinot Grigio from Italy, has many faces. In a tasting, please try wines from all three of these regions because you really will taste the difference. We laugh in our club because we all have very different palettes and we naturally gravitated towards wines of a different region on this tasting. Email us your results please or post your comments on our blog under Pinot Gris at because we'd love to hear from you!

Happy tasting and we'll see you at!

Darcy & Stacy

Pinot Gris Food Pairing

Wino Food

A BIG Thank You goes out to our friend Kathleen , Owner of The Plantation House Restaurant in the Wine Country of Temecula, CA for the beautifully paired recipe for this crisp wine. Her Polenesian cuisine is a perfect match for the tart highlights found in Pinot Gris.

Make sure to visit their website at They are currently taking Easter Sunday reservations so hop on that quickly by calling 951-694-6088. For Groups, Catering, & Marketing call 951-694-2853. They do a lot of special events so be sure to join their email list at

The Plantation House Restaurant Pukalani Pear Salad

As the weather continues to get warmer, it is time to bring out those summer salads! The Plantation House Restaurant in Maurice Car'rie Winery has featured this summer salad since they opened a little over a year ago and it has fast become a favorite. Served with a beautiful Pinot Grigio, this Spring salad will make your tastebuds pop when the combination of goat cheese and the raspberry vinaigrette hits your mouth!

Kathleen Leonard, Owner

1 Bag of mixed field greens
1 whole ripe Pear
½ cup of whole Macadamia nuts
¼ cup Goat Cheese
¼ cup Raspberry Vinaigrette
*We can't give you our recipe, but Girard's Walnut Raspberry Vinaigrette will be a fabulous substitute!

Wash Field Greens and set aside. Take whole macadamia nuts and place on a clean counter and crush them with a rolling pin. Set oven at 350 degrees and spread nuts out over a baking sheet. Put in the oven for five minutes until toasted. Then set aside to cool. Core fresh ripe pear and set aside. Place the mixed greens in a salad bowl to assemble. Toss the cooled macadamia nuts, goat cheese and Raspberry Vinaigrette salad dressing over the salad mixture. To finish, plate each salad individually and then thinly slice the pear over each salad. Put in the refrigerator before serving or serve immediately.

**You may consider adding sliced chicken breast or grilled shrimp to make a heartier salad.

Don't forget to visit The Plantation House Restaurant next time you're in the Temecula and say hello to Kathleen. She is a fellow Wino Club Member and deserves a toast.

Pinot Gris Quick Tasting Tips

Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris Quick Tips

Pinot Gris is all about REFRESHMENT. There is very little to no aroma to be found in this wine and it is almost clear in appearance. Look for the following scents and flavors when tasting this wine:

Orange Blossom

Look for great Pinot Grigio or Gris coming out of Venezie, Alsace, Germany, Oregon and California.