This club brings wine enthusiasts together while educating people who are learning about the beverage.
By Jason Lewis
Lindsay Williams enjoys a glass of wine, and she also enjoys socially interacting with people in her community. While many people enjoy a glass… or two, of wine in the comforts of their own home or at a restaurant with friends, Williams was looking for a greater connection with other wine enthusiasts.
But at that point she hit a roadblock.
“I noticed that there were a lack of things to do around wine in my neighborhood in South L.A.,” she said. “So kind of on a whim I created the South L.A. Wine Club with the purpose of finding people in the community to drink wine with.”
Williams created the group in the fall of 2017 on Meetup.com, but she didn’t have high expectations at the time. To her surprise, about 50 people contacted her within a month. At that point she had to take action, so she contacted a few local Black wine makers, and she partnered with Paul Charles of Charles Wine Company for the first event, which was held at the Creative Art House in Inglewood.
The group was an instant hit, and Williams, who grew up in Gardena and attended graduate school at UCLA, had people in her area to enjoy wine with.
The mission of this group is wine education; from the various types of wines, wine companies, and pairing the wine with food. The events let people know what to look for when they are purchasing wine.
“A lot of the places where we get wine from in South L.A. and Inglewood are grocery stores and liquor stores,” Williams said. “There are no wine specific stores. So it can be overwhelming and intimidating to go down the wine aisle and not know what you’re looking at. Many people just grab something with a pretty label. But there’s a lot more to it than that. This club is an affordable way to try wine, figure out what you like and don’t like, and you can learn the vocabulary words. You can figure out if you like fruit, or dry, or sweet. You can learn how to find a moscato grape, and then you can start trying out the different brands. So when you go out to restaurants or grocery stores, you have more knowledge about what you’re looking for.”
The club meets bimonthly, and it is open to all levels of wine drinkers, from people who are not too knowledgeable about the beverage to people who have their own wine collection. There is no membership for the club. People simply pay for the events that they want to attend. The events typically feature a local wine maker, and there are cooking demonstrations so that people know how to pair their wine with their meals.
“People can expect to be engaged and learn more about wine,” Williams said. “People will leave with more knowledge about wine than what they came with. They can expect to leave with a couple bottles if they find something that they like. And they can expect to meet people from their neighborhood in a fun and inviting environment.”
Interacting with other people is one key aspect to this club.
“It’s a perfect way to socialize with people,” Williams said. “You’ll find that when you open up a bottle of wine, people just naturally come together.”
While many people drink beer and spirits, wine can be a more refined beverage.
“I love wine because it takes all of these different aspects of culture and combines it all together,” Williams said. “There’s a famous quote that says, ‘Wine is bottled poetry.’”
Some of the group members have expressed an interest in taking a trip to local wineries. Williams is looking into a drive to the wineries in Temecula or Santa Clarita, or taking a longer trip to Napa.