City Pulse

By Eudie Pak

A date? A new job? These desires could just be a click away. Did any of you guys vow to start off the year by drinking more alcohol? (In my best James Brown impersonation: Can I get a witness?!?) Well, for you fellow vino-bent ladies and germs who also like to rev up your chatter boxes, the Manhattan Wine Group might just be the outlet for you.

To jump-start national wine week, I thought it’d be cool to hang out with these folks and see if it’d be worth your time to check out.

Started by an investment banker who believed knowledge of wine would be a sophisticated way of entertaining clients, the group started out sipping with a few but in a year’s time has guzzled their fermented grape-lovin selves to over 2,200 members to date.

So here are some things you’d probably want to know about the Manhattan Wine Group:

- It’s a free to join.
- You don’t have to be an expert on wine – you just have to have an interest.
- The group usually meets twice a month and holds the events at trendy venues. Cover charge is minimal (about $10 bucks) and is used for light bites and rental space.
- The wine events are theme-centered (the one I went to celebrated South American wines), and the charge per glass is pretty cheapo – $6 bucks a pop.
- The demographics seem to be late 20s to mid-40s. Kind of a yuppified jury-duty crowd.
- The atmosphere is lively and unpretentious.

My experience: Aside from the jacked-up music (sounded like Phil Collins on crack), it was cool beans. The event was held at this hip Italian restaurant called Via (16 West 21st between 5th and 6th Avenue) and about 125 people had been crankin the scene by the time I left. It was a relaxed, fun atmosphere filled with pretty good-looking people. Out of the five wines the group was showcasing that night, the light taste of the Araucani Carmenere 2005 (Chile) rocked my world.

Recommendations: Wine lover? You should definitely join. Single? It’s time to prep your loins for some possibilities. Out of a job or want a new one? Great networking opportunity so bring your business cards.

Originally published March 2007
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