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In April of 2005, my buddy Russ came into town and was all agog over a blind wine tasting he had hosted at this house in LA. I’ll let him describe it:

“It was great! Everybody brought over a bottle, we hid the labels, and reviewed the wines. Because there was no label, we had no preconceived notions about the quality or expense of the bottle. It was all about the wine. I took home at least 4 great recommendations for wine to try. Plus, because everyone brought a bottle, there was the perfect amount of alcohol. Finally, it’s a party that inevitably draws more women than men, which is always the goal of any party. Am I right?”

Right indeed, Russ! At the time, I had been trying to find a group in Austin that would cater to my burgeoning taste in wine. It seemed all the groups were either really expensive or were only interested in getting me to attend some $90 event at the Driskill Grill. This is all well and good, but seemed to me not to really cater to what Austin is all about. We’re not Dallas. We’re not Houston. We’re young, fairly hip, and we probably drink too much. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a group that was only focused on creating good experiences for all levels of wine affinity without making a big fuss over themselves.

So, I decided to start one.

The next month, I posted an ad in Craigslist. I explained what I was trying to do (assemble people for a blind wine tasting), why I was doing it (to drink wine and meet new people), and gave directions to a party to be held that Friday. I wanted to invite strangers to try to expand the group beyond my immediate friend circle, rather than just another night drinking wine with the same old people. Inviting all of Austin to a house in Westlake seemed like a move fraught with danger, especially to the owner of the house, but we went ahead with it anyway.

As the first members came in and realized that they weren’t going to be kidnapped or raped, the corks began to pop, and the wine started flowing. In the end, we probably had 40 people show up, everyone had a great time, and The Austin Winos were born!

From these humble beginnings, our group has grown to about 300 members with all sorts of fun and crazy events all year round. These include house parties, bar crawls, bus trips, and much more! We’re looking to make this group even better, but we can’t do that without awesome members!

To get the latest events and all sorts of wine related news, you should join our newsletter. Most events will only be announced through email. So enter your email in the space above, and we look forward to seeing you at an event in the near future!

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