Thursday nights in Knobel Hall will now be filled with (of-age) drinking, food and learning about the history and culture of wine.
Denison Wine Society is officially recognized as a society on Denison’s campus. Co-founders Brandon Place ‘17, Richard Wehman ‘17 and Drew Gray ‘17 put together this mission statement:
“The purpose of this organization is to gain a proper knowledge of the history and culture of wine because it’s an unrivaled skill to develop for various business and social atmospheres. In studying wine with our members, we will also be gaining an understanding of different regions of the world and how they produce as well as view the importance of wine in their culture.”
The meetings will usually consist of a guest speaker, two wine tastings, food and open discussion. The wine society plans to book as many speakers as possible. They want to collaborate with restaurants in the Columbus area and invite Denison alumni to lecture about wine.
“Our meetings mostly consist of seniors right now, but we want more underclassmen to come to the meetings,” said Gray. To participate in tasting wine, you must show your blue id to prove you are of age. However, anyone can come to listen to the guest speaker and mingle with others.
This semester, the society is not receiving any funding. The university cannot fund alcohol. However, they hope to receive funding for other expenses by next semester.
Place, Wehman and Gray decided to start an organization after realizing this spring would be their first semester without football training. Each of the co-founders became interested in wine after studying abroad. Place studied in Spain, Wehman studied in South Africa and Gray studied in Germany.
Wehman thinks the meetings will unite Denison’s campus. “I want this to be a space for different groups of people to interact and get to know each other,” said Wehman.
Each meeting will focus on wine culture in a specific region in the world. At their first meeting on Mar. 9, the society learned about Italy. Guest speaker Cindy Palumbo, owner of Palumbo’s Italian Market in Granville, lectured the 55 people in attendance about the winemaking process in Italy. Attendees 21 and over tasted two Italian wines paired with meats and cheese from Palumbo’s.
Place thinks the skills students can acquire from attending meetings might be helpful when students work in a business setting. “Denison wants to prepare you for the workforce. I think this is an added tool that people can add to their repertoire,” said Place.
Last week, Gray and Brittany Lodarek ‘17 presented about their experiences with wine abroad. Gray studied abroad in Germany ,where he was introduced to Riesling, the wine featured for tasting. He talked about the history of wine in the Black Forest region in southern Germany.
In addition to the meetings offering information about history and culture, Gray thinks the meetings offer an alternative social space to the typical alcohol scene on campus.
“The alcohol scene on campus is usually limited to the sunnies and there’s lots of binge drinking. We are providing a social setting that isn’t anything like a sunnies party. You can come in and enjoy a taste of wine,” said Gray.
All of the current board members will be graduating in the next few weeks. They plan on having elections the first week in May. They hope to pass on the leadership positions to passionate underclassmen who are willing to carry on the tradition.