Wine for the People introduces wine lovers to great, affordable bottles

When Marci Stith arrived in Oklahoma, it wasn’t exactly a wine lover’s paradise.

“We moved here 20 years ago from Oregon, where we were already steeped in wine culture,” she said. “What we’ve seen in the last 10 years even is the growth of wine culture in Oklahoma.”

Stith, director of sales at V2 Events at Vast, said the burgeoning fascination with wine is what led Vast and Thirst Wine Merchants to create Wine for the People.

The bimonthly event features affordable, Thirst-chosen wines to go with a theme and Vast-created appetizers.

“The initial reason was because I wanted wine that everybody could afford,” Stith said. “These are geared to feature wines that are $25 or less.”

Guests can sample about six wines at each event.

Wine for the People began in April 2015 with a focus on Spanish wines before taking guests on a flavorful trip around the world.

“Now we’re going in a different direction,” Stith said. “Honestly, I think we covered all the territories we could cover.”

Now, Thirst seller Allie Day is working with Vast to highlight different winemakers and bring guests a flavor of their regions. In March, the event featured Well Oiled Wine Company bottles, which are mostly sourced from Spain.

The next event was planned for May 25 but was pushed forward a week to accommodate the Memorial Day holiday.

“We think moving it a week will get better attendance,” Stith said.

Not that attendance has been a problem, she said. In the last two years, Wine for the People has grown a cult following with local oenophiles. It has actually grown popular enough that V2 started an event for off-months called Cocktail Chemistry.

The wake-up call was the January 2016 Bubbles event, which sold about 200 tickets. Stith said it was the only time it “really got out of control.”

That was when the event was reformatted to split up the tables serving wines, putting them closer to the paired food and giving guests a glass of wine when they first come in.

“That really helps with the flow of the room instead of having everyone make a beeline for one place,” she said.

The June 1 event will feature Valerie Dukes from Scarpetta Wine, who will show off the company’s Italian-style offerings. Scarpetta, Squadra and Frico wines will be served, Stitch said.

It’s also a wonderful opportunity to put people in touch with Thirst, Stith said.

“It’s exposure for them and their wines,” she said. “That’s what they do so well. They interact with people and share the stories about the wine.”

Wine, no matter what hoity-toity ideas people get about it, is meant to be enjoyed with others. And Stith said Wine for the People gets people together, educates them about wine and lets them share a glass with others.

“Now we do this because it’s fun,” she said. “We’ve got a great staff here and a great group who come every month.”

And if drinks and appetizers with the best view of Oklahoma City isn’t the starting point of a great evening, then what is?

Print Headline: Vino populi: Wine for the People introduces wine lovers to great, affordable bottles.

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