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RISMEDIA, May 17, 2007-Want new clients? This summer, start a wine tasting club to invite your clients, prospects and friends to do more business with you.

When most people think of a networking group, they think of business cards, stuffy suits and dry chicken. When most people think of a wine tasting party, they think fun. Why not combine the two and create a wine tasting club to bring in new business?

Here are 5 simple tips to hosting a successful event:

Tip 1: Choose Personality over Profession
When launching a wine tasting club for business, personality counts. Don’t invite people with great connections but poor people skills; they’ll kill your event. Instead, invite colleagues who can share business contacts and good conversation. It only takes a few fun people to make a club dynamic so start by inviting 6 to 10 friends and ask each bring a fun colleague.

Tip 2: Create a Theme
A simple way to liven up your event is to create a theme. For example, focus on a specific type or region of wine. How about a taste of Italy? Or, a Champagne celebration with French cheese? Why not pair white wines with summer fruits? Appetizers and cheeses are easy to offer and they promote mingling.

Tip 3: Get the Word Out
Networking groups succeed because people get into the routine of attending a regular event, so stay consistent. For instance, pick the third Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. Put everyone on an e-mail list and send out a reminder one month, two weeks and then two days before the event to make sure people remember it.

Tip 4: Share the Fun Stuff
Hosts don’t have to do everything — in fact, they shouldn’t. Inviting your guests to participate lightens your load while making your guests feel important. Ask your guests to bring a bottle of wine, an appetizer, or both. You can also consider printing a schedule and asking for volunteers to host future events; people will jump at this opportunity. By rotating the event location, the club will quickly grow because hosts will invite their colleagues to join in.
Here’s a successful ice-breaking idea: rate your wine! Pass out wine rating cards to let guests share their opinions. Pour one wine at a time and ask for group feedback. Or, let guests sample the wines available, vote for their favorites, then a winning wine will be chosen at the end of the event. Score cards encourage guests to talk about their favorites. If your guests are required to bring wine, you could award the winner a trophy which gets passed each month for bragging rights.

By launching a wine tasting club, you can create a fun and memorable networking event. You’ll also extend your community of friends and business contacts.

Visit The Wino ClubTM at http://www.thewinoclub.com to get fun wine facts, glossary, food pairing recipes, free newsletter and blog.

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