Wine Club 101

This D.C.-area retailer takes the mystery out of enjoying wine.

I'd been selling wine for almost 20 years before it finally hit me, like a ton of bricks, that very few of my female friends knew anything about wine," remembers Cecile Giannangeli. This owner of shops in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and McLean, Virginia, decided it was time for a change. The solution? Create a forum for women from all walks of life to "realize they are smart enough, savvy enough, and educated enough to learn about wine," says Cecile. In 2002, the Women's Wine Tasting Club was born. (Sorry, no men are allowed.)

Wine Club 101 A successful businesswoman and active mother of two, Cecile structures meetings-during the day and in the evening-at each of her shops to fit the schedules of both on-the-go moms and corporate executives. "Our club tries to dispel all the wine myths and make folks feel comfortable," she explains in her easy-going style.

Tierney Banks agrees. She's been a club member for more than a year. "It's given me a much better understanding of what I'm looking for in wine and how to describe what I enjoy," says the mortgage loan underwriter from Silver Spring, Maryland. "For example, Cécile encourages you to describe a wine's aroma and taste in terms you understand, and that can mean everything from 'tangy' to 'juicy.' The more you understand what you like, the more confidence you'll have in wine stores and restaurants," Tierney adds with a big smile.

For those outside the Washington, D.C., area, there's a free Internet-based monthly newsletter available from that includes Cécile's food and wine pairing suggestions and tips on starting your own winetasting group. Also, a wine-club subscription is available that delivers three new wines to your door each month.

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