For as long as people have been plucking succulent grapes from a vine, squishing out the juice with their feet, and sipping the fermented extract from a drinking vessel, they have enjoyed the various bouquets and textures, and paired them with delicious foods. Today, with vineyards, vintages and varietals popping up seemingly everywhere, that pastime has become more popular and pleasing than ever.
Not surprisingly, many Sunshine communities have hopped on the bandwagon and begun giving residents frequent opportunities to enjoy wine tasting at their respective communities. And several are offering tours and tastings at working vineyards that are within easy driving distance.
At Summerfield Estates in Tigard, Oregon, which isn’t too far from a number of outstanding wineries, Life Enrichment Director Anthony Nosen arranges frequent events and Happy Hours with music and entertainment.
“The residents love what we call ‘Sip & Sing,’” he says. “Our Grand Theater seats 20-25 people, along with some standing room, where people can come and go. So I set up a wine-tasting table just outside the Theater. We have residents and some staff members sing Karaoke songs through our Theater TV & sound-system. They also enjoy our occasional ‘Sip & Paint’ parties as well.”
Olga Rosalez, Life Enrichment Director at The Continental in Austin, Texas, also arranges regular wine tastings on the second Tuesday each month. Residents are encouraged to bring their own wine glasses and buy the wines that are served if they enjoy them. Delectable appetizers and delightful camaraderie complete the docket.
This month in particular, The Clairmont in Austin, Texas is giving wine lovers a full palette of activities for their palate.
“We are pumped up for July wine socials!” says Life Enrichment Director Tina Bertelle. “It’s an organic process learning and structuring the Friday time slots to truly meet and exceed each resident’s expectations.”
This Friday the 13th, The Clairmont is turning into a music-filled casino, where residents can try their luck with “Clairmont Bucks” on iPad slot machines and at the pool table, which will be set up for Craps. Imani Shanklin with Outcomes Therapy Services is bringing her Red, Blush & White presentation, which reveals the health benefits of wine and pairs three varieties with some delicious cheeses and fruits. Those who don’t drink can join in the fun with ginger ale, root beer and assorted “mocktails.”
On Friday, July 20, The Clairmont’s Happy Hour will feature an unusual but refreshing combination of wine and ice cream floats, along with a live music singalong. And on July 27, The monthly New Resident Social will refresh with both wine and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as some live jazz.
“The cool mix of music and refreshments brings a bigger crowd each month,” claims Tina. “My goal is to create a social engagement that makes it fun and easy to loosen up through dance, song and spirits.”
Meanwhile out West, Deer Park’s setting in Novato, California provides some interesting opportunities for wine lovers.
“We live in the heart of wine country,” says Life Enrichment Director Steven Baxter Caracki. “The seniors here relax and enjoy a glass of wine with finger foods at our tastings, especially for happy hour on Fridays.”
In April, Steven took a group of about 12 residents to Williamson Wines in Healdsburg, California, where they enjoyed a selection of Reds and Rose’s. On Wednesday, July 18, they are going to Cline Cellar in Sonoma, where resident Beth Caldwell is a member. She’s looking forward to sharing her expertise with the group.
Whether you’re a connoisseur or don’t know a merlot from a chardonnay, Sunshine wine tastings are sure to bring you satisfying undertones with a healthy afterglow.
This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, July, 2018.