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Red or white?
July 14, 2017

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As the summer continues heating up Cape Coral, it's nice to unwind with a cool glass of wine, sitting back and watching the palm trees lightly sway. But, which vintage to enjoy? Which blend? Which glass?!

A quick call to MaryJane Baker Vu, founder of the Waterside Wine Club, will settle your worry. Joining the club is free, and she's sure to offer at least one wine gathering a month at her tasting gallery in Cape Harbour, 5785 Cape Harbour Drive, Suite 203, overlooking the marina.

"The Waterside Wine Club is turning 3 years old next month," she said. "I started it because I love wine. So many in the community like to get together and try new wines. It's a great way to be social."

During any given monthly wine gathering, members will have the opportunity to try an array of blends and vintages from wineries around the world.

"For a diverse group, I look to offer a variety of flavors, often from seven regions around the world," Vu explained. "We often have a nice mix of Old World and New World Wine (Old World being from Europe; New World from the United States, South America, Australia and South Africa), perfectly paired with appetizers and tapas."

Along with the group's regular monthly wine parties, a "Straight from the Grape" series is hosted, featuring wine makers from around the world sharing their products; and offers private parties and functions, as well as special gatherings at eateries and businesses around town.

"There's no cost to be a member of the club; you just pay to attend any of the gatherings you wish, which often range from $10 to $20 a gathering," Vu said. "The best part is you get to try 'em before you buy 'em! Our featured wines are available to be purchased at the wine party and anytime thereafter while existing vintages are obtainable."

Wines are sampled from many price points, and may cost as little as $8 or $9 a bottle to $30 a bottle and beyond.

"Every month, we're sure to have a local non-profit charity from around the Lee County region be a part of our gatherings, giving them the chance to let our guests know who they are and what they do for the community," Vu said. "We have 50/50s and other special ways for them to raise funds while also being a part of the wine-tasting fun."

Waterside benefits

Among the many benefits of a free membership with the Waterside Wine Club, here are some of the most pertinent:

n Emails of discounts, coupons and promotional offers.

n Announcements of upcoming wine parties and previews of featured wines.

n Access to rate and provide tasting notes on every wine on the group's site.

n Entry to the group's Grapevine blog to voice comments and ask questions on all things wine related

"I can also custom order specialty wines anytime, either regular orders or one-time purchases, and keep track of the orders for you," Vu said.

Vu can also set up expert wine consultations if you're planning your own little soiree at home and want some professional advice, wine selections for at-home dinners, and wine-sourcing services.

"Not only do we have direct access to importers and distributers, we also scour wine auctions on a consistent basis and will be glad to track down your memorable bottle," Vu said.

The Waterside Wine Club is open to wine lovers of all levels, from beginner to advanced, and Vu is sure to encourage everyone, whatever their "wine experience" may be, to just come out and have a good time.

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