A Toast to 20 Years of SWAC and Its Legacy
From a passion and the kernel of an idea come big, lasting results. It started with friends getting together in one another’s home to enjoy wine and fellowship. That activity transferred to a larger group setting through the newly established Meet and Mingle group. From that enjoyment individuals began discussing the attributes of what they were drinking. Subsequently a member followed through on the idea of doing some blind wine tastings complete with brown paper bags concealing the contents to mitigate any possibility of one’s reputation being sullied by issuing a judgment based on the label rather than the contents. Can it be true, a Two Buck Chuck actually won one of the tastings? Heavens!
Thus the die was cast to explore an interest in a wine club. Dedicated, hardworking individuals whose skids were greased with some libations, met for almost a year thrashing out the details for an organization whose primary purpose would be to better understand the complex nature of enology, its terroir, and the contributing attributes of our own regional geology. Pairings were not a part of the original gatherings and only breadsticks for the cleansing of ones’ pallet were offered. The first organizational meeting was held on September 2, 2001; the Initial Business meeting was held on January 15, 2002; and the first wine tasting event occurred later that month.
The first gathering took place with about 35 individuals in attendance. The momentum was established and things continued to move forward throughout the community such that within a year there were about 100 members. Stellar results when one pauses and recognizes that this was all happening when Springfield was brand new and at the early stages of developing its own interests and sense of community.
The organization whose destiny was to mature into a longstanding successful activity had as its first President Susan Figone (supported by John), with Jean Thomas as Secretary and Tom Thomas as Treasurer. When one noses around in the community one learns some of the early leadership and members included Bob and Shirley Jones, Ken and Regis Lembach, Tom and Darlene Peterman, and Gene and Bruna Wardlaw. Many of those as well as other originals served as officers and some still do.
As told by Susan Figone, Jean and Tom Thomas to Bryan Ballard