President's Blog

  • August 09, 2022 11:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It has been four months since my last confe...  post.  A lot has happened since April but please rest assured, we were in control of none of it.  

    This is my last entry as President of the Purple Foot.  During the past couple of months, I have had time to think about what it is that we may or may not have accomplished.  It's also time to say thank you and to cheer on our new incoming president, Larry Janke.

    I'm often given to long speeches and have always considered myself to be a man of many words, so it shouldn't be hard to fill up the book here.  Stop reading here.  The rest is mostly meandering.  

    My first year of being president was, well, interesting.  We had discovered that Covid was a real thing, and by our first board meeting in August of 2020, everything had been canceled.  I knew that this was happening and spent most of the summer working on making adjustments so that perhaps we could continue on.  I was also hounded by the nightmare thought that I might spend my entire presidency overseeing nothing at all.  A lot of clubs shut down, after all.  This included our namesakes, the Purple Foot of Rochester.  

    Amidst all of this, and with the help of many, we managed to find our way to Zoom, to some of the weirdest meetings ever, where we all learned about the internet and still managed to have some fun.  Everything changed for all of us.  In fact, when the Holiday party rolled around, we had given up on the idea of actually greeting each other in person and instead had a really fun, innovative online party with auctions and games and fun.  The turnout was stunning and I still laugh at what we managed to accomplish.  

    2021 was more of the same.  We had online tastings, online contests and online meetings.  Our board discussed and resolved a huge number of issues and we forged ahead.  We were able to create and finish the wonderful website that we now use.  The input from the people in our group, including a Mentoring committee, a Communications committee  and the overall voluntary input provided from members and board members was absolutely invaluable.  You all know who you are and I thank you all every day.  We managed, because of our membership, to adapt to times that we really never wanted to experience.  We continue to do that in fact.  

    We are not out of Covid yet, but we have been very fortunate to have in-person meetings, joyful reunions and so much more fun than we ever expected.  We have been careful and we managed to celebrate a fiftieth club anniversary.  How amazing is that?  

    So thank you.  There is obviously a lot more to say.  My own experience is filled with mostly great memories of all of our members and our times.  I am thankful that we stuck it out, that we have actually added a few new members and that we are still incredibly viable as a club.  I am also thrilled that Larry inherits a strong membership, great winemakers and an ever-growing group of close friends who have managed to stay in touch in spite of the changes we have experienced.  

    Okay, done now.  Back to whatever it was that you were thinking about.  


  • April 05, 2022 10:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I was just notified of another competition and am sharing the information for it.  It is called the OC Fair Home Wine Competition and is put on by the Orange County, California Wine Society.  A brochure is HERE.  The entry forms are online at the Home Wine Competition website along with instructions and rules.  

    If anyone is interested in entering, we can ship from Team Mates at $4.00 per bottle.  It is another opportunity to get some evaluation on your wines and also is inexpensive at $20.00 per entry, one bottle per entry. 

    I have never entered this particular competition and don't know anything about it but who knows?  Could be fun!

  • April 05, 2022 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It's April third.  We are firmly into spring and that particular observation warrants a glass of wine.  

    It is also our fourth meeting of 2022!  Time is indeed flying.  

    This month, on April 13, we will be at the Croatian Hall again, and what better thing to do than have a wine tasting of Croatian wines!   Randy Olson from Blue Rock Wine Distributing will be leading our intrepid group on a tasting and informational tour of wines from several areas in Croatia.  It is exciting to have the chance to taste something unusual and different from what we normally see so I hope that everyone can make the meeting.  

    Remember to bring wines that you'd like to have evaluated.  Questions are always encouraged along with answers if you have them.  Come in a little early, around 6:30 and look for Pete or any board member and we'll get you answers and comments.  It is very useful and we encourage any and all questions.  None of them are ever silly!

    Sadly (or not so sadly) I'll be heading to Germany and then to Italy on the 13th and will miss the tasting.  I am, however, looking forward to tasting some Amarone from the Valpolicella region, some Riesling from Germany and some Auxerrois from the Alsace.  And, of course, there are three grandchildren that crave my attention.  Maybe.

    At any rate, it has been a quiet couple of months.  We are heading toward spring and I'm sure that you've had that urge to sit on a deck somewhere and finally breathe some non-recycled air.  

    Looking ahead, we have a lot of fun plans for the remainder of the club year. Our May meeting is the Nouveau competition along with the Apple and Rhubarb competitions.  That is May 11.  We have our annual picnic on July 17, starting at 3PM.  On August 6, we will be doing our winery tour, once again with a bus.  Last year was way too much fun and this year's trip will be just as interesting.  We'll be heading north this year.  Details to come.  

    I will be thinking of you all as I travel through wineries in Europe.  At least you'll get a passing thought.  I hope to take some nice pictures and will share what I have on our website once I figure out how to do so.  Shouldn't take long.  



  • March 10, 2022 10:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hi all. 

    I am suddenly Lame Duck Mike.  Our elections last night were successfully concluded our new board for 2022/2023 is now settled.  The meeting was well attended and we really had a wonderful time.  Thanks to all who came to the meeting!  The food was fabulous, the wines were extraordinary and the conversations were great fun.  

    Our new board is below. 

    From left to right are President Larry Janke, Vice President Joey DeCarlo, Director Larry Moore, Secretary Jill Parkins, Director Chad Redlin, Director Kent Nienaber, Director Chris Kutac, Past President Mike Little (distracted), Level of Expertise Pete Meulepas and Rob Fowler, outgoing Past President.  Not pictured are Nancy Wood Treasurer and Duane Van Hoever Wine Steward.

    We also celebrated our newest Enologist Extraordinaire, Maureen Janke.  My wholehearted congratulations to here for being an amazing winemaker, great member of the club and someone who has provided a huge amount of support over the years.  She is pictured below with additional EE's. 

    My apologies for the poor cropping.  I'll try to fix that a bit later.  At any rate, now it's onward and upward.  


  • February 15, 2022 3:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Well, it has been 8 months since this website was launched and 7 months since the last time anything was posted on this particular blog.  You will be tested on all information contained in this latest update, which we shall call Update.  

    First, we've had a mixed sort of opening of the '21/'22 club year.  We are wearing masks sometimes, and sometimes we are not.  I think that the reality is beginning to set in, that we are no longer in Kansas.  In fact, I don't believe that this is our actual universe any more.  Something happened!  

    My apologies for not updating more regularly.  Turns out that each time I put a note in our newsletter, it became a part of the blog, but these days, we don't have the newsletter.  I'll just have to start writing a blog without benefit of actual publication.  If you read this note, Help!  I'm a prisoner on a different planet!  Oh, wait.  Truth is, I have enough wine and am not afraid.

    So, our Holiday party went off without a hitch.  Food was good, our members were wonderful and the entertainment was great.  That's the first thing.  Oh, and we raised an awful lot of money.  So we'll probably be riding on a bus for our wine tour again this year.  

    January's meeting was also excellent.  It was a nice wine tasting put on by Maureen Janke, filled with New Zealand wines and information.  It is always such a pleasure to learn something about particular wines and get a feel for the history of the area and the makers themselves.  Thank you Maureen!  I am only sad that attendance was pretty light.  We only had about twelve people there, so the pours were a bit larger than normal. 

    So that's the world of Purple Foot so far this year (except for the wine contest which I'll post in the next notes).  We are moving ahead.  We continue to grow and make wine and enjoy tasting.  

  • May 04, 2021 12:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hi Purple Footers.  It’s spring!  Finally!  Hopefully you have been able to venture outside and get a little bit of the sunshine, vitamin D and something resembling outside warmth. 

    This is the final newsletter of our current club year and it has been quite a year for our wine club.  We have had to be innovative in order to stay in touch and I am extremely happy to say that it has worked.  Participation on all fronts has been great, we have had no reports of Covid being passed around any of our events and we have managed to stay moderately sane during the club year.  (I said moderately).

    We have one final regular meeting and this one is live at the Croatian Hall.  This is our Nouveau Competition and hopefully you’re all getting your wines ready to submit.  The Rhubarb competition is part of this as well and we do hope that we get lots of entries. 

    Current protocol requires indoor masks while not consuming, and vaccines are also necessary.  Since I am sure that most of us have been through all of that, I am looking forward to a good representation.  Bring wines!  Have them evaluated and we’ll also be going back to our normal group judging format so there will be wines to taste and judge.  Finally!

    We will continue to do fun things this summer.  Our normal picnic spot has been reserved, so look forward to an announcement regarding that.  Also, we’ll be doing a winery tour in the beginning of August.  It will be local and we look forward to having a fun gathering.  Look for dates and meeting times on the website and you will also get an email before each event.

    Probably the best news of all is that we have reserved Peter O’Neill Hall once again for our Holiday party.  The committee is in full swing and planning and if anyone would like to participate on that committee, please contact me.  We’ll probably continue to Zoom a lot of our meetings but it’s never too early to get things going.

    Next year marks our club’s 50th Anniversary.  I am honored to be president for the coming year and look forward to a lot of fun activities and winemaking.  We will also be reviewing our club’s history and from what I have seen so far, this should fascinate everyone and will bring back a whole lot of fun memories for some of our longer-term members.  Our newer members (including me) will gain a wonderful perspective of both winemaking history and the members in general.  Hopefully we will have a commemorative activity or two.  Actually, wouldn’t it be fun if we were able to get a little bit of publicity as well?  If anyone has any contacts among news folks, we would love to talk with them.  Good news is in short supply these days and what better good news than the making of wonderful wine?

    Speaking of good things, one of the results of our pandemic has actually been an advantage.  We are able, with present technology, to reach a whole lot more people via Zoom these days.  We can include more of our members from farther away or otherwise unable to attend meetings in person.  We also have the ability to schedule committee meetings that otherwise might not happen.  This means that we can accomplish a lot more.  Yes, Zoom is a pain.  It is also a huge step forward in communication. 

    Also, please don’t ignore our fabulous new website.  It needs using.  You can get recipes, winemaking help, past newsletters, and a lot of good commentary right on the site.  We also have forums where a lot of communication can happen. 

    I’m looking forward to seeing you at the May meeting and perhaps at one or two events this summer.  Until then, Cheers!

  • April 07, 2021 1:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Happy April, Purple Footers!

    Our NEW website is now live! is now officially switched to our new platform and I am anxious to get everyone’s feedback.  Our Communications Committee has spent an enormous amount of time collaborating on a brand new site based on a platform designed specifically for non-profit organizations and we are extremely proud of the result. 

    First, a huge thanks to the Communications Committee, including Doug Hudson, Steve Kroll, Gordon Rouse and Larry Janke.  When we started meeting back in September of last year, it was hard to believe that the result would be a complete, well-built website that will serve the club for many years to come.

    Doug identified our platform and set up the site structure.  He went through an enormous learning curve to do this and I am absolutely amazed at the result.  Steve has been working on keeping things consistent, providing a huge amount of technical background and simplification, keeping our design working properly.  Gordon has worked hard on Library research and review, along with Larry, which keeps us on track and correcting any issues that we might come across.  You all deserve a round of applause.  The result is stunning. 

    The site will be our primary means of group communications in the future.  We are now able to post comments, information and continuing education at any time and everyone’s participation is encouraged.  The new site offers a huge amount of new content and information.

    Members can renew and new members can join online via credit card now with just a few clicks.  No more having to send checks or wait for information to be compiled into our membership directory.  Now you can control your own details and profile quickly and easily.  You can upload a picture (Avatar) and even create a photo album if you like.

    We have a forum where you can post general questions, answer others and have a conversation about wine topics.  Please feel free to try it out and post something.  Communication is the key. 

    Club Services offers a whole range of the types of information that we are always looking to share.  This is a growing section that will provide a ton of information regarding making wine, solving issues and helping you to move your winemaking skills to a whole new level.  The Mentoring Committee is working on filling out a solid, easily followed help area.  We have FAQs that will continue to grow with your help and input.  We will also post videos and workshops that will give you some additional help.  I’ll post more information on the Mentoring Committee in a future letter. 

    The members’ section contains contact information along with club documents along with a complete newsletter archive.  It is great fun reading some of our back issues, starting with the 1982 club year.  Our history is right there to see and, in some cases, remember. 

    I’ve just touched the surface here.  I urge you to visit and explore the site.  It is worth a bit of time and is just plain fun.  Feel free to post comments in the Forum section, just to let us know you’re here.  Please let us know if you have any issues or find any glitches.  You can contact Doug, Steve or Mike to let us know. 

    Oh, and we’ll see you at the April tasting.  It will be a fun review of some good, inexpensive wines, led by Doug Hudson.  If you’re able, join a group.  The club is paying for wines based on group size.  I am looking forward to seeing you!

  • March 22, 2021 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Spring sprang on Saturday.  We're now a year and a month into the Pandemic.  We have most likely consumed more wine by at least fifty percent than we did for the entire previous decade.  Did you know that 95% of all statistics are made up?

    There.  An introduction.

    Have you been vaccinated yet?  I know that the numbers are steadily rising and as a result, so is our confidence that we can start getting back together again.  That is the exciting news for this month!  

    April's meeting, scheduled for the 14th, is a cautious step toward getting back to full meetings.  As you probably know, we've been planning the majority of our club meetings based on latest data and at this point, it would appear that people are able to gather safely after being vaccinated.  As a result, we're offering a small-group tasting event for April.  It will feature some wines that have been carefully selected by Doug Hudson, from the cellars of Trader Joe's.  The good news is that the club will pay for the wines based on the following criteria:

    IF you would like to participate, a group of three people will be reimbursed for one wine.  Four people in a group get paid for two of the wines.  Five people get three wines and six or more people will have all four wines paid for.  

    We haven't tried to identify gathering groups as yet.  We can have as many as people would like to join and we'll gladly help work out details and set up locations.  The requirements are that we follow CDC guidelines.  At present, it is possible for vaccinated individuals to get together indoors in small groups, without masks.  That means smaller group tastings are possible and the club wants to provide some incentive for doing so.  

    Please contact me or Larry Janke if you're interested in participating in one of the groups.  We'll start getting suggestions as soon as possible.  

    And, the current plan is to do a live meeting for May, which is our Nouveau competition.  It will be the anniversary of our first Zoom competition and we look forward to being at the Croatian Hall for this particular meeting.  We will partially Zoom as well, for those who are unable to attend, but it would be great to have multiple judges at all of our tables once more!  

    That's the news as I see it.  And I'm looking forward to seeing you soon!

"The Purple Foot" is a 501(c)(7) non-profit organization. 

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