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SLV Wine Club Saga

By Nathan Elliott

ON FEBRUARY 26, 2018, the SLV Wine Club will celebrate its 20th Anniversary, making it the longest-standing club in the history of SLV.
To commemorate this occasion, I have been asked to repeat an updated version of the anniversary column for our 10th. For those of you who read it ten years ago, bear with me--creativity will resurface next month.
“Once upon a time, a little over 20 years ago, in Savannah Lakes Village, a group of wine drinkers huddled together for warmth at lakeside decided to form a club to promote fellowship and to provide a good excuse for more regular consumption of their favorite beverage.
So much for fantasy...in fact, the SLV Wine Club was the brainstorm of former resident Armin Gummerman (would that be a great name for a Gewurztraminer label or what?). Armin lured a group of us, 20 or 30in number, to a meeting at Tara, enticing us with offers of wine and cheese...very hard to resist. His strong suit was ideas. He did his best to avoid mundane organizational exercises. Shortly thereafter, Armin retreated to the warmth and congestion of sunny Florida, leaving behind a gem of a great idea. It remained for the survivors of that first wine and cheese party to formulate the structure of a club, including drafting a constitution and a set of by-laws. This is where the varied and substantial talents of our SLV residents came into play.
Our governing rules were hammered out after a seemingly continuous series of drafts and revisions, even including adoption of Robert’s Rules of Parliamentary Procedure for our meetings. The best tribute to a job well done is that our club’s rules remain essentially intact today. The necessity for amendments has been minimal.
During the subsequent 1st election night party on February 26, 1998, our first wave of 22 members elected the following officers. President – Larry Russo, Vice-President – the late Bob Busch, Secretary – Nancy Burns and Treasurer – Barry Greanya, as well as seven trustees.
In the ensuing 20 years, SLV has had a number of different General Managers and Chefs and at least as many Food Services Managers. All have given the Wine Club top-drawer service and cooperation. Particular kudos to the SLV Manager-in-Charge at the time we formed the club...Gene Atkins, he was an invaluable asset to a group of comparatively brand-new residents.
Thanks, also, to Sam and June Wininger, the original publishers of the Shorelines’ predecessor newspaper, The Savannah Lakes Sun who supported us from the beginning with both reporting and picture-taking. (It’s always a good idea to have someone else to blame (Sam) when “very senior couple” photos turn out not to resemble Betty Grable and Harry James in their prime).
Today, the Wine Club is the oldest independent social club in the Village. Our initial number of 22 members has multiplied like a tank of guppies, with more on the waiting list. Just compare the attendance at our first costume party, 62, versus the number attending our 10th Anniversary Party, over 100!The reason for this unbounded popularity?... Quite simply The Wine Club started its growth spurt when our ladies began to dominate selection of the 4-times–a-year party themes. We progressed from Maifests, which concentrated on beer, bratwurst, Riesling and “Um pa pa” (guy things) to exotic costume parties. We all know that little girls love to dress up...we soon found out that so do grown-up girls! Our initial costume extravaganza was Titanic, a great success, except that no one volunteered to go down with the ship. In later years, we did Gone with the Wind, (which included multiple contorted versions of Rhett Butler), A Night at the Oscars, Prom Night (which featured a pregnant Prom Queen), Disney Night (where we cornered the market on Cruella Devilles) and of course, The Roaring Twenties, where the Chicago gangster element dominated (some members may actually have had relatives who were “tailgunners” on probation-era beer trucks.)The ladies glamorized to their heart’s content. As for the hapless husbands, speaking from personal experience, the roles played were at best described as...well, “secondary” in nature, very secondary! I must admit, however, that there was one triumphant occasion that allowed an impressive display of hairy male legs and knobby knees by the brave souls who wore Lederhosen to the Maifest.
To reflect on one or two memories of unrestrained moments, I can remember a winter “Conga” line that started in the Tara dining room, went out the front door, circumvented the entire building and part of the parking lot and somehow managed to find its way back inside... and then there was the dancing on the dining room tables...but that’s another story in itself. We’ve always had fun, yet no one ever had to be ashamed of them the next morning.”
Our 10th Anniversary Party was put together by 12 of the original club members who had been continuously active throughout the first ten years. I’m sure the 20th Anniversary Party will be equally well done by a talented band of newer members. 
As we move into our second 20 years, I know the present Wine Club leadership will do it’s best to uphold our motto, “Bottoms Up...but never spill a drop.”

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