Wine-ol-ogy 2014: Guide to Planning a Great Event

Believe or not, I don’t post about every event I attend. I decided that I want to promote what’s great (or mostly great) in Birmingham.  I (and I bet you) appreciate well planned events that deliver on a good time. As such, I felt the need to take a metacognitive moment to recognize what makes a great event great.

Yesterday, the Wine Loft hosted Wine-ol-ogy  as a part of Birmingham Restaurant Week 2014. Not surprisingly, the event was sold out. But, I mean, who doesn’t want to end the work day with some well paired wines? This a City Girl’s Guide to:

Planning A Great Event



Event Details:
{What} Wine-ol-ogy 2014 an event of Birmingham Restaurant Week organized by Rev Birmingham

(When} Wednesday, August 20, 2014

{Where} Wine Loft

{Sponsors} Balch & Bingham LLP, Sysco Foods,  Rush Wines, and The Wine Loft

{Diversity Level} 4 out of 5

{Satisfaction} 5 out of 5

Birmingham is full of places to go, people to meet, and things to do for anyone with open eyes. The Wine Loft is seated on 1st Avenue North in the attractive loft district downtown. Years ago, downtown was dead after 5:30, but now you can find some cool spots to hang out and some great events, including restaurants participating in Birmingham Restaurant Week. Take a trip downtown after work to 1st or 2nd Ave and tell some friends to meet you there. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

I found Wine-ology, a wine tasting event apart of Birmingham Restaurant Week, and I had a blast!  Here is what I loved, loved, loved about this event:

1. They picked an excellent venue.

It wasn’t over crowded, and there was plenty of available seating.  They chose a  venue that already had great decor so they didn’t have to add anything except for a cute little fork. You could wonder around or cop a squat on one of the couches and meet some new faces.

2. Organize & Execute

They kept it simple, and for the most part self explanatory. If you did have any questions, it was pretty obvious who to ask for help. Making event organizers visible makes the environment seem hospitable and  helps people feel more comfortable. While I thought there was still room for a few more people, I appreciate their desire to keep it manageable.  As a result, there was no waiting for wine or food.

3. Have visible signage.

Have you ever had walked by an event or had to ask someone if you were in the right place? In addition to the well marked venue space, Rev Birmingham posted large, bright green signs that were impossible to miss. If you are having an event in a location that is not right on the corner, try to place signs directing traffic to you from a few blocks away. If the location has several entrances, mark locked entrances with signs directing crowds to the entrance you have set aside.

4. Partner with the right people

Rev Birmingham + The Wine Loft + Rush Wines + Sysco Foods = Success

This one is simple. Partnering is good for everyone and can help you cover costs. Whatever you do, do it with excellent so that people will want to be attached to your name/brand.

Rush Wines is locally owned and has recently released four new wines: Festival White, Rose, Festival Red,  and a Bordeaux (pictured in this order above). All of their wines are made in California, except the Bordeaux which is made if France.

I enjoyed each with the selected pairings, except for Festival Red. It tasted too abrasive to me. #notanexpert

5. Hire a great caterer

Sysco Foods provided all of the pairings for this event. Boy, was it good. They were small bites, but they were all well done. {Hint: I learned to get the most out of a pairing, don’t nibble. Take one large bite.}

The servers were funny, relaxed, knowledgeable, and engaging with an obvious passion about what they were serving. One amazing thing about events in Birmingham food is usually included (NYC could learn a few things from us).  Obviously, this event would serve food, but food has been served at almost every good event I’ve attended in Birmingham.  Lesson: If you feed them, they will come and come back. If you can serve only appetizers, do it.  Just make sure you order enough food for all of your guest to be served at least once. It could be bad for your brand if you run out of food too soon.

6.  Set the tone with good music


DJ Dave Crenshaw sets the atmosphere

If you don’t know, you better ask somebody. Dave Crenshaw is much more than just a DJ, he’s a musician’s musician  like no other. A Birmingham native, Crenshaw plays a host of instruments and currently tours as a percussionist with R&B singer, Maxwell. Aside from all of that, he knows about go-go. #formerDCresident

When I got home you know I Googled him, and I realized he could do much more than what he did on the ones & twos.  I only hope I have an opportunity to see Crenshaw in his element. #GetatmeCrenshaw

6. Give people something to take home.

That final touch that will make people smile on their way out the door. A small keep sake leaves a good after taste and allows you to do some PR for your sponsor or another great event.IMG_4226


…The worst thing for your brand is to have people wishing they were in an argument than at your event! Be professional, handle every detail meticulously and make sure your guests have a good time!

-Candie Price, Marketing Strategist & Branding Coach

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