The Palo Alto Wine group has existed for 6 years and has a key focus on wine tasting and job networking. Started by Bay Area longtime resident, entrepreneur, Gary Daugenti this wine group has quite the draw. Today it is one of the largest social Meet-up groups in the Bay Area.
“ I started the Palo Alto wine group in 2007", says Gary who owns and manages a portfolio of recruiting firms. (Gent & Associates, JustStaff, and SearchFirst Group ) " The first event was in my home and somewhat like a pink slip party. I told people to bring their resumes and I would critique them so they could be more successful in their job hunt. I asked people to bring a bottle of their favorite wine and an appetizer so it would be more fun.”
In the Bay area people are either looking for a job or looking to meet people. The Palo Alto Wine Group meets the needs of both. The Palo Alto wine group quickly took off and grew. It is now a formalized meet-up with regularly posted events each month.
Wine group members range anywhere from high-tech entrepreneurs, teachers, healthcare and IT professionals, academics, sales people, accountants, attorneys, real-estate brokers and airline pilots etc.
“Our biggest problem", notes Daugenti," is finding an establishment that is large enough to host 100 to 200 attendees. We have long waiting lists because of space limitations.” Since the club is free Daugenti refuses to pay for space or charge attendees. “ This is a hobby, not a business, and there are restaurants and bars out there that value hundreds of people showing up ready to buy wine and food.”
How does it work?
People sign up to become a wine group member for free. Members receive alerts about events for which they can sign up. The Palo Alto Wine group events fill up in 48 hours and there is usually a long waiting list. The event, exact location and address are released to confirmed attendees the day before to avoid a crowd and overwhelming the establishment.
Is this group lucky?
“I think so", says Daugenti. " I know of couples who met here and are now married, people who secured job interviews after I critiqued their resumes and people who connected here and found jobs."
“Networking is still the key way to find a job", notes Daugenti. " Most jobs are still secured through networking and this club can help.”
Daugenti must have the luck of the Irish as he now also runs the Bay Area Wine Club with an additional 1000+ members. Both groups are free to join and the next meet-up is on March 16th just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
So if you are down on your job hunting luck this weekend you might opt for a wine club instead of a pub and find your pot of gold.