Event,Wine,Wine Country,Wine Etiquette

Dress Code: Wine Country Casual ~ How Many Times Have You Heard That One?

I’m a Yankee, with really deep Yankee roots. My maiden name is “Clarke.”

  • Grandmother Gertrude Haines Clarke was the daughter of the late Governor William T. Haines of Waterville, Maine, my great grandfather…
  • Great grandmother Patience Blackstone Clarke was the granddaughter of the Reverend William Blackstone, who was sent to the new world by King James to preach the King James version of the Bible. He landed and settled on a piece of property that today we call Beacon Hill and the Boston Commons. My great grandfather (11 generations removed) settled Boston, and then went on to settle Cumberland, Rhode Island.

How much more Yankee can one get?

In that tradition, I was a member of the Lewiston Rotary Club (perfect attendance) for two years. With this one I successfully created a community garden, also working in concert with the Lewiston-Auburn Chamber of Commerce. Then, I became a member of the Portland, Maine Rotary Club (perfect attendance) for five years. With this one, I set up a scholarship for immigrants and refugees through the ESL program at the University of Southern Maine.

Then… I moved to Sonoma County. OMG, what culture shock evolved from that move. I lived in business suits during my Maine professional days, and then joined a California Rotary where many of the guys came to the meetings in shorts and tropical shirts. I didn’t last long.

My job as a district sales manager allowed for me to travel all around the US and into Puerto Rico, where people still wore suits. All of the cas living just seemed nuts. Although, as people came to Belvedere, when I was organizing and actualizing their National Sales Meetings, and everyone wanted to know what was appropriate dress wear.  “Wine Country Casual” always seemed to be everyone’s answer. It took me years to be able to wrap my mouth around that one, let alone wrap my mind around it.

Now, it’s over 16 years later… Sweet sixteen. I’ve relaxed my mind, my mouth, and my Puritanical thoughts (but the history is what it is).

Every single event that I put on I’m asked by at least one person, “What’s the dress code.” If find myself constantly answering, “Wine Country Casual” (WCC). It doesn’t matter what the event is, I just know… California’s wine country events have a relaxed state of mind. Being that this state is the sixth largest world’s economy, don’t let WCC fool you, though. People out here are very serious about wine country in an economic sense; but when they’re putting on a gathering, stuffy walls come down, and the casual walls go up.

When you’re planning to attend anything related to the wine business, if it’s black tie, you’ll be told… otherwise, dress down so you’ll blend into the WCC crowd.


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6 Responses to “Dress Code: Wine Country Casual ~ How Many Times Have You Heard That One?”

  1. mydailywine says:

    I am so happy to be living in Cali.
    After years of living in NY and Melbourne, Australia, two cities where the fashion competition is fraught with tension, it is a relief.
    Whenever I travel to NY or especially Boston on business, I pull out the heels and hose and make sure to bring along a hairbrush too:)

  2. Being a certified member of the Fourth Estate means I can wear a T-shirt and blue jeans anywhere and get away with it!

  3. Diane Smith says:

    My hubby & I are native Californians and it’s very true that we Californians reside in a casual state.

    Our favorite past-time is winetasting and we love the casualness and laidback attitude of the vintners as well as the winetasters enjoying themselves.

    Casual dress makes the atmosphere so much more conducive to relaxation. And what could be better than enjoying yourself on a beautiful day, drinking wine and chatting with new acquaintances? ^_^

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    There’s nothing better, except – maybe – Maui? ;^)

  5. […] My compatriot in spin, Jo Diaz, considered this subject of “Wine Country Casual”. She, like me, has used the term without really understanding what it truly means. But in the end, she has some advise for staring blankly at an invitation that says “Wine Country Casual”: […]

  6. […] once wrote a story called Wine Country Casual, because people are so concerned, wanting to know the best thing to wear. We’re like that as […]

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