Wine Society Cultivates Taste, Tact

Susan Arias

Harvard Wine Society has their introductory meeting on Saturday, September 8th in Sever Hall. Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya '13 and Bran S. Shim '14 celebrate the start of the new semester with a taste of apple cider.

UPDATED: September 11, 2012, at 9:13 p.m.

Though the wine was noticeably absent from the first meeting of the Harvard College Wine Society, more than 50 students snacked on grapes and cider at the introductory meeting for the newly-founded student group.

Dressed in cocktail dresses, button-down shirts, and ties, members of the board presented their vision for the club, which is geared mostly toward seniors and includes monthly wine tastings for the fall semester.

“I joke to my friends it’s a drinking club, but it is so much more than that,” said Shiya Wang ’13, the president and founder of the society.

During the tastings, members will learn about the different types of wines from different regions and will have the opportunity to sample six wines.


The group has also sought the help of Emma A. Limon ’13, who has previously worked on a goat farm, for guidance on wine and cheese pairings.

In addition to the wine tasting events, the Wine Society will also host a year-end gala with the Food Literacy Project.

In order to join the society, members must pay 35 dollars per semester, which will help to pay for the wines and wine classes over the course of the term.

“We hope this doesn’t discourage anyone from joining,” said co-vice president Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya ’13-14, a Crimson editor on the editorial board. She added she encourages anyone concerned about the dues to reach out to her.

Some students who attended the event, including Alexandra M. Harsacky ’13, said the price is a bit steep and may factor into her decision to join. However, Harsacky added that a bonus of the Wine Society is that it will bring the senior class together.

Given that the Wine Society is a recognized student organization, it will not serve alcohol to minors and will be checking identification at the entrance to the tastings. Wang said she faced some challenges while trying to establish the organization because the administration was concerned that the Wine Society would promote binge drinking.

However, Wang said the Wine Society hopes to do the opposite and teach students how to drink responsibly.

“I think if people appreciate wine as a form of art, then they will treat it differently,” Wang said. “They will drink more responsibly at more appropriate occasions than get wasted on a weekend night with friends.”

The Wine Society will also ask members to sign waivers saying that the club is not responsible for students’ behavior or actions that may occur after the tastings, Wang said.

Wang, who has worked on a vineyard in Bordeaux and for a wine consulting and market research firm, said her experience in the wine industry will help her lead the classes. She also plans to invite guest speakers to participate.

At press time, Wang said that 150 people had expressed interest in joining the club. Wang said she expects that number to grow as the group continues to publicize over house email lists.

—Staff writer Melanie A. Guzman can be reached at


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