In recent DGS meetings, a common complaint of the hosts is that the group is growing to be too unwieldy, and that they feel they cannot properly cater for 20 plus people. It’s a valid concern, given that while a group of 15 can reasonably taste and enjoy 8 different bottles of wine, there’s not enough wine per bottle to go around a group of 20, and too little variety if two bottles per wine are bought. In addition, there’s the difficulty of cooking for a much larger group goes up exponentially beyond a certain size too, a problem that Jon was constantly reminding me at the last wine tasting. Still others complain that in a large group setting, it’s much harder to focus on the wine.
I have to agree; I’ve found myself in recent weeks yearning to just relax over a couple bottles of wine with a smaller group of friends. Sometimes I want a little more informality and the luxury of kicking back and lounging on my couch without having to be at my PR-best.
Still, it’s a nice problem to have. Because rather than having to hit up random parties, stake out in clubs, or hang out in gyms in the hopes of meeting one new friend, I get to meet people without having to ever step out of my comfort zone. Plus, in that kind of controlled environment, I already know that I share a common interest with the people I’ll meet, making it easier to build on the friendship. Consequently, I do not want to intentionally limit the group size; heck, few things give me more pleasure than telling people about the group, inviting them to a tasting, and have them return for subsequent ones.
Nonetheless, the wine group has now reached a turning point, and we have to revisit our original ideals of getting people together to learn about wine. Just how much can we learn about wine in a large group setting? One (partial) solution thus far has been to get people to send their respective research topics out to the list-host, instead of presenting it verbally at the meeting itself. However, that also creates undesirable mass mails, which clogs up mailboxes and could potentially turn people off from receiving group emails. I guess, one way to reduce the number of emails would be to set up a DGS blog site, but the problem with that is I’m already writing on wine on a few sites, including this one. Too much duplication dilutes the impact too. And then the issue of space constraint? I guess, for now, the problem could be potentially resolved by moving events permanently to my apartment. It’s spacious (thanks to the lack of furniture), and can easily hold over two dozen people without a problem. I guess the biggest issue here is to successfully re-assure hosts that the group at its present size is not yet unmanageable, and that we’re not too big for comfort. Hmm.