Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Students embrace elegance, flair at Non-Alcoholic Wine Tasting Experience

Illustration by Samantha Powers
NAWTE hosted a card-making event for Valentine’s Day.

Students attired in button-downs and pajama pants sip non-alcoholic wine out of little plastic red cups, chatting and laughing as they explore a new hobby. This is the Non-Alcoholic Wine Tasting Experience. 

“We’re the ones who prefer our wine sober, no hangovers, no regrets, just laughter all over,” the club’s mission statement quips. “Our glasses may not clink with the cheers, but we make up for it with our witty cheers.” 

McCormick sophomore Ty Bennett and Medill sophomore Raghav Khosla founded Northwestern’s only wine tasting club, NAWTE (pronounced “naughty”), as a way to build community. Since its founding last year, the club has grown from six members to more than 30. 

Each club meeting has an activity to go with the wine tasting, ranging from games to arts and crafts. NAWTE also hosts holiday-themed meetings, featuring activities like pumpkin carving and Valentine card making. 

Bennett said this year’s Valentine’s-themed meeting put a spin on the “Galentines” tradition where people celebrate their friendships on the “day of love.”

“Walentines,” Bennett said. “W for wine.”

The club’s funky traditions put a twist on the typical wine tasting experience. The club’s “business casual” dress code combines “business on the top” with “party on the bottom,” asking members to pair their nicest shirts with their silliest pants.

Rather than using wine glasses, attendees sip out of Solo Cups. Members drink from shot glasses and Bennett and Khosla enjoy elevated “presidential chalices.” Khosla said the cups make for a great souvenir, adding that he still has his from the founding meeting.

A “bouncer” (whoever arrives first) stands at the door checking Wildcards.

“I think what draws people in and makes it accessible is that it’s just people our age having fun, rather than it being this really rich, fancy thing,” Khosla said.

Bennett and Khosla typically open the meetings with a presentation on the selections of the day, covering each wine’s origins, flavor profiles and food pairings.

The presentations also outline a custom eight-step tasting process: “stir cup, sniff, stir cup again, look at cup from different angles, gently sip, smack lips, notice the flavors, repeat.” Khosla said it usually gets people laughing.

Weinberg sophomore Caleb Shim, the NAWTE treasurer, said the club aims to teach students how to drink wine properly.

“The eight-step process, it’s not a joke,” Shim said. “When you’re drinking wine, you’ve gotta be swirling.”

During meetings, Bennett said members are able to talk to each other about the wine and their own lives. Guided discussion topics range from food/wine pairing ideas to favorite songs.

The club is registered with the University, but hasn’t yet secured funding. Members currently pay a small “cover charge” under $5 for meetings, but the club leadership plans to secure funding through the Student Organization Finance Office for the Spring Quarter.

 “We believe you’ve gotta spend money to make money,” Bennett said. “So right now, we’re spending money.”

Club leaders also plan to host a NAWTE formal in the future.

NAWTE leaders said the club is a great opportunity to bring together friends who wouldn’t otherwise meet each other.

“Everyone there is just so happy to be there,” Khosla said. “No one’s thinking about anything else, they’re just there to have a good time, and I think that really makes the club special.”

Email: [email protected] 

X: @SQPowers04

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