Have a question? Check here to see whether it's been frequently asked. And if you still have questions, don't hesitate to email us: stanfordwine_exec (at) lists (dot) stanford (dot) edu.


I don’t know anything about wine at all. Can I still join?

YES! A resounding yes. The reason our club exists is to help people learn. Every quarter we have a few beginner wine-tasting workshops, which will give you a chance to learn how to taste wine (as well as a bunch of other basics, like how wine is made, what’s in it, etc).


I know a LOT about wine already. Is it worth my while to join?

YES! The second reason our club exists is to provide a community so that people who like wine can enjoy wine together and continue to learn more. By joining us you’ll gain a whole group of friends with whom to hold blind tastings, visit wineries, and share notes.

Plus, we guarantee that no matter how much you know, you’ll learn something new at each of our events. Our group places a special emphasis on learning about the science of wine—biology, chemistry, sensory science, and more—topics that most tasting societies don’t cover with quite so much geekiness.


Why does it cost so much to join? Can I just pay for a single tasting?

Unfortunately, Stanford’s alcohol regulations (which are complicated, but are in place for good reasons) don’t allow us to charge admission to individual events. And the Graduate Student Council and Graduate Student Programming Board are generous enough to offer us funding for some events, but not for most. So most of our wine is paid for by your membership dues.

We do believe that joining is fantastic value for money. Think about it: many wine bars and wineries charge $15 just for a single flight—and you get eight (8!) events for $45. Plus, we work hard to make our events truly educational, and of course that’s priceless.


Why do post-docs have to pay more to join?

SWS receives lots of resources from Student Activities and Leadership (SAL), which in turn is paid for in large part by student activities fees that all registered students have to pay. Post-docs don’t have to pay those fees... so SAL requests that our club make post-docs pay a little more when they join our club, to help cover their fair share.


Why are only students and post-docs allowed to join? I am a [professor/staff member/spouse/local wine expert]—can I join?

Unfortunately, Stanford’s rules don’t allow student groups like us to have non-student members. However, we really do value the enthusiasm and expertise of all wine lovers in the Stanford community, so if you’re really interested in our club, please do get in touch and we can try to find a way for you to get involved.


I have a [spouse/partner/roommate/family member] who is not a student but wants to come to events, and I’ll only enjoy events if I can I bring [him/her/them]. Can I bring [him/her/them]?

Yes! Every member is allowed to bring a guest to each event—if there’s space.

If space is limited, we have to give priority to members over guests. However, we understand that if all our events get crowded and you never get a chance to bring your other half, that’ll be no fun, especially if that other person is important to your wine experience... so please get in touch with us and we can try to figure something out.


I’m an undergrad. Can I join?

Yes—if you’re 21 or older! Please don’t bring any friends who are under 21.


Are you related to the Lyman Wine Tastings? Or the viticulture and oenology classes (Frenlang 60D and 60P)? How about the GSB Wine Circle?

Nope! We’re a different group—and what makes us different is that we’re a wine club that meets regularly and is open to all graduate students.

The Lyman wine tastings are definitely something you want to go to—led by Chris Cheng (our club’s faculty sponsor!), they’re held a few times a quarter and each covers a several great wines within a theme. Plus, you get to hear amazing stories and tidbits of wisdom from Chris, which is pretty awesome. If you’re in Lyman you’ll get announcements about them when they happen; Chris usually forwards those announcements to our club, too.

The viticulture/oenology classes are offered for credit through the French department. We’ve heard great things about them! But, like any other class at Stanford, each one only lasts a quarter, and a class is not quite the same thing as a club.

The GSB Wine Circle are our friends—they helped our club get off the ground-- and we sometimes invite them to our events and vice versa. However, you have to be enrolled in the Graduate School of Business to join them. (On the flip side, if you’re in the GSB and just being a member of 1 club isn’t enough for you, you’re welcome to join our club too!)


Do SWS members get discounts at wine shops or wineries?

That’s a bit complicated. The short answer is that wine shops are not interested in giving discounts to student wine clubs—it’s not really in their interest (believe us, we asked). However, we’re sometimes able to get discounts for our members to attend trade tasting events, and sometimes we get one-off invitations to visit wineries in the area for a free flight. When we do, we’ll always post to our stanfordwine_casual list (the opt-out chatty members list), so definitely stay on that list! We hope that as time goes on and our club becomes more well-known, these opportunities will become more frequent.


What kinds of wines do you drink?

All sorts! We try to provide a wide range in every sense of the word-- varietal, region, style, price range-- though we often do try to focus on not-so-pricey wines ($20 and under) that are available at local stores, so that if you fall in love with something at one of our tastings, you'll be able to buy it. If you have ideas of what you'd like to try at the next tasting, we'd love to hear them!