Kevin Meredith has been the Director of Dining Services for TidePointe, a Vi Community, for 15 years. A certified food and beverage executive, he is responsible for the residents’ dining experience at TidePointe. We recently sat down with Kevin to learn more about his new monthly event “Wine Down Wednesdays” and learn about his vast knowledge of wines.
How did you come up with the idea for Wine Down Wednesdays?
With the overwhelming success of our Two for Tuesday Craft Cocktail evening event, we wanted to do something with wine, so Wine Down Wednesday was born. We can vary the event from let say a wonderful Conundrum Wine Blending Work Shop , to Guest Speakers and Wine Makers the opportunities are endless.
How did you become an expert on wine?
I began by studying with the American Wine Society. But then I really got into it when Vi sent me to the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. I became a Certified Wine Professional®. We studied everything there – the classifications, geographic areas, climate, wine making – you had to learn it all. Then I became a judge at the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival. In five years I judged over 1200 bottles of wine!
Tell us what happens on Wine Down Wednesdays.
We gather together, about 25 of us, to talk about wine in a relaxed, informal setting. It’s a different format every time. We may just pour two glasses and have a side-by-side comparison, or we may have a guest speaker. Recently we had the Ambassador for the Willamette Valley Vineyard here to talk about their wines. She poured a Pinot gris then a Pinot noir and finished with a Riesling. Everyone gets more educated about wine and we have fun doing it.
What is the feedback you’ve heard from residents about Wine Down Wednesdays?
They love it – many people can relate to the wine regions from their travels and their knowledge of the world. We had one resident attend who used to live in France and judge wines. Another resident told me that he’d been going to wine tastings for 40 years and the one on the Willamettte Valley Vineyards was the best one he’d ever attended.
Can you share some ideas for upcoming Wine Down Wednesday themes?
Well, I could do dessert wines, ports. I could go around the world. I studied South African wines, and Ernie Els is a wine guy with his Big Easy Red and Big Easy White. So maybe next year during the RBC Heritage that’s here in Hilton Head I’ll pour a golfer’s wine. The options really are limitless and every wine has a story!