Wa­ter­side Wine Club

Cape Coral Living - - Radar - BY GINA BIRCH

Here’s what you get turn­ing a pas­sion into a busi­ness―a suc­cess story known as Wa­ter­side Wine Club. You’ll find Wa­ter­side Wine Club in a sec­ond-floor suite of Cape Har­bour, over­look­ing the ma­rina. It’s a club that re­quires no mem­ber­ship fees or com­mit­ment, just a de­sire to learn about and to drink wine. Founder MaryJane Vu gave up cor­po­rate life in Man­hat­tan nine years ago and moved to Cape Co­ral with her hus­band for what she calls “a slower, hap­pier, more easy­go­ing pace of life.” The cou­ple had also owned a restau­rant in New York. “We were tired,” Vu adds. The young duo didn’t ex­actly re­tire, form­ing Power Yachts In­ter­na­tional, a suc­cess­ful boat deal­er­ship and bro­ker­age at Cape Har­bour. It didn’t take long for Vu to miss one of the most invit­ing pieces of the restau­rant world―wine. She says, “It [wine] is my pas­sion. I de­cided I couldn’t own a restau­rant, I didn’t have time; the boat busi­ness took too much.” So she rented a nearby space with the idea of hold­ing monthly tast­ings for friends, clients and the pub­lic. It’s been two years and her start-up wine busi­ness has taken on a life of its own. The tast­ings have grown to stand­in­groom only and she has added more ser­vices to her ros­ter. The oenophile also uses her space to host for­mal wine pre­sen­ta­tions and pri­vate events. Say, for in­stance, you wanted to of­fer an in­cen­tive for some of your best clients or man­agers; Vu to the res­cue with a more in­ti­mate tast­ing and in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence sur­round­ing wine. Ca­ter­ing is also pro­vided for both pri­vate and pub­lic events, thanks to a part­ner­ship with down­stairs neigh­bors Fath­oms Restau­rant & Bar.

Vu has been known to take her tast­ings and pre­sen­ta­tions on the road, to ev­ery­thing from char­ity events and grand openings, to coun­try clubs and board­rooms. She will even con­sult with and sell to those plan­ning din­ner par­ties but don’t know what wines to serve. Vu’s hus­band, Jonathan, says, “I was very happy she wanted to do this be­cause this is her pas­sion … lots of times pas­sion never equates to some­thing big, but this has be­come some­thing big,” adding that the boat busi­ness is work and the wine busi­ness is play. Vu doesn’t just drink wine; she stud­ies it and has be­come a Cer­ti­fied Spe­cial­ist of Wine with the pres­ti­gious So­ci­ety of Wine Ed­u­ca­tors. Lau­ren Bright, wine sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive with Mas­cia­relli, says of Vu, “Her pas­sion shows through in ev­ery way pos­si­ble. We both like to study so we can go for hours talk­ing about cli­mate, soil and ter­roir and stuff like that.”

No fees, Cape's fun place, have wine will travel

MaryJane Vu (left) care­fully se­lects wine for her monthly tast­ings and pri­vate events. Tast­ings are pop­u­lar for greet­ing old friends and mak­ing new ones.

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