Good wine is one thing. When paired with upscale cuisine, it’s another. But when it’s served in a specialty room dedicated to the vinified life, it’s sure to earn serious respect from any oenophiles in your current or prospective membership base.
Lakewood Ranch (Fla.) Golf & Country Club discovered this the not-so-hard way. The club launched a series of food & wine events last year, and the success that grew out of those dinners was more than General Manager Wayne Piazza could have ever expected.
Each event sold out almost immediately, he reports.
By the end of the series, the club had identified a clear following of wine-lovers among its membership. That prompted Lakewood Ranch G&CC to elevate the concept by creating a signature wine room within its 44,000-sq. ft. clubhouse.
“During the design stage of the project, we challenged ourselves to engage all five senses in the development of the room,” says Piazza. “We didn’t want it to just be a room where we could serve fine dinners and wines, but instead one that would immerse our members in a signature space dedicated entirely to the enjoyment of fine wine and fine cuisine.”
The space, named Wildwood Cellar, features a hand-painted ceiling mural, as well as a small, tasteful fountain. Wine-enriched oak barrels, shipped from the Deloach Vineyards in California, offer tantalizing scents, and a suspended, one-of-a-kind chandelier, made of cast iron and olive-shaded wine bottles, hangs over the center of the space.
The room also houses an antique wine press, smelling oils, antique cork removers, wine urns, and patina-colored, 66-inch copper-top tables.
“Wildwood Cellar is used by the members for any wine dinners as well as the members Premier Cru Wine Club,” says Piazza. Additionally, the club makes the room available to area businesses and the community for private parties and special events.
“The smell of the oak barrels, along with the calming effect of the water, lets you know that you are someplace special,” says Piazza. “The room truly has its own heart and soul as it celebrates the taste of wine and fine foods.”
View Lakewood Ranch G&CC’s winelist here.