Grape Nuts

A little bit about our key Bunch winos

The Tri-Wine Bunch Volunteer Staff

Back about three or four years ago when the group was small and consisted only of a few close friends getting together to share a glass of wine and a bit of gossip it only took a couple of people to do all the work. It was pretty much like a small family and friends cocktail party. The idea of reservations was a loose concept at that time and there were only a dozen glasses or so to wash and take care of. Today the Bunch has grown to become a very large group of friends, new and old who share a common bond: their love of good wine. Now, in order to make things run smoothly, it takes a dedicated core of volunteers to pull off the very enjoyable monthly tasting parties. Most folks don't realize how much behind scenes work is required. The Bunch is at the present time comprised of a core group of eight staff volunteers who do all the work- they are as follows:

Dick Church - Head wine nut, who in the 1970’s watched helplessly as California's oldest wine growing district, the Cucamonga/Riverside area disappeared in front of his very eyes to be replaced with Hotels, parking lots, shopping centers and condominiums. Retiring from his former life as an Aerospace Engineer after 30 years spent mostly in southern California, Dick now spends his time writing articles, composing e-mails, planning wine events, and working on his long-time ham radio hobby.  Dick provides his services as an Independent Wine Consultant assisting area businesses, charitable organizations, etc. with wine related fundraising events, wine dinners, etc, and since 2005 has been the overall coordinator/leader of the Tri-Wine Bunch. Dick takes care of the overall planning, wine selection and communications chores such as Notices, Reservations and Newsletters for the Bunch.  You will mostly see him working the Meet and Greet table at the tastings, hugging all the ladies, and running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to keep everything under control during the events. 

Christine Tober - Dick's "right hand man", this cute little blonde lady works tirelessly doing all kind of work for the group including printing the little tags that go on your wine glass, the tasting guide sheets, and the waiver forms.  You will see her at the tastings, helping with getting you a name badge, making sure you have a wine glass, and answering your questions as you get checked into the event.  Her hard work comes afterward when she is responsible for collecting all the stemware to take them home to the dishwasher.  The Bunch maintains about 150 glasses and they all must be washed each month prior to the next event. No small task.


Rick Heppert - Rick is responsible for making it possible for you to be reading this right now.   Rick, following Dick's suggestions and desires, invented our website.   He earns his keep as a member of the staff by keeping the site maintained and updated three or four times a month and making changes as the whims of the leadership demands.   We are fortunate that Rick stepped up and volunteered to do this very important job.  Many new people become friends of the Bunch by checking out our web site.  You will see Rick at the tastings standing tall above anyone else coddling his wine glass when not helping out with the donations jar or lending a hand where needed.

Doreen Heppert - Rick's better half, Doreen came on board in June 06 and helps with the food table, issuing guest tags, glassware, and whatever else is needed.

HARRY & JO WINDECKER - Harry and Jo’s main job with the Tri-Wine Bunch is to set up the pouring station and provide tasters a sampling of the fine wines that have been selected and procured. Paraphrasing the Morton Salt motto; “when it rains, they pour”. Well, when it doesn’t rain, they also pour! As time permits, Jo shares the job with Doreen in keeping the food table arranged and the area clean and presentable, which is no small chore. 

Jo & Harry have been fortunate enough to do considerable traveling. While traveling, among many other things like skiing, sightseeing, etc. they love to sample the gastronomic delights including the wines and other beverages particular to the countries and regions visited. All this experience makes it possible for Harry and Jo to share first hand information about many of the wines they are presenting to our tasters.

They also provide input in selecting the wines to be presented at our events, and sometimes select and provide the wines for a specific theme. They have been responsible for the wines selected for the “Taste of Italy” in 2006 and more recently for the great selection of Iberian wines (Spain and Portugal) presented at the October, 2007 event. While finding a wine to suit every palate is sometimes difficult, their love of pouring and sipping allows them to overcome this obstacle and they happily immerse themselves in the task.

Larry England -- We are happy to re-instate Larry into the list of volunteers.  Larry was the founding father of the Bunch, but in 2005 became Mr. Cartridge World and passed leadership on to Dick. Larry and wife Debbie stay busy enough running their growing and flourishing business, (now in four cities) but he just can't stay away from the juice of the grape.  So he is back helping out with the Bunch providing assistance in wine selection, transportation, pouring, etc. etc.  Larry also sponsors various fundrasing charity Wine Tasting events for organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Rotary Club and others. The TWB provides assistance and partners in those events when our help is needed. We coordinate our scheduling so as not to double up on an event held the same month.  This arrangement works out to the advantage of both of us. Look for Larry in one of the rolling billboards carrying the Cartridge World advertisements on their sides on the highways and streets  all over the Tri-Cities.

Your Tri-Wine Bunch is made possible by the work of our volunteers and supporters. Believe me it is a "labor of love", and we thrive and prosper on your expressions of appreciation.

Updated 01/02/2013