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iYellow Wine Club held its biggest event to date Thursday night and took advantage of Toronto's ongoing heat wave with a barbecue and wine tasting held at 99 Sudbury Street. Club founder Angela Aiello said she wanted the gathering to feel like “a neighbourhood party” that mixed socializing and education about the wines from event partner Wine Australia.
“This is the kind of event that teaches people about wine in an approachable way, which is what iYellow is all about,” said Aiello, who started her business in 2006 and aims to throw events every month. “I wanted to focus on Australia to show people it's not all about shiraz—there's a lot more the country has to offer.”
Thursday's Outback BBQ lent itself to a larger crowd than the club's previous events due to the number of wine distributors involved (19, including Corby Distilleries and Vincor Canada) and more time for planning and promotion. More than 225 people attended and were given a glass as they entered the venue to try any number of the 34 wines being showcased. Aiello said she prefers letting guests try as much wine as they want for a flat rate so they don't feel obligated to finish a glass of wine they don't like.
To keep guests sated, the Food Dudes grilled meat and seafood on two industrial-size barbecues on the venue's patio and passed finger foods like vegetable pizza and sweet potato fries. A simple decor treatment consisted of orange tablecloths and white flowers, along with a poster designed by artist Adrian Hayles and banner maps of Australia.
Aiello said she promotes iYellow events largely through e-mail to the club's membership, along with updates on Facebook and Twitter. The Outback BBQ was no exception to this word-of-mouth marketing plan. As with other club events, Aiello also provided lots of bottled water and staged the tasting close to public transit lines so people had options for getting home safely.