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Wine Time: The New Suburban Cliché

It’s 4 p.m. somewhere. That means in neatly manicured suburbs across America, moms are revving up their hybrid minivans and converging in living rooms, ready to rumble. Or at least to have a glass of wine and some adult conversation before heading home to Sponge Bob and soccer games.

That’s because Wine Time, by any name, is the new mom’s time out. It’s replacing the yesterday’s coffee klatch with a souped-up model. Kids? No. Lipstick? Yes! In lieu of chicken nuggets and Match Box cars on the coffee table, there is an assortment of international cheeses and perhaps some babaganoush. Sometimes, we even light a candle.

If I have leftover energy after a week of carpools, meetings, homework, housework, and part-time jobs, I look forward to tasting and talking for an hour or two on a Friday. It’s less of a way to rehash the week than it is to gear up for the weekend like a grown-up. Although mothering is all about being an adult, it often leaves me more along the lines of hassled and harried than suave and sophisticated.

But, a glass of Pinot Noir or Nuevo Beaujolais along with some swirling and smelling and sipping? Something to nosh on that kids would never dream of eating without saying “Eww?” No “Where are the car keys?” Two hours without “What’s for dinner?” That all has a way of revitalizing the spirit.

Julie Brosterman, founder and CEO of Women and Wine, a California-based company that offers wine clubs and custom wine-country travel packages for women, understands. “Motherhood is challenging and demanding—a full time job,” she said. “Getting together with other women to taste and connect over learning about wine is both and educational and social experience.”

Not only do mom-centric wine groups capitalize on women’s need to connect with each other emotionally, but raising the glass together offers a safe, non-threatening environment for women to raise their own comfort level in purchasing and asking for wine in a store or restaurant.

Brosterman, whose company is also an online community for women who want to learn more about wine, agrees. “With the proliferation of the Food Network and stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes expanding throughout the U.S., it became obvious to me that learning about wine was going to be the sociological ‘next step’ in the evolution of appreciate for sharing a meal with friends or family.”

She notes that women make 60 percent of the wine purchases in the United States. Women are not only sharing in an interest in wine with male colleagues and partners and friends, but branching out on their own. So in a way, Wine Time is a sign of the times.

At this point in my life, Wine Time feels like a promotion. The days of strolling strollers in Starbucks hoping the baby will nap or meeting for an hour at the local playground are long gone. In my local Wine Time group, ages range from late thirties to early fifties. Most everyone has children, and their ages range from preschool to college. Our children have grown and diversified and so have we. This is a new way to meet social needs that are increasing harder to navigate with busy schedules and lives. It not only keeps us connected to one another, but to a trendy passion for women, if only once or twice a month. We don’t take it too seriously; we just want to have a good time.

“It’s a great way to relax and have fun!” Brosterman said. “Groups like these will help communities grow stronger as women get to know each other better—they’re not just waving out the car window, but relating to each other in an intimate and personal setting.”

It’s more than simply a way to taste and find wines to enjoy and more than a social gathering with a little panache. It’s a cultural swing taking moms by the hand and the nation by storm. Wine Time is itself a conversation piece, proving that being behind a picket fence no longer means being behind the times.

We can also add academics to the mix because some Harvard researchers believe there is a link between Reservatol, a substance found in wine, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Wine Time? Meet multi-tasking. It’s now socially, emotionally, and physically beneficial for women to get together and drink wine.

And if that’s cliché, I’m okay with that.

Here’s to your health!