Santa Claus Anonymous Wine Tasting

Scene and Heard

December 13, 2009|By Sloane Brown | Special to The Baltimore Sun

It's a tradition for supporters of Santa Claus Anonymous to celebrate the season with red and white. Wine, that is.

A couple of hundred folks gathered in the ballroom at the National Federation of the Blind for Santa Claus Anonymous' annual wine tasting fundraiser. The organization has been providing holiday presents to kids for the past 75 years.

Guests were greeted by Santa Claus Anonymous executive director Nicole Russell, president David Blumberg, and longtime supporters Jim and Beth Russell. Committee member JoAnn Stallings passed out souvenir wine glasses.

Tasting stations featured more than 50 wines. A group of four friends stood near one station, comparing notes.

"She only likes white, fruity wines," said Kim Ivins, NIVM information technology specialist, referring to Jennifer Ford, a nurse at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

"But she'll try anything," Ivins said, referring to Jennifer Neely, Pediatric Partners medical technician.

And the fourth friend? "I'm an equal opportunity taster," said Christine Intrieri, Patterson Park Charter School teacher.

For Mike Cray, Baltimore Sports & Social Club president, the evening was the beginning of a long weekend. The next two days would be filled by a football marathon, benefiting Santa Claus Anonymous.

"I was lining the fields today. So tonight, I get to relax," he said, as he raised a glass of red wine.

Sloane Brown can be contacted at

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