You do not get anything immediately, there and then. First you have to work hard, set things right, and only when the rush is over and the young country, independent as of 1918, has settled in a kind of rut, it is time to live for yourself. This is perhaps why the first wine bar in Pärnu was established nearly ten years after the birth of the Republic of Estonia. The right time, place and people happened to meet in 1930 and strike the right chord. Not for long unfortunately. With the war and a new regime, tastes and attitudes towards drinks changed and the wine bar had to close down. For the next fifty years, society tirelessly building communism did not think that wine and the sophisticated social life accompanying it, was appropriate for Soviet people. However, over ninety years after its first opening, sophistication and conscious consumption of wine that began in the wine bar in the Café Grand, has reached its third coming as Pärnu Wine Club.
A new start in May 2002. Estonia is ten years into re-independence. Coincidence? Perhaps. The Café Grand Wine Club was this time set up with the support from the French Cultural Centre and Pärnu County Government. The festive occasion was attended by the French Ambassador to Estonia, heads of town and county of Pärnu, and many other well-known people. The most resounding toast of the evening was made by Patrick Erbs, Economic Counsellor at the Embassy of France, who said to "use your heart to speak about wine because wine is a passion and a pleasure". It is very hard to argue with this. In vino veritas.
The rule of three. The Café Grand Wine Club's demise was not caused by anything fatal or major. Sometimes a new go, a new breath of life is needed. That's why a club with the same content and flavour was born for the third time in the same place. The Pärnu Wine Club took over from its predecessors in November 2018. At the very first meeting wines were tasted (of course) and Dr. Toomas Toomsoo spoke of "The effects of wine on health in the light of the French paradox". Such educational events are held monthly, with July and August being holiday months to whet the appetite for the new season. In addition, there are quizzes, training and tasting sessions and trips to wine festivals and wine estates. Luckily for us, or perhaps surprisingly for foreign visitors, there are plenty of wineries in Estonia today. 1930 was a really good vintage, because the smooth summery aftertaste of the wine events of that time still lingers in the Café Grand and Pärnu Wine Club. Check it out!
Founders of the Pärnu Wine Club - Riina Rand, Kristel Voltenberg, Enn Rand.