Who We Are 2017-02-19T22:39:07+00:00


The DWO is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, incorporated in 2002, with more than 6,000 members!

Membership in the Detroit Wine Organization is FREE and entitles you to discounts on DWO event tickets, the periodic 60-Second Wine Course and first-priority in purchasing tickets for events like Detroit Uncorked, which consistently sells-out.

What We Believe

We admit it — wine tasting can be intimidating. So much to learn, so many wine-snobs to avoid. We also admit “Detroit” may not be the city that pops to mind when you think of great wine and great wine events. That’s why we started the Detroit Wine Organization — to make wine understandable and enjoyable for all — and to offer world-class wine events and educational resources in the city better known for cars than Cabernet. Our mission is to promote the education and enjoyment of wine, as well as the great wines and wine experts in our local market, while benefiting local charities.

Get Connected

If you are looking for a wine club you have found us. Us being the Detroit Wine Organization, also known as the DWO, the largest wine enthusiast club in the Midwest.  We provide world-class wine events in Metro Detroit area’s that promote the enjoyment and education of wine with winemakers and award winning chefs. And the best part, the proceeds from the events are donated to DWO charity partners!




Our Board Members

Eileen GikasPresident
Eileen has been a board member since 2011, she also served as Vice President in 2014.  She has worked in the media industry for over 20 years in sales management and business development.  Eileen has been an active volunteer for several local charities and community projects for over 25 years.  Her passion for helping others is contagious.
Kathy Vargo
Kathy VargoExecutive Director
Kathy is an event marketing manager, publicist, business owner, and fundraiser with 20+ years of expertise in the Detroit market. Having joined the DWO in January 2017, Kathy is looking forward to bringing her skills and relationships to the table to help the organization reach its annual fundraising goals, and to engage new corporate donors and members.
Robert Visconti
Robert ViscontiFounder
Bob is the Creator and Founder (along with other current board member John Marasco) of the Detroit Wine Organization which was created in the year 2000. He has been in the wine industry for more than 25 years.

Bill Moran, Vice President

Bill is a wine enthusiast, joined DWO in 2013. His goal is to grow DWO membership and attendance at charity events by telling the story about the people whom the organization assists. He is also President of William E Moran Investment Consulting and a member of the Financial Services Institute and Heritage Foundation.

Mark High, Secretary
Mark High serves as the DWO’s General Counsel. Mark has practiced law for more than 25 years and currently practices in the areas of corporate, international and corporate finance for Dickinson Wright PLLC. In addition to his service with DWO, Mark is Secretary of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and is a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Renee Peck, Treasurer
Renee is a healthcare fundraiser with the Oakwood Foundation in Dearborn, MI.  She has worked and volunteered for non-profit organizations for more than 20 years.  A wine enthusiast, she joined the DWO in 2005 after attending Detroit Uncorked at Ford Field.  A Board member since 2007, she served as Vice President of the DWO Board in 2010 & 2011 and after taking a few years off, rejoined the DWO Board of Directors in 2015.

Tami Tennant, Board Member
Tami is the Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky Manager for Jackson Family Wines where she manages Kendall Jackson’s portfolio of wines. She has been actively involved with the DWO since 2003 and joined the Board of Directors in 2007.

Michael Schafer, Board Member
Michael Schafer Esq. aka the Wine Counselor, is the charismatic wine educator and sommelier who entertains while teaching. His humorous and fun approach to wine is reflected in his trademark phrase “I taste bad wine so you don’t have to.” Michael has been featured on CNN, ABC and in the Detroit News. He is a published author. Michael judges in international competitions.  Michael has studied wine around the world for over 25 years.

Jevon Kennell, Board Member
Jevon is a full time engineer at General Motors Milford Proving Grounds.  He and his wife Julia have been volunteering to help with DWO events for several years.  They have also provided services such as print media, graphic design and web design.

Karen Bloomer, Board Member
Karen is the Division Wine Steward for the Kroger Company of Michigan.

Mike Peterson, Board Member
Mike started his wine career at Decanter Imports in 1995. Moved  to On- Premise Management with Viviano Wine Importers in 2005. He is now with Great Lakes Wine & Spirits where he is in charge of Training and Fine Wine Sales for the Chain Accounts. Prior to moving to Michigan He  was in Colorado and a Regional V.P. for the Stuart Anderson’s Restaurant chain, on the board of the National Kidney Foundation and Chairman of the John Elway Golf Classic.

John Merle, Board Member
John has been in the adult beverage industry for 26 years, and truly loves it!  Over the years He has have worked for House of Midulla (Gallo Distributor), Southern Wine & Spirits in Florida, Premier Beverage, and Bronco Wine Company before settling in just recently to RNDC of Michigan.

Mike Macdonald, Board Member
Mike works at Imperial Beverage

Mark Swope, Board Member
Mark works for Telnet Worldwide

Why Join the DWO?

Monthly Wine Down Wednesdays at Metro Detroit area’s hottest restaurants
Wine dinners with winemakers and award winning chefs
Detroit Uncorked with over 300 wines for the tasting
Charitable events featuring local celebrities and athletes
Plus much, much more!