MINNEAPOLIS -- Wine isn't normally the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about baseball. For the Twins, however, combining wine and baseball seemed like a perfect opportunity to attract a largely untapped demographic -- women. On Thursday afternoon, the team held one of its "Wine, Women, and Baseball" events, a promotion directed at catering to women coming out of the ballpark by pampering them for two hours before the game and giving them an opportunity to bond with other female fans.
This season marks the third year that the Twins have hosted such an event. The idea of "Wine, Women and Baseball" was first proposed by Twins vice president of marketing Patrick Klinger two years ago as a chance to cater to female fans. "We know that we do have that big female fan base, and this is something that's unique to them," said Nancy O'Brien, the Twins' director of advertising. "I think at these events, it's a combination of our fans -- some that already come to the ballpark for something unique to do, and maybe it also reaches out to the female fans that haven't come out to the ballpark in awhile. It's just a fun atmosphere to be engaged in." Due to the event's popularity, the team has gradually increased the number of dates, hosting a total of eight this year. Two have already taken place and the remaining six are sold out. Held in a tent on the plaza outside the Metrodome, the "Wine, Women, and Baseball" event does more than provide women with a chance at wine tasting. Herberger's is the primary sponsor of the event, and during each session, the company brings in a different vendor to provide women with a glimpse at various women's products. On Thursday, Estee Lauder was on hand to provide women with makeovers and distribute some of their beauty products. Among the many other options women can take part in during the event is a chance at manicures from the Kalla Lily Salon & Spa based in Maple Grove, Minn., or to have their jewelry cleaned by Bergstrom Jewelers. The women also get some insight into baseball as well. Former Twins catcher Tim Laudner was the special guest Thursday, and along with speaking to the crowd, he signed autographs and took pictures with the many women. The Twins Wives Organization also takes part in the event, selling raffle tickets for two baskets that feature some of the wives' favorite things. Carol Gardenhire, wife of manager Ron Gardenhire, and Natalie Punto, wife of infielder Nick Punto, have both taken part in a number of the events, and say that it's a favorite for all of women associated with the ballclub. "For me personally, I love it," Natalie Punto said. "It kind of brings the women to the baseball field to show them a different aspect of baseball, and yet still they get the game to enjoy, too. I think for all the women, it's relaxing and fun. It's like a girls' day out before the game." With a noon game for the Twins on Thursday, the event took a slightly different twist as well -- serving mimosas in addition to the usual wine. And among the wide array of food that's always on hand for the event, this one featured fruit and waffles for breakfast. "We just try to give the ladies a fun two hours before the game," O'Brien said. While some of the women at the event Thursday are big baseball fans, like Jeanie Kurtz, 51, of Madison, Wis., who came with her daughter, there are others who come to the event mostly for the chance for a little female bonding. Joann Gregerson, 59, of Cold Spring, Minn., was part of a group of seven women taking part in the event for a girls' day out. Having attended one of the events two years ago, Gregerson said she suggested it to her friends as something for them to try as well. "It's a chance for us to spend time together on something totally unrelated to what they do with their daily lives," Gregorson said. "When we go home to our communities, we can say we went down to the "Wine, Women and Baseball" event and it makes you feel special all the way around."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.