Wine tastings: orgies in the safe-sex era

One of the things I appreciate about Americans is that we're always looking for new things to do. In the '70s, it was orgies. In the '80s, investment clubs. In the '90s, murder-mystery evenings. And now? Believe it or not, wine tastings are becoming very popular. Here's how to host one: Start with a theme. For example, you might serve wines only from, say, Washington or Napa or France. Or consider a specific grape type. Maybe you'll serve only Merlots from different wineries or only Pinot Noirs. Sticking to a specific vintage is interesting. Or find one winery you like and serve all of their 1997s, then serve all of their 1996s to see what a difference a year makes. Or focus on cuisine by making a wonderful pasta dinner and serving only Italian wines. Whichever direction you go, your local wine shop or wine-friendly supermarket can help you set it up. Try this once a month with friends; you buy the wine the first month, then go to a friend's house the next. Everyone will love it. Best of all, you won't get the clap. Dennis, I read your column. Here's what sucks: Wine that isn't red. Red wine made by people whose names don't end in "i". Waiters who have a stick up their butt and don't get it. What I don't understand is why people pay more than 10 bucks for a bottle of the grape. Hey, next time you're at the Tropicana, drop me a note. I'll get you good seats for my show. Ciao! WAYNE NEWTON, LAS VEGAS Wayne, I've seen your act. Here's what sucks: Gray hair that isn't gray. Lounge singers whose names don't end in "Sinatra." Performers with pencil-thin mustaches. What I don't understand is why all those middle-aged women fling panties and room keys at you. Hey, next time you're in Seattle, why not join Steve from Ballard for a bike ride. Danke sch�I>! DENNIS e-mail:

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