About Us

PAIRINGS & POP UPS is a project of the Bay Area Wine Society which seeks to encourage the appreciation of California artisan wineries at a reasonable cost.  The goal is to keep our gatherings informal and fun yet informative. Any of our members can coordinate a program or suggest a place to meet, and we do take advantage of this participatory approach.

Our wine club sponsors sit down blind tastings whose results are posted on our blog and walk around tastings, primarily featuring new releases from limited production California wineries though we do explore imports from time to time.   We also facilitate wine sales and fulfillment between the participating wineries and members.  

The Society, a not-for-profit association of over 1700 members, was founded and continues to be administered by Tom Merle. A fifth generation San Franciscan whose relatives still make wine in the south of France, Tom received his B.A. in philosophy from Georgetown and a masters in humanities from the University of Chicago, with additional graduate work in political science and sociology at Berkeley. 

Career 1.0

~Included college teaching at Grinnell in Iowa,

~trade association management,

~governmental affairs/lobbying and regional planning for the Bay Area Council,

~followed by managing and marketing master planned communities such as Redwood Shores for Mobil Land Development Corp. then Chevron's equivalent division. 

Career 2.0:

~Executive Director of Family Winemakers of CA, an association of 350 boutique winery members. Duties included large consumer and trade tastings as well as lobbying on behalf of smaller wineries. 

~Founder of Splendor in the Glass which organized tours and tastings for conventioneers, corporations, and alumni groups, leading to the opening of a tasting room near Silverado Resort in Napa as part of a wine sales program

~Founder and manager of the Commonwealth Club wine program

~Business development for wine fulfillment companies,

~Convening wineries to exchange ideas on best practice
s for direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales.  Involves a Facebook Group page and a second blog.

~Founding a consumer cooperative,

~Using wine sales proceeds to support non profits

If you have any questions about our programs please send an email to tom@pairingsandpopups.com or call us at 707.337.3663.

Pairing wine with art

Blind tasting using color coded labels of wines in our people's choice competition

Scoring wines

Utilizing tasting events to sell wine to benefit non-profits