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Men’s Club Wine & Beer Festival

Wine Tasting Notes

pouring beerLast Week (10-04-23), we seized upon the opportunity to attend the Annual Rice Lake Area Men’s Club Wine & Beer Festival. Having lived full-time in Rice Lake for only a relatively short period of time, we had not attended the event previously.

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The event was held at the UWEC (University of Wisconsin Eau Claire) – Barron County Gymnasium from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. UWEC is located at 1800 College Drive in Rice Lake. From the time we first turned onto College Drive, it was obvious that something big, important, and fun was about to take place that evening.

My good fortune is to have, as a close-by neighbor, a member of the Men’s Club, Mr. Brad Wiedmann. Brad offered to take some time to sit with me and answer some of my questions about the Men’s Club and about the Wine and Beer Festival.


For the uninitiated / unenlightened (of which I actually was one), The Rice Lake Men’s Club was founded over three decades ago. Its soul purpose? Serving the needs of the youth in the Rice Lake community in specific, and the Barron County area in general.

Rice Lake Men's Club Fishing Derby
Fishing Derby participants

The Men’s Club sponsors a number of events every year. Just a few examples of the many events are Boys and Girls Club, Rice Lake Public Library Kid’s Summer Programs, Toys for Tots, Shop with a Cop, and the Annual Kid’s Fishing Derby.

There are many, many more. We attended the Annual Kid’s Fishing Derby last June. Held on the west shore of Rice Lake, the event was attended by hundreds of kids, parents, and guardians. All youngsters were doing their level best to catch as many fish as possible to earn prizes. The Fishing Derby was a fantastic study in kids just having fun. There were smiles all around!


Close-Up Photography of Wine GlassesBut let’s get back to the Wine and Beer Festival. The Rice Lake Area Men’s Club holds one fund raiser every year. That event is the Wine & Beer Festival. As I stated earlier, it’s held at the UWEC/Rice Lake gymnasium. Brad tells me that this year – the 39th and likely the biggest festival to date – total money raised should be in the neighborhood of $20,000.

The key takeaway here is that about 95% of the money raised at the festival will go towards supporting youth activities and programs in the Rice Lake and Barron County areas. This would be a really generous and heartwarming gesture for area youth programs from the Rice Lake Men’s Club!


meat and cheeses at wine and beer tasting festivalYou want options? Variety? How about a plethora of possibilities? How about, for starters, 80 different wines, 31 beers, plates of assorted cheeses, meats and fruit, some excellent smoked pork ribs, corn bread, coffee, cupcakes, and ice cream? Whew!

From Somerset to Spooner and Shell Lake and from Barronett to Bloomer – from Superior to Eau Claire, and back to Rice Lake. Even as far south and east as Milwaukee, vendors came from all over Wisconsin to share their very tasty beer, wine and food products.

There were sweet wines (both red & white), some that had a bit of bubbly (like Prosecco), dry reds and dry whites (e.g., cabernets & chardonnays), and, well, just way too many to name here. An extensive beer list was filled with interesting names (like Whispering Embers, War Hammer and Awktoberfest), as well as excellent flavors.


And, lest I leave out a very important part of the festival – I’ll save the best for last – there was a multitude of raffle items that evening. These included a $1,000 cash grand prize, a made-in-Rice Lake Henry rifle (worth over $1,000) and five $100 cash prizes. There were also 65 wine baskets raffled off as well.

raffle prizesThe Rice Lake Area Men’s Club Wine & Beer Festival was a fun-filled evening thoroughly enjoyed by about 500 attendees. It was also an evening that successfully raised money for a very worthy cause.


So, a huge and hearty thank you to all those who stopped by to enjoy it. But an even bigger thank you to Brad Wiedmann and the countless other members of the Rice Lake Area Men’s Club for their role in helping area youth! Also, a giant thanks to the sponsors of the event – those who provided all the wine, beer, and food for the evening, as well as those who poured and served!

And, if you somehow missed the event this year, you should definitely plan on attending it next time around! Check out our Event Calendar for more events like this one!

Visit the Rice Lake Area Men’s Club website for more information about upcoming events, ticket sales and membership.

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We became full-time residents of the City of Rice Lake in 2021. It has been our goal and desire to contribute and give back to the City in a manner that will be as helpful as possible. It is also our goal to dedicate our efforts – and a steadily progressing and growing website – to the people and businesses of Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

Yvonne & Richard