In honor of Wichita’s AIWF-Wichita 20th Anniversary Gala, featuring our own Guy Bower, AKA @GoodLifeGuy, and his merry band of wine enthusiasts I am reprinting excerpts from Denise Neil‘s article published in the Wichita Eagle earlier this month. What a fun time of year in Kansas…
Back in 1992, Guy Bower, more popularly known as the Good Life Guy, was a recent transplant to Wichita.
An Air Force pilot, Bower had moved here from Miami to take a job flying F-16s with the Kansas Air Guard. He brought with him a passion for wine that he’d developed growing up with restaurant-owner parents and traveling to countries such as Spain when he’d been on active duty. There was not much in the way of a wine scene back then so “I called the national American Institute of Wine and Food in California and told them, ‘I’m in Wichita now, and I want to start a chapter.’” Bower said. “They laughed. To them, Kansas was just a flyover state that was conservative and not that far removed from clubs and no alcohol and the fond memories of that gal with an ax tearing up bars during Prohibition.”
But they let Bower start the chapter, and he sold out his first event, a “Chardonnay Shootout”. Soon, Wichita’s AIWF was the fastest-growing chapter in the history of the organization.
Today the organization puts on monthly events and anniversary galas that are fun but focused more on wine appreciation and education. The chapter’s efforts also have resulted in culinary scholarships from several well-known Wichita chefs, including the Wichita Country Club’s Damian Lehman and the Wichita Marriott’s Peter Moretti.
“In 1992, there was wine enthusiasm, but there were more people wanting to learn more and do more,” Bower said. “Today, Wichita has a more sophisticated community of wine consumers than ever before and more than anyone could have imagined having.”