Photos Courtesy of Stephanie Harkness

Stephanie Harkness spent years of her life becoming a wine connoisseur. She hosts wine tastings with friends, travels across the world to try the best wines, and even is a Level 2 sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. It’s a passion for Harkness, who finds joy in sharing, experiencing, and learning about wine with others.

In 2021, Harkness and her husband moved to the active senior living community Sagewood in North Phoenix. There are hundreds of resident groups in the Sagewood community, but she could not find one that fit her interest in wine.

Harkness joined forces with Michael Kunze, food and beverage director at Sagewood, to organize the Sagewood residents’ Wine Society. Their first meeting was hosted in April 2022 with eight initial members. The group quickly became one of the most popular clubs at Sagewood and grew to over 120 members in just six months. Harkness and the wine society continues to welcome new members each meeting with open arms and a full glass.

During the Wine Society meetings, Sagewood residents create and try unique wine pairings, attend special wine dinners, listen to educational wine speakers, and attend off-campus wine events. The Owl’s Nest at Sagewood is an ideal place to gather and enjoy a drink, but the Wine Society also ventures to local restaurants and tasting rooms. The Wine Collective of Scottsdale and Atlas Bistro are recurring favorite places to visit but the group recently went beyond the Arizona border to expand their palate.

When forming this group, Harkness envisioned frequent trips would be part of the club. In October, the Wine Society traveled to Willamette Valley in Northern Oregon to visit several vineyards and tasting rooms.
“I am so pleased the Wine Society has grown in popularity in the short time since it was formed,” says Harkness. “This group is not only an opportunity to expand your wine palates and learn, but also to socialize with our neighbors and meet new friends.”

Harkness explains that the Wine Society has people of all knowledge levels—some who have formed their tastes and some who are new to the experience. Regardless of how much a person knows about wine, the group is a great place to learn and discover.

Part of Sagewood’s goal is to not only provide top-of-the-line housing and care for residents, but to create a community for residents to connect, bond, and form lasting friendships. Groups like the Wine Society are the perfect way to do that.

To learn about the Sagewood community, visit or call 480-384-5800.