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  Ah, the 80's...  Austin was undergoing a transformation from a 'town' which had a large university and the state government, into a small 'city' oriented toward the arts (especially music) with higher-income business people in high-tech and other diverse pursuits.  As part of that transition, Austinites started becoming interested in fine foods and good wines.

   Never one to miss a lucrative opportunity, Reuben Kogut realized an opportunity existed to help cultivate a taste for fine wine, and hopefully help supply the need through his 'Reubens' stores which he has steadily built into a solid chain since beginning in 1955.  At the time a nationwide organization was growing, primarily in the East, composed primarily of the consumers of fine wine.  That organization, "Les Amis du Vin", offered a structure for forming local "chapters" which provided a good fit.  So, the first instantiation of LADV in Austin occurred.

   With the coming of the next decade, along with a strong focus on DWI and other alcohol-related legal activity, came the "dram shop laws".  Their focus was to assign liability for injury and damage to those who had provided alcohol to the perpetrator.  Not wanting to dangle the assets of a profitable company in front of circling legal sharks, Reuben decided that he could no longer sponsor the Austin Chapter of 'Les Amis du Vin'.

   At about that same time, Sam Kindred was starting up a small chain of retail stores whose focus was on higher-end wines and spirits.  As had Reuben before him, he knew that being the sponsor of the chapter would benefit his 'Austin Wine and Spirits' stores.  John Baggett, a local wine-lover and employee in Austin's high-tech arena, had used LADV as one of the means to evolve from wine newbie to wine lover; he wanted to ensure that opportunity would exist for others.  Directorship of the Austin Chapter changed hands to these two.

   Not long afterward, the national organization began to sink.  Within the period of a few months, it went from hosting large national wine-judging events and publishing a lovely glossy magazine for its membership to completely disappearing.  Rumor was that the group's founder, much like the Titanic, had sustained irreparable damage from numerous collisions with the "white" icebergs, so popular in that period.  In disarray, many local Chapters disintegrated.  Others, like Austin's, were determined to carry on as independent entities.

   The local organization was formalized; Sam and John linked with Terry Lickona (the voice / director of Austin City Limits) to form a partnership to direct the independent organization.  The paperwork, completed in 1992, formed "Les Amis du Vin of Austin, Inc."

    Shortly thereafter, Sam moved from the world of wine retail into the wholesale end.  To adhere to the Texas three-tier distribution laws for alcoholic beverages (producer, distributor / wholesaler, retailer, and consumer), "Les Amis du Vin of Austin" began a series of partnerships with local companies to be the "retail affiliate" through which wines were procured.  Over the years, the list of affiliates included 'The Cellar', Simon-David, and even Central Market.

   In 1998, 'Twin Liquors' became the retail affiliate of 'Les Amis du Vin of Austin', and has remained so ever since.  David Jabour and the Twin team believe the best philosophy for their success is to assure the existence of a strong community of knowledgeable wine drinkers, and to offer what they want at good value.  That philosophy made them a perfect partner.  In an interesting "what goes around" story, the Twin Liquors family acquired the Reuben's chain in 2005.

   As 2006 began, Terry expanded his ACL responsibilities to include both ACL Fest and membership on the board for the Grammies.  About the same time, new opportunities took Sam away from Austin, taking him first to Las Vegas and then to Dallas, still working in wine wholesaling (Sam later died in early 2013).   Not willing to let go of the only major organization in the Austin area whose goals are to nurture and support the consumer of fine wines, John now directs the organization alone with the increased support of David and the Twin Liquors family.  "Les Amis du Vin, SP" was formed and will continue to carry the torch, until... another page is written.

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