Wine Women and Shoes

Photos by Tim Valentino

What’s more fun than an evening of wine and shoe shopping while supporting a great cause? Beats us. Wine Women and Shoes benefiting Family Scholar House will take place on Friday, March 2, at The Henry Clay. To learn about the history of the event and what’s in store for this year, we spoke with Family Scholar House Director of Mission Advancement Kellie Johnston.

How did Wine Women and Shoes get its start?

Wine Women and Shoes is the brainchild of Napa Valley vintner Elaine Honig. While chatting with a girlfriend about the growing popularity of wine and food pairing events, they jokingly said, “Wine and shoe pairings would be a lot more fun!” And they were right. Wine Women and Shoes events are now in over 65 cities across the country and have raised more than $50,000,000 for women and children’s causes.

Five years ago, Family Scholar House CEO Cathe Dykstra, who has a well-known love of shoes, brought Wine Women and Shoes to Louisville and it has become the biggest annual fundraiser for Family Scholar House.

What will guests experience at this year’s event?

This year is our fifth annual Wine Women and Shoes, and we hope to bring a few new surprises to this year’s event. As always, our guests will enjoy an evening of wine tastings, shopping, silent and live auctions with one-of-a-kind packages, a high-energy fashion show and, of course, the Shoe Guys, who always have a few surprises in store for the ladies. We don’t want to give too much away, but this year you can expect a brand new bourbon experience as well!

Are men welcome to join in the fun?

Men are always welcome, but be prepared to be in the minority in the room! Since it was voted The Voice-Tribune’s Best Girls Night Out of 2017, that should tell you that this is mostly a ladies evening. An excellent way for men to get involved is to become a Shoe Guy. This special group of men volunteer their time and energy to make the evening extra special for the ladies by helping with shopping, pouring wine, taking pictures and making the evening fun. Men interested in becoming one of the Shoe Guys can contact me at

How does this event benefit Family Scholar House?

100% of the proceeds from Wine Women and Shoes are used to support the services and programs of Family Scholar House to help very low-income single parents break the cycle of poverty by earning college degrees. Family Scholar House provides stable housing, academic advising and family support for 215 disadvantaged families, and will soon add 64 families to that number at our newest campus on Cane Run Road opening in late January 2018. Because we receive no federal or state funding for our services and programs, events like Wine Women and Shoes are critical to ensuring our families succeed and achieve life-long self-sufficiency.

Are there any sponsors we should thank for their support?

Family Scholar House has an amazing group of sponsors for Wine Women and Shoes. We are honored to have GE Appliances as our presenting sponsor for 2018 and Churchill Downs as our Key-to-the-Closet raffle drawing sponsor. Our media sponsors are WLKY and The Voice-Tribune, and Von Maur is our fashion show sponsor. Other key sponsors include ID+A, Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, Merkley Kendrick Jewelers, Terri Bass/Lenihan Sotheby’s and The Marian Group.

Is it too late to buy tickets?

Each year, tickets sell out more quickly than the year before, and this year we sold out on January 4! However, Churchill Downs Key-to-the-Closet raffle tickets are still available for a chance to win a $10,000 shopping spree to Von Maur, and raffle ticket purchasers this year will have first chance at next year’s event tickets. Tickets are $100 and only 200 will be sold. Raffle tickets may be purchased at, and you do not have to be present to win. VT