On TV, she may be one of “The Real Housewives of NYC” but Ramona Singer was the Absolute Darling of Bloomington-Normal Wednesday evening.
To catch a moment with Singer and also get their own autographed bottle of her own Ramona Singer pinot grigio wine ($12 a bottle, only one per customer), hundreds of fans showed up at Friar Tuck Beverage, the wine and spirits store in east Bloomington.
The line wound through the store and then wrapped outside, hooking around the corner of the building off Prospect Road.
So many showed up, in fact, to give herself a break after the first of two-and-a-half hours of autographing wine bottles, Singer got up from her table, walked along the line greeting customers, then went outside and walked all the way to the back of the line around the building.
“Be patient!” she said, in her Brooklyn accent.
In Chicago for part of the week, to promote her wine and also her RMS Fashions and Jewelry (she’s reportedly worth $18 million, thanks to all her enterprises), Singer had a free night and through a distributorship handling her wines, decided to drive down to Bloomington-Normal to hype and hawk her white wine here, too.
“We didn’t really know what to expect,” said Matt Dunn, general manager of the Bloomington Friar Tuck. “But looking at all this, I’d say it was successful. It isn’t just Bloomington-Normal, either. We got calls from all over the state when word leaked she was going to be here.”
Among those getting bottles of Singer’s wine were Gail Scioscia Turner, of Bloomington, and Laura Turner, of Decatur.
They were in line early, at about 4:20 in the afternoon, 40 minutes before Singer’s appearance was to even begin.
Almost three hours and hundreds of fans later, Susan Bruehl was the last to meet and greet Singer.
“I asked if I could buy a few more bottles for friends but was told one was the limit,” said Bruehl. “But then, as I shopped for other wines, Ramona walked by and I told her I was trying to purchase more bottles of her wine and she took me back over to the table, asked how many bottles I wanted and then told the gentlemen around the table `the customer is always right - give her as many bottles as she wants.' I was her last customer of the day and she treated me with such kindness.”
Bill Flick is at email@example.com