During what was suppose to be my wild and crazy college days, I actually did not drink. Part of the reason for this act of defiance was not wanting to support an industry which seemed to take so much from impoverished communities while giving very little back in the way of job opportunities. Another reason, I attended college via track scholarship and couldn’t afford to get kicked out because of partying ways. Third reason, I just plain hated the stench of beer. So maybe I was 50% idealist, 25% scared of my parents, and 25% just too much of a lady to drink beer. As I got older, my opinion about alcohol changed, negotiating various mixed drinks and other spirits.
My liquid exploration eventually lead me to try wine tasting tours, food events, and private wine tastings. Am I going to work as a sommelier anytime soon, probably not, but it has been fun discovering what I like. My favorite local wine event, Vintage Illinois happens every September. It is inexpensive to attend and a great opportunity to get together with friends, pack a picnic, and stock up on your favorite vino! It is a bit of a drive and you will definitely need a designated driver to fully enjoy the experience.
If you are looking to stay closer to the city, Chicago Gourmet has a separate wine event you can pay additional to attend called Grand Cru. It is the Olympics of food in Chicago. The downside for Chicago Gourmet is the price. Keep in mind, all this great food and spirits will set you back about $300 should you decide to do both events for one day. I discovered one of my favorite wines at this event, so it is worth the effort to at least experience one time. And with easy access to public transportation, it is worth the indulgence. If you are passionate about food and wine, this is the event you don’t want to miss!
When looking to enjoy a full day of wine tasting while letting someone else deal with the commute, try Evanston Cellars. They have tours traveling in Illinois and to Michigan. Meet their tour bus in downtown Chicago and let them do the driving. You will get a chance to experience multiple wineries with something for everyone’s palate. It makes for a great day trip with friends or a nice date with your someone special in your life. Feel free to bring a lunch or order a meal with your tour package.
If you are looking for something with less effort on your part, there are tons of wine bars throughout Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. My most recent visit was The Cellar Door in Downers Grove, Illinois. They have a great selection of wines, daily specials, and staff that’s sweet as pie. They have food, but it is all about the drinks at this spot. Try it and let me know what you think. The other day I brought home Canyon Road Moscato for my Scandal viewing purposes. I think Olivia Pope would enjoy a glass!