There’s No Need to Whine: 12 Wine-Centric Activities in Chicago
Wine improves with age—exactly like we do, right? Just say yes, please. No matter whether you’re a fine wine connoisseur or simply someone who enjoys a cheap bottle on a Friday night, we can all appreciate a delicious glass of red or white. Feeling thirsty yet? Then stop and smell the rosé by jumping into Chicago’s thriving wino community. With tons of winery tours, art classes and more, here are our favorite wine-centric activities you’ve got to add to your bucket list.

Taste testing the high life.

wine tasting
wine basics
vino

Swirl, swish, sniff, spit, repeat—that’s the life of experienced wine tasters. But for newbies or wine fans looking to get a hang of the basics, this wine 101 class is perfect for you. Snack on healthy portions of your favorite nuts, cheese and breads in between sips of seven different types of wine. You’ll never drink a glass the same way again!

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DIY: wine edition.

winery
wine
enology
enologist

Local’s the new normal, and it shouldn’t be any different with wine. With this two-session winemaking class, you’ll learn the ins and outs of the 9,000 year-old process to create 24-28 bottles of your very own wine (in a much shorter time period, mind you). You’ll do everything from picking the sour grapes to corking, labelling and naming the final product. Who needs Napa Valley when you can make your own fine wine?

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A behind-the-scenes look at winemaking.

Wine tours usually go like this: you look at the wine list, take a sip and go home with a few carts (or bottles, we guess) of wine. But at this fully operational winery in Chicago, you’ll receive an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at how winemakers can turn grapes into wine. Along the way, you’ll taste all kinds of wine in different stages of development while enjoying some tasty appetizers. Listen to your guide for tips and recommendations on which bottles (or carts, come on) to lug home.

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Wining and dining through a restaurant’s wine list.

wine tasting
bordeaux
sommelier

Wine lists are overwhelming. There are different brands and types of wine and sometimes they’re in other languages—most often you end up just ordering a glass of White Zinfandel. Well, not after this class you don’t! Step away from the ordinary glasses of wine to learn all about wining and dining at restaurants. You’ll learn about popular pairing choices, etiquette, how to discern a good label from a bad one and how to pronounce the name of that bottle of wine you’ve been dying to try.

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Wine and cheese, a match made in heaven.

wine pairing
wine tasting

It’s a fact: wine and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly. Basically, they were meant to be enjoyed together. For those fans who approve of the pairing, the Wine Goddess’ wine and cheese night (uncensored) is for you! Tap into a wealth of knowledge from the instructor to find the perfect pairings for your next soiree and enjoy a glass (or bottle) of the best wine you can buy.

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Secrets of the vine.

Drinks
Quality
Sampling
Pairing

Think you know everything about wine? Think again. Under the guidance of an accredited sommelier, you’ll learn to distinguish $100 wine bottles from your cheaper go-tos. The class teaches you all about grape varietals, food pairings and tastings so you can easily cater to your palette. But don’t worry—if your budget doesn’t match your newly acquired fine taste, you’ll still be able to enjoy that boxed wine you’ve always bought.

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Francophiles and oenophiles, rejoice!

wine tasting
wine pairing
bordeaux
burgundy
french wines

Did you know 8 billion bottles of French wine are produced each year? The natural countryside of France (and its grapes) are responsible for some of your favorite wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc and more. Discover what ‘more’ means at this exclusively French wine-tasting class from the Wine Goddess. You’ll learn the to distinguish the wines’ subtleties from one another and appreciate wine like the Parisians do—which is no small task.

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Wining and designing jewelry.

BYOB
beading
wire wrapping
custom jewelry

For the couple that likes the drink, romantic evenings for two usually involve some variation of wining and dining. Skip the dining for a relaxed, romantic night creating jewelry for one another. Under the care of a knowledgeable instructor, you’ll learn the basics of beading, wiring and metaling techniques to create a custom piece of jewelry. Just make sure you don’t drink so much wine (gasp) that you can’t finish your art piece!

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BYOB painting potluck.

paint
DIY
canvas
social

Save wine tastings for another night and bring your favorite bottles out to this painting potluck at The Paintbrush. No one (especially not you) will care if you can only manage to draw stick figures as long as you bring the right bottle! Bring an appetizer and snack on delicious treats while you mix and mingle with friends new and old.

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War of the wine worlds: the old versus the new.

wine tasting
old world wine
new world wine

France and Italy may have been making wine for thousands of years, but countries like Australia and America are starting to catch up. Don’t worry, you don’t have to pick a side—yet. Sample and appreciate the tastes of all the wine before declaring a clear winner. Who knows? You may even find a way to broker world wine peace.

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The grapes of Italian wrath.

Italian wine
wine tasting
wine basics

Fans of Italian food (ie. everyone) know that to truly enjoy a dish of pasta, you have to pair it with a glass of Italian wine. In this Wine Goddess class, you’ll become a little more than just acquainted with Italian grapes such as falanghina, arneis, dolcetto and aglianico. Besides tasting the secrets behind each vino, you’ll study the history and regions of grapes native to the country we know as Italy. Belissima!

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A day in the countryside.

winery
vineyards
wine tasting
tours

Need to escape from the city? Venture out to the Chicago suburbs for a day of wine tasting. Visiting three wineries, you’ll discover a new appreciation for cold-climate grapes that simply cannot be found in any other part of the world. Featuring a picnic lunch and the ultimate list of wine tastings, you’ll be treated to a day of good ol’ fashioned Midwestern wines. All transportation is provided, so no need to worry about finding a desi d either!

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