The oenophiles at Grapes and Tastes perk up both amateur and experienced palates with an enormous assortment of more than 300 wines crafted from grape varietals from across the globe. Aspiring vino virtuosos can sample six selections during Grapes and Tastes’ Around the World with Wine Tasting event and discover a new favorite bottle to house cabernet-flavored miniature schooners. The tasting event showcases an extensive range of flavor profiles, appellations, price points, and adjectives such as oaky, in between sips, swirls, and fun-induced sneezing fits. Tastings are held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays from April 5 until May 26. (No tastings will be held on April 9 or May 14). Please see the Grapes and Tastes website for directions.
The Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival ferments a tasty mix of food tastings, more than 100 craft beers, and envoys from 30 local breweries into an afternoon libation celebration. Craft brewers such as Milwaukee Alehouse, New Glarus Brewing Co., and Titletown Brewing Co. show off their sudsy wares for passersby threading throughthe bustling tents dotted throughout the Bayshore Town Center. Festivalgoers rub elbows with master brewers and chefs, imbibe new ales or old favorites, sample 20 different food and beer pairings, and try to guess which stein once belonged to John Quincy Adams. Membership to WIBL unlocks pilsner-powered discounts and VIP privileges, including brewery merchandise and admission to WIBL-sponsored events. A quarterly newsletter augments membership, detailing changing selections and discounts at pubs.
The bottles that make up Thief Wine's diverse inventory are not stolen, but they may as well be. The shop's name—a reference to the long tube or "barrel thief" used to sample maturing wines waiting to be bottled—reflects the air of mischief shoppers experience in encounters with otherwise inaccessible wines that makes each of the shop's selections feel like the product of a thrilling cellar heist. The fruits of Thief's careful wine curation decorate the walls of Thief Wine's two locations with more than 500 selections, which mix familiar labels with artisanal up-and-comers from around the globe. At each location's wine bar, certified sommeliers pare down the hulking inventory to about 30 essential bottles, which slosh into thematic tasting flights or full glasses to flank small plates of cheese and charcuterie.
With a background brewing beer, Jim Wirsching-Neuser was immediately interested when his wife suggested that they create a wine with which to toast at their wedding in 2001. More than a decade later, the two have refined their winemaking processes and recipes to create an impressive selection of varietals using juices from wine grapes produced around the globe. Inside their tasting room, guests sample pours from each of the house-made wines, a selection which may vary according to the season and the sommelier’s ability to juggle. The elixirs may include a faintly tart blueberry pinot noir, dry Tuscan chianti, and Johannesburg riesling, which bursts with fruity notes before breaking through into a smooth dryness.
The tastings at Ray's Wine & Spirits invite alcohol enthusiasts to sample the world's most exquisite beverages and rub elbows with the people who produce them. Wine aficionados can aficionadify their palates by tasting Concha Y Toro's legendary Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc and chatting with its creator, Enrique Tirado, during the Don Melchor tasting (Wednesday, September 8 at 6:30 p.m., $20/person). For brewsky buffs, the Sam Adams tasting (Tuesday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m., $15/person) with Brewmaster Andrew Lamont offers an in-depth look at the Boston brewery's Winter Lager, American Rye Ale, new Imperial White, and more. Justify sewing French flags onto the backs of British children’s jackets at the Tour of Burgundy tasting (Wednesday, September 29 at 6:30 p.m., $25/person), which will showcase the vino of Nicolas Potel and allow fermentation fanciers to inspect varieties including Volnay, Gevrey Chambertin, and the $129.99-a-bottle Grand Cru, Echezeaux. Regularly check Ray's schedule for a monthly listing of tempting tastings.
An array of bottles line shelves and tables and pack boxes, filling the Wine Cellar of Wisconsin with its namesake beverage. Frequent specials are highlighted weekly, including recommendations from the staff. Additionally, evening wine tastings encourage visitors to sample and learn about various varietals. Although the store primarily carries wine, it also stocks a number of craft beers from the likes of New Glarus Brewing, Bell's Brewing, and Ale Asylum.