Bin One Eleven Wine Store and Tasting Bar owner Justin Jackson constantly researches new wines, sampling up to 40 varietals every week. He brings the best ones to his shop to serve in German crystal wineglasses and pair with cheese or chocolate. Guests can also sip craft beers at the bar or head outdoors to a brick patio.
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.
Sendik’s Fine Foods and its vino-savvy staff offer wine-tasting classes each month, allowing fervent oenophiles to flood taste buds with a plethora of flavors. Each wine tasting includes eight to ten carefully selected wines, artisan cheeses from Sendik’s collection, and hors d’oeuvres that can be savored alongside the sippables or smuggled out and bartered for a signed photo of Dom Perignon. Choose one of several upcoming classes, such as Champagne and Sparkling Wine on December 16, which focuses on the best holiday bubbly, or Sake 101 on March 24, 2011, where you’ll experience the Japanese libation while learning vocabulary such as seimaibuai and junmai. Afterward, you’ll be able to take home any of the wines sampled at a special discounted price. Openings for each session are limited, so call to make your reservation before overenthusiastic grape groupies snatch all the spots.
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.
Since 1851, the Wisconsin State Fair has annually showcased the state's finest resources, stuffed fairgoers with an aromatic selection of world-class foods, and entertained guests with live bands and terrifying tractor flyovers. In between hot-stepping to the Steve Meisner Polka Band on August 9 and singing along to "Cracklin' Rosie" with Eric Ebert's Tribute to Neil Diamond on August 11, fair browsers will get their choice of day to frolic manfully among a ton of food stalls, games, thrill rides, outdoor events, interactive activities, and competitions. If your trio of the fair's famous cream puffs—whose airy creaminess is just as legendary in this reality as it is in alternate realities where Wisconsin won the Civil War—doesn't fill you up completely, test your gut's maximum occupancy with August 9's brat-eating contest (4 p.m.), which is best washed down beforehand with the root-beer-float-drinking contest (3 p.m.). Kids, meanwhile, can plummet down the fair's 200-foot giant slide, take splatter-art to messy new places at the Kohl's Color Wheel, or watch the state's fastest pigs race for the coveted frosted oatmeal cookie.