Epicureans know that good wine is the product of hard work, which is why vintners keep careful tabs on their grapes' timecards. Learn to savor years of labor with today's Groupon: for $110, you get an Italian Wine 101 class with a four-course regional dinner for two at Ripasso (a $220 value). Classes are 1.5–2 hours long, and dates vary depending on the class.
Over the course of one year, resident culinary experts at Ripasso—the second restaurant of Terragusto mastermind Theo Gilbert—explore the delicacies of 18 Italian regions, focusing on the wines and cuisine of each locale. Starting in November, gastronomes of all skill levels study the vino, traditional dishes, and secret handshakes of Piedmont and Veneto, followed months later by a closer taste of Tuscany and Sardinia. Each month, new varietals swish into pupils' glasses, ranging from the north's chianti, pinot bianco, and sparkling asti to the south's robust reds. Groupon buyers sample one region's culinary delights, learning to pair cheeses, meats, and dinners with the proper varietals during a four-course meal that highlights the localities' most famed grub. While learning to distinguish a wine's bouquet from that of an open juice box, guests lounge in Ripasso's cozy bar area complete with wooden accents.
Explore more Chicago Italian restaurants.
Red-Headed Stepchild (Ripasso)
Many things have been done for charity, but creating an entirely new restaurant to support a single cause is not usually one of them. From March 12 to April 14, however, Italian restaurant Ripasso is doing just that by unveiling Red-Headed Stepchild, a gourmet eatery that blends Irish and Italian culinary traditions in meals designed to serve a singular purpose: raise money for the youth rugby teams of Chicago. In service of this mission, the typically Italian chefs are creating a menu filled with staples of the Emerald Isle from scratch. House-cured corned beef and sausage and house-baked rye rolls mingle with the restaurants regular deliveries of local ingredients and Italian mandolin solos to create such progressive fusion dishes as corned beef sliders adorned with Carr Valley cheese and poached quail eggs. Craft breweries in the area are even creating signature beers exclusively for the restaurant's fundraising efforts.
Since a portion of all proceeds will be donated to youth rugby, diners who harbor a special fondness for a particular team may request that their money goes to support it. The fundraiser closes with Ruck for the Kids, a battle between celebrity chefs to see who can make a tastier dish and say "aioli" ten times fast.
1619 N Damen Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60622