To make un-fine wine, simply place grapes beneath a silk pillow, repeatedly mash your head against it, and then wring the pillowcase into a nearby mouth. Taste traditionally produced fine wines with today’s Groupon: for $19, you get a wine tasting, vineyard tour, and wine appreciation seminar (a $48 value) at Valentino Vineyards & Winery, located in Long Grove, about a 50-minute drive from Chicago.
Boasting 19 different grape varietals growing on 20 verdant and sprawling acres, Valentino Vineyards' wines go from the vine to the bottle on the estate's premises. Discover the baby steps in the ultimately tragic but tannic life cycle of wine with a tour of the vineyard ($8), along with a tasting of five of Valentino's finest wines ($10). Medal winners and reserves set aside for sniffing, swigging, and sipping may include luxurious libations such as the 2005 Cabernet Franc (sold by the bottle for $59) or a 2004 Chianti reserve. An etched wine glass is included with the wine tasting. To ensure that tasters don't leave Valentino Vineyards making statements such as "Ah, this wine tastes like crushed grapes," guests will also get a wine appreciation seminar ($30). The entire wine experience will last about one to two hours.
The cork on Valentino Vineyards & Winery was first popped in 1995, with the estate opening to the public in 2001. Today, the vineyard continues to produce top-tier wines, aging the grapebloods in the oaken bosom of high-quality French and American barrels. Head to Valentino Vineyards and show your friends visiting from San Francisco that Northern Illinois soil can produce fine wine right up there with Northern California's fancy-schmancy, superior-acting dirt.
You must be at least 21 years old to use this Groupon. Call ahead for reservations.
The Chicago Reader commends Valentino Vineyards & Winery's commitment to crafting fine wine in Illinois.
- Neither a mirage nor the hobby farm of a wealthy eccentric, Valentino Vineyards is a serious business…With his custom blends and varietals, [proprietor Rudolph Valentino DiTommaso] aims to disprove the popular supposition that good wines come only from California or abroad. – Dennis Rodkin
Valentino Vineyards & Winery
Rudolph Valentino DiTommaso has thousands of growing vines to look after at his 20-acre estate vineyard of ripening grapes in Long Grove. Rudolph and his team harvest their fruits and age their elixirs in barrels made of French and American oak to yield more than 20 types of wines, all of which are produced completely on-site. And they take just as much delight in showing off their libations as they do in making them. The vineyard regularly hosts seminars and tastings, which guests can pair with tours of the vineyard.