Wine connoisseurs assert that novice tasters should never pair red wine with fish, white wine with red meat, or excessive wine with jury duty. Lap up today's Groupon in moderate proportions: for $75, you get a mini wine class and lunch for up to six people (a $150 value) from Wooden Nickel Winery in Litchfield, Illinois.
Among the green plains of Litchfield lies a low white building that serves as the headquarters of Wooden Nickel Winery, a sister company of Crown Valley Winery and purveyor of fine Midwestern-grown wine. Carafe clutchers can bring up to five juice-loving friends to learn from the winery's grape gurus about the beloved elixir's creation. Sample six wines in a 45-minute Wine 101 class ($90), which invariably leaves visiting groups inspired to collaborate on wine-themed Broadway musicals. Savory students each receive a $10 lunch voucher, with which they can stack their meal with a sausage-and-cheese plate, deli sandwiches, or other light snacks available for purchase.
After lunch, oenophiles are welcome to relax in the main house, where time-traveling cowboys can feel right at home among the Old West décor and exposed rafters. A country-style gift shop supplies necessary evidence of vino-ventures, with decorative kitchenware, practical wine accessories, and bottle-opening spurs.