At the end of August we made our semi-annual trip to Chicago.  We actually go more often than every other year but those other trips are usually for my day job.  This particular trip was all for fun.  Our friend Otis hosts a blow out wine party and that would be the main event on Saturday night.

We arrived in town to great weather.  There were a few thunderstorms on Thursday but other wise it was perfect.  Below is the view from our hotel room along the Chicago River.

chicago river

We arrived Wednesday afternoon in time to check in to the hotel and walk into the River North area to try out a place new to us called Havana that Stefania spotted on the way in.  We had a light dinner and a few cocktails including a really good Pisco Sour.

Thursday was our one ‘working day’.  We had a long lunch at the Frontera Grill while we waited out the thunderstorms.  We then went to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy wine glasses and then Fox and Abel for cheese and salami for that evening.  We hosted a get together of about 15 local Chicago friends and customers to taste 15 of our wines.  I brought older vintages and the 2011 Mourvedre and 2011 Santa Clara Valley Cabernet Sauvignon which we’ll release in a few weeks.

We were scheduled to run from 6 -8 PM but actually went from 5:45 to 11:30 PM!

the line up


Friday was all about beer.  We started the day at Binny’s buying a few things we can’t find in California.  The Goose Island brewery is right next door to Binny’s so we had another long lunch there.  We met up with a friend who also happened to be there for lunch and he took us to another small beer focused bar called The Map Room.


goose heads


Saturday we walked down State Street from our hotel and ended up at Hugo’s Frog Bar.  A friend in California had highly recommended it and our bartender Chris happened to be from New Orleans.  We had a great time and I worked my way through the Bourbon cocktails starting with a Manhattan.



Next up was an Old Fashioned.  We had a big long lunch with frogs legs, a wedge salad and gumbo soup.  Stef got the prime rib sandwich and I had a rib eye.  We ordered a 2001 Cos d Estournel to go with lunch.  It would be our only meal of the day so we went all out.
old fashioned

Saturday night we took a small bus up to Northbrook and enjoyed dozens of great wines on a beautiful Chicago night.  We had to hurry home on Sunday for work instead of staying to Monday like we’d usually do but had a nice lunch at Purple Pig and flew out Sunday evening.