Wine on a Speed Boat: No Swirling Necessary

Chicago always has been my kind of town when it comes to wine, with last year’s opening of City Winery and this year’s debut of the Boarding House adding to the vinous vibe.

City Winery emulates its New York City big brother by hosting an eclectic array of concerts and making wine on site—some from shipped-in, just-picked grapes, and some from already fermented juice that’s blended into tasty house wines served “on tap.”

The Boarding House is sommelier Alpana Singh’s restaurant, where the former host of the local “Check, Please!” restaurant review program shines a bright spotlight on wine. At most restaurants, wines are brought in to complement dishes on the menu. At the Boarding House, Singh has been known to ask the chef to adjust recipes to make dishes more compatible with selected wines.

This summer, yet another new wine experience has been added to the Windy City “to do” list: wine tasting on a speed boat.

Yes, you read that correctly. But it’s not what you’re probably envisioning.

Seadog is Chicago’s leading speed boat company, and it has introduced the “Wine Flight River Cruise.” That’s “flight” as in a series of wines—not what the boat does as it bounces off the sometimes choppy waters of Lake Michigan.

In fact, this particular cruise doesn’t even venture out into the lake; it’s restricted to the much calmer waters of the Chicago River.

Along the 75-minute route, the boat makes four stops for wine tastings, led by Chris Pawlisz, a.k.a. the “Seadog Sommelier.” While the tastings are educational, there’s plenty of fun as well, as information on Chicago’s colorful history and acclaimed architecture is presented with a touch of humor.

The Wine Flight River Cruises are priced from $33.95 to $38.65 plus tax and fees (Chicago being the “fee capital” of the United States), and reservations must be made in advance.

Remaining dates on the 2013 cruise schedule are July 18 and August 15, both departing at 8:15 p.m.

Posted in Wine Buzz
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