Spring's Grape Expectations

Join these spirited bars and restaurants as they host luscious wine events

Sure, any old glass of chardonnay or merlot will get you where you're going, but several bars and restaurants in Chicago would prefer to think of them as gateway drugs. There is a wide array of worldly wines out there just waiting to be explored. Get acquainted with some of them during these educational-yet-enticing events.

River North's wine bar extraordinaire BIN 36 hosts fun monthly events called "Wine Around Wednesdays" in the restaurant's private loft area to inform guests about vino in a relaxed atmosphere. From 6-8PM on Wednesday, April 22, BIN 36 will present a "brown bag" tasting, in which you'll get to guess the grapes and regions of the varietals being poured. You just might surprise yourself with your expertise, and you can even go head-to-head with BIN 36 employees to win prizes. Light appetizers will also be served. The tasting is $25 per person; click here to purchase tickets.

Learn the art of choosing the perfect warm weather wine at a "Spring Wine 101" class at Carnivale in River West from 6:30-8:30PM on Wednesday, April 22. Carnivale wine director Elizabeth Palmer will lead guests through a tasting of several seasonal wines, such as Gruner Veltliner, Vinho Verde, Pinot Noir and Valpolicella. The wines will be paired with light appetizers, including tuna tartare, roasted beets and kona kampachi ceviche. The cost is $25 per person; call Carnivale at 312-850-5005 to reserve your spot.

Taste wines from the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, California at an Iron Horse Vineyards dinner at Shaw's Crab House in River North at 6:30PM on Thursday, April 23. Shaw's chef Arnulfo Tellez will prepare a five-course feast featuring seasonal ingredients, which sommelier Steve Tindle will pair with a selection of Iron Horse wines, such as Blanc de Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Iron Horse CEO Joy Anne Sterling will be on hand to discuss the varietals served. The dinner is $89.99 per person; call Shaw's at 312-527-2722 to make your reservation.

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