I like the career advice "Find your passion and then find a way to make money doing it." I didn't always do that (that's another story) but here is someone who it appears is ~ Michael Bottigliero, the Windy City Wine Guy. I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael at an event at Fleming's Steakhouse for Chicago3Media. But, sometimes, those interviews aren't long enough. I have more questions!
So, I noticed there is a National Wine Day (5/25) and a National Drink Wine Day (2/18) and a National Red Wine Day (10/15) but no National White Wine Day. We should declare the week of July 25th National White Wine Week! What do you think? I love the idea of National White Wine Week! They should also make a national sparkling wine day.
Ooh I like that too! Maybe that'll be next week. So, what white will you be drinking tonight? I'll be drinking a wine made by Terradora di Paolo from southern Italy - their Falanghina varietal. It has great tropical fruit flavor, a touch of minerality, a slightly spicy & floral nose. And it's only $15!
Do you remember your first sip of wine? May I ask how old you were? I believe I was 8 years old- it was during a Sunday Italian dinner with meatballs, mostaccioli, antipasti, the works! My father handed me a small cup of wine, so I tried it. It was OK, but I wanted my soda back!
Ha! It was an acquired taste. Now that you're a sommelier and the Windy City Wine Guy, I imagine you are constantly asked for wine recommendations or wine related questions at family functions and parties, even when you're off the clock. What's the one thing it seems most people want to know about wine? Most people want to know how to get the most bang for their buck- value. I can give a lot, but you can also find a bunch on my site, under the "best buys" tab.
Now you can also say "There's an app for that." How does the Wine Guy on Demand app work? Wine Guy on Demand app is amazing & simple: you are able to send questions or requests for specific wine recommendations to a real certified sommelier and get an answer back in 10-15 minutes! The queue shows if I'm on duty or not, and I'm only not while I sleep or for small periods of time. Try it and I guarantee you'll be trying some awesome new wines!
I will! I heard that part of sommelier training is to participate in a winery's harvest. Did you do that? Was it anything like that I Love Lucy episode? You don't have to do a harvest for sommelier certification, but I think that's a great idea! I've been to a lot of wineries, but have not done a harvest yet. Unfortunately for Lucy fans, there's not much foot crushing going on!
You're also a mixologist. I think the days of bachelorette parties with Chippendales and cheap drinks are gone. If a bridal party wanted to instead host a "how to mix the perfect cocktail" party at an apartment or restaurant, you can make that happen? I am a mixologist- bartended for 7 years. I work on a lot of bachelorette parties, but no one has wanted to venture into cocktails- they stick to wine. It's an adventure going into cocktails and I look forward to more of my events going that way.
You pretty much described me in the About section of your site - "there are those who would rather go the easy route, go with what they know, and never step out of the box and venture into the sensual world of pleasure that is wine." So, what would you recommend I do to step out of my pinot grigio comfort zone? I say start with the same grape- try Pinot Gris. It's a different style, more full and rich. Then get into rose wines- most people are unwilling to do the pink. It's fun, refreshing and a different type of fruity. Then you'll be ready to tackle light reds- have fun with it!
Ok, I'll try a Pinot Gris this week! I read about a bike and wine tour in California that looked really fun. Is there anything like that in the Midwest? The Midwest is ripe for wine tours. Try Shawnee Hills in southern Illinois, western Michigan, and Traverse City. Local grape is good.
And, lastly, of course, what are you grateful for today? I'm most grateful for my wife who gave me the most precious baby daughter. My wife keeps me passionate while my daughter lights up my life. Amazing family breeds a profound life.
And, to that, I say Salute!