16 Best Deals & Events at Philly Wine Week

Where to splurge (or save) on tastings, competitions, dinners and more
March 20, 2015
by Danya Henninger

Philly Wine Week is back for a second year with more than twice the participants and a much-expanded calendar of events. Here’s a daily guide for taking advantage of the festival, with a choice to splurge or save for each of its eight days.

Sunday, March 22
Splurge: Ravines Wine Dinner at Fork
Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp’s Old City restaurant hosts Finger Lakes vintners Morten and Lisa Hallgren for a multicourse dinner paired with their wines. Food and drink runs $95 per person, and reservations are recommended (306 Market St.; 215-625-9425).
Save: Grape vs. Grain Fight Club at Johnny Brenda’s
At this Fishtown tavern, draft wines and draft beers will be matched up in flights with cheese and charcuterie plates. Decide whether “grain” or “grape” pairs the best and enter your ballot for a drawing to win prizes at the end of the week (1201 Frankford Ave.; 215-739-9684).

Monday, March 23
Splurge: Piedmont Wine Dinner Upstairs at Vetri
Only a few seats are left for this feast by Adam Leonti with wines from David Bowler. Another David, McDuff, the wine expert, will be on hand to discuss the pairings. Seats run $150 per person and reservations (here) are required (1312 Spruce St.; 215-732-3478).
Save: “Bar-Somm Smackdown” Cocktail Competition at Panorama
A handful of Philly’s best bartenders will throw down to see who can create the best wine-based cocktail at this Old City wine bar, and $18 gets you a taste of every entry and the right to cast your vote for the winner (14 N. Front St.; 215-922-7800).

Tuesday, March 24
Splurge: Jamie Bissonnette Dinner at Osteria
The acclaimed chef of Boston’s Toro and Coppa lands at Jeff Michaud’s North Broad dining room for a meal paired with wines from the portfolio of Diego de Corte of Conexport Imports. The $75 price includes a copy of Bissonette’s new cookbook. Reservations are required (640 N. Broad St.; 215-763-0920).
Save: Basque Wine and Cider Tasting at Tinto
Beverage director Justin Holden and Seith Biederman of The Wine Merchant will lead a happy-hour tasting at the Jose Garces tapas spot in Rittenhouse. For $30, you’ll sample a variety of Basque favorites (think sidras, txakolis and digestifs), plus a selection of pintxos to eat (114 S. 20th St.; 215-665-9150). 

Wednesday, March 25
Splurge: Wine vs. Beer Cage Match at Alla Spina
Beer bar rajah Brendan Hartranft (Memphis Taproom, Strangelove’s, Local 44) and wine distributor Jason Malumed will battle to provide the best pairings for each of four courses at the Vetri birreria. Seats are $65 per person and reservations are required (1410 Mt. Vernon St.; 215-600-0017).
Save: “Peril & Pleasure” Wine and Cheese Pairing at Jet Wine Bar
Join experts in the private room at this South Street wine haven to find out why some cheese and wine matchups are fantastic, but others are not. The hour-and-a-half session runs $20 per person, including food and drink (1525 South St.; 215-735-1116).

Thursday, March 26
Splurge: Dinner and Salon du Vin at Townsend
Writer and natural wine advocate Alice Feiring will hold court at this East Passyunk bistro for an evening of dining, drinking and conversation. Also participating will be house sommelier Lauren Harris, sommelier Mariel Wega and wine importer Megan Storm. Seats are $135 per person and reservations are required (1623 E. Passyunk Ave.; 267-639-3203).
Save: Cioppino and Gaglioppo Pairing at Barbuzzo
Swing through this Turney-Safran Mediterranean spot in Midtown Village for a pairing of San Francisco’s signature seafood stew with chilled glasses of a Calabrian red. The duo will go for $25 (110 S. 13th St.; 546-9300).

Friday, March 27
Splurge: Murder Mystery Wine Dinner at London Grill and Paris Wine Bar
Local and imported draft wines will pair with three courses at these sister bars in Fairmount, while a murder mystery plays out around you. Seats are $70 in advance or $80 at the door (2303 Fairmount Ave.; 215-978-4545).
Save: “Wine at 9” Dessert Pairings at Paradiso
Starting at 9 PM, visit Lynn Rinaldi’s East Passyunk Italian for a special dessert deal: $15 includes a glass of port paired with a chocolate dessert and a glass of sherry paired with a cheese from the cheese cart (1627 E. Passyunk Ave.; 215-271-2066).

Saturday, March 28
Splurge: The Art of Blending at Vintage
Learn how to make your own meritage blend with reps from Lyeth Estates Wines. The $45 price includes two hours of wine and snacks with the lesson, and there will be prizes for the best blends at the end of the session (129 S. 13th St.; 215-922-3095).
Save: Tribute to the Music of Serge Gainsbourg at Bardot
Slide into the sultry Northern Liberties lounge to listen to tunes from this French musician on vinyl as wine rep Jason Malumed pours from special magnum bottles and discusses the featured wine of the night, Bernard Vallette Quatre Saison 2011 (447 Poplar St.; 267-639-4762).

Sunday, March 29
Splurge: Tapas and Wine Tasting at Jamonera
Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s Midtown Village Spanish spot will serve a family-style tapas dinner offering 10 plates in three waves broken up by region — Galicia, Catalonia and Andalusia. The $40 meal is available throughout the evening, and reservations are recommended (105 S. 13th St.; 215-922-6061).
Save: Sunday School at Tria Cafe
Hit up either the Rittenhouse or Wash West locations to take advantage of selected wine, beer and cheese for half price. The featured wine is a cult favorite Spanish white — 2005 Lopez de Heredia Rioja Blanco Gravonia (123 S. 18th St.; 215-972-7075 and 1137 Spruce St.; 215-629-9200).

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