By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Eric Schelkopf file photo – email@example.com
“We will be doing two different wines at each location to give participants a lot more options,” said Morgan Bainbridge, administrative assistant and events coordinator for the Downtown Wheaton Association.
The association’s Wine Walk debuted in 2016. Previously, it had partnered with the Wheaton Park District for a wine and cultural arts festival in Memorial Park.
In January, the association debuted its “Let’s Wine About Winter” Wine Walk in downtown Wheaton.
“It went very, very well,” Executive Director Paula Barrington said. “And the weather was really rather nice that day. People get cabin fever after the holiday season, and they’re ready to come out for something that’s fun and different.”
The upcoming Wheaton Wine Walk will feature 37 tasting locations, which is about 10 more locations than the Winter Wine Walk, Bainbridge said. The event will run from 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Tastings begin in the Naperville Running Co. parking lot at 102 W. Front St., where participants will check in and pick up their wine glass, swag bag and a walking map to all the tasting locations. Early check-in will start at 4:30 p.m.
Participants can start the walk at any location they prefer.
“They kind of take their own route,” Bainbridge said. “They get a map of all the tasting locations, and on the map it will tell them the address of each location and also what wines are available.”
A list of locations and available wines is posted on the Downtown Wheaton Association’s website, downtownwheaton.com.
Tickets are $35 per person in advance and $40 per person at the event. Additional tastings will be available for purchase at the event and cost $5 for three 1-ounce pours or $15 for 12 1-ounce pours. Participants must be 21, and they will need to present their picture ID at check-in to confirm their age.
Attendees will be able to try wines from all over the world.
“We’ve got wines from Argentina, we’ve got Portuguese wine, we’ve got American wine, we have wines from here in Illinois,” Bainbridge said. “It’s really a good mix.”
The event, which is rain or shine, has proved to be popular. Between 750 and 800 tickets were sold last summer, and organizers hope to sell 1,000 tickets this year.
“I think it’s a fun time to get together with friends, and you can go see the different businesses in downtown Wheaton, maybe some businesses that you haven’t been to or don’t even know about,” Bainbridge said. “And then you get to taste fun wines. It’s a big social event for participants.”
The Wheaton Wine Walk also will feature live entertainment.
“The musicians will be outside, so people as they sip and stroll and walk through town, they can hear the music,” Bainbridge said. “It adds to the ambience.”
Participants also have the option of purchasing a ticket for The Sipping Muse Paint & Sip event immediately following the Wine Walk. They will get a painting tutorial and create a souvenir. The cost for this event is $40 per person.