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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Somm-o-logue – The Naperville Wine Fest is here


Wine fest
Photo courtesy of the Naperville Wine Fest

The Naperville Wine Festival is returning to CityGate Centre Friday and Saturday, August 23  and 24. The following tasting tips will help to make for an enjoyable experience.

Sommeliers taste wine to objectively assess wine for quality and faults. We are trained to put our personal tastes aside. Since this is a fun and leisurely tasting, I taste the wines I enjoy.

Observing several hundred wines in the program, I first walk the entire event, discovering all of the offerings, styles and wines represented. I decide which wines I’m excited about and taste these first.

Your tongue and mouth are muscles, and tasting many wines will make you mentally and physically exhausted. The reality is you’re not going to be able to taste all of the wines. Don’t rush, less is more. Quality always over quantity.

In a restaurant or trade tasting, I always taste white wines first, reds second and dessert wines last. Sommeliers are trained to speed taste.

The reality of a wine festival is the wines are spread across a vast area and this is not pragmatic to taste in the aforementioned order.

I always make sure I have a bottle of water with me to cleanse my palate between tastes and stay hydrated. This also comes in handy to rinse your tasting glass between wines.

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For up-to-the minute details on the Fest, visit www.napervillewinefestival.com.

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Utilize the spit buckets. You don’t want to alter your state of mind to effectively taste. I always carry a pen and note the wines that I enjoy in the program listings. Take lots of notes to remember what you tasted.

Start conversations with winemakers and/or winery representatives. I am always curious about the back stories of the wines. How are they made? How did the winery get started? How are the vineyards managed? What is the terrior or climate like? I always ask the winemaker how the wine should be served…they all have a different answer! I always like to get firsthand accounts and usually extract some great stories.

The Fest runs from 4 – 10PM Friday, August 23 and 2 – 8PM Saturday, August 24. Tickets at the gate are $35 and include a dozen tastes of wine and access to all the Fest’s activities.  Designated driver tickets are also available.  CityGate Centre is located on the campus of Calamos Investments, I88 and Rt. 59.

Happy Tasting!


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Timothy Penick
Timothy Penickhttp://www.sommologue.blogspot.com
Timothy Penick is a classically trained sommelier and writes about food,drink and wine from Naperville, Ill.

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