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Take a Wine-Country Trip … to Wisconsin!
That's right. Wisconsin Wine and Beer Tours offers guided tours in the Dairy State

Photo by Thomas Nardini

Wisconsin Wine and Beer Tours
– which debuted only last year – is yet another reason to look forward to spring. Owner Heather Harrison (a veteran of the show “Wisconsin Foodie”) guides you to Dairy State wineries on a highly customized tour that’s perfect for small groups between six and 15 people whether it’s a bachelorette party or a business function, or simply good friends who like to drink good wine together. Departing from Milwaukee, tours last between five and six hours and stop at three wineries where you taste (and chat) with the winemaker. The $75 cost, if you ask me, is a bargain as it includes transportation and tasting fees, along with the inside knowledge that only a winemaker can dish out. To book your dates, dial up Heather at 847-525-0003.

Have you joined Otto’s Wine & Spirits’ email list yet? Here’s an example of what you might be missing. This week the deals are for a red and a white wine. Both received high scores from wine critics. The 2007 Vina Eguia Rioja Reserva (Spain) – which earned 92 points from Wine Enthusiast – is $12.50 a bottle (normally $18.99) and the 2012 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand) – snagging 91 points from Wine & Spirits – is $14.50 a bottle (normally $17.99). Otto’s has seven stores in the Milwaukee area.

Books and booze come together in a wine tasting hosted by the Hales Corners Library Friends of the Library. On March 7 at 6:30 p.m. (lasting until 9 p.m.) bibliophiles and wine lovers flock to the library at 5885 S. 116th St., Hales Corners, for a two-floor tasting of 50-some wines paired with eats from local restaurants that include That’s Amoré, Mia Famiglia, Le Bistro Shanghai and The Bosch Tavern. Tickets bought in advance cost $30 ($35 at the door) or you can splurge for the $100 option (includes two tickets, table sponsorship and entrance a half hour before the event begins. Beer Barons of Milwaukee will be serving homebrew beers and there are coffee and chocolate desserts, too.

Say you’re uncorking a bottle of wine after 18 holes of golf. You choose Greg Norman or Nick Faldo wine labels. If you’re a music fan, why not sip a bottle from Dave Matthews’ (of Dave Matthews Band) Blenheim Vineyards (Virginia)? You get the idea. Today there are so many pro athletes and entertainers getting into the wine biz. So while tuning into the Oscars last Sunday night, naturally I turned to the 2011 Francis Ford Coppola Winery Sofia Rosé (Monterey County, California, $19), named for the famed film director’s daughter Sofia Coppola. (She directed Lost in Translation, Somewhere, The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette.) The blend of 80 percent Syrah and 20 percent Grenache results in a salmon-hued, dry-style Rosé with ripe notes of cherries, strawberries and loose tea leaves. (www.franciscoppolawinery.com)

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