A Little Time and a Keyboard: VIN Chicago: Family Business Focusing on Hand Picked Wines {& a Giveaway 11/15/15}

VIN Chicago: Family Business Focusing on Hand Picked Wines {& a Giveaway 11/15/15}

Friday, October 30, 2015

**Disclosure: I did receive a gift card to experience Vin Chicago. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

One of the fabulous things about living in Chicago is that the entire area is a treasure trove full of unique and interesting finds to discover. This past week, I visited Vin Chicago for the first time and quickly learned that it is a wine store that truly stands out from the others. While my husband and I were excited to sip wines during Vin's weekly Saturday tasting, we were immediately captivated by the story behind Vin Chicago and developed an appreciation for their personalized approach to wine selection.

A Family Business:

To me, Vin Chicago is new. In truth, only the name Vin Chicago is new while the business has been a part of the Chicago landscape since 1934! The business has been family-run from the very beginning to today. I had the opportunity to speak to owner Peter Schwarzbach who is the third generation to own the business to learn a little more about Vin Chicago going back to its roots!

Vin Chicago began as a small liquor store back in 1934 not long after the end of Prohibition. From there, the business grew through various incarnations. Expansion included more liquor stores as well as the addition of bread and cheese stores. Peter's father, Bud, began working as a manager in 1958 after a stint in the Navy and is still very much part of Vin Chicago today!

Eventually, Bud's passion for wine began to flourish inspiring him to focus more on wine selection. In 1985, Wine Discount Center was born and began showcasing handpicked wines at fabulous prices. As Bud continued to focus on wine, the liquor stores were sold off. The ability to pursue your passion fosters a true understanding of your craft. So by focusing on wine, Bud fostered an environment where employees could really understand wine and share their knowledge onto the customer. This is so helpful for all of us that need a little more aid in choosing wine, creating pairings and more!

Wine Discount Center eventually grew into Vin Chicago. While the name may have changed, Vin Chicago still offers the same quality and range of wines at great prices.

Wine Selection:

I often find that family businesses are much more hands-on and add a personal touch missing from bigger businesses. When it comes to wine selection, Vin Chicago is definitely hands-on! Every wine in the store has been tasted by a tasting panel. The panel comes together for a tasting, to calibrate their palates and determine Vin's own scores for the wines. Vin looks for intriguing wines that tell a story. I love this aspect because you never know what you will find at Vin. Since each wine is unique, I feel like something more is added to the enjoyment of the wine when you know more about the wine and where it is from. Plus, stories are always good when hosting a dinner party featuring wine!

This wine selection process permits Vin to choose interesting wines in every price range. So, you will find both wines on the more expensive end of the spectrum all the way down to bottles that are priced under $10. Vin takes selection very seriously so you can have confidence in the quality of the wine at any price point. I love this process instead of just purchasing a wine merely because it comes from a particular vintner. Vin chooses wines it is confident in.

Vin Chicago in Barrington:

Vin Chicago currently has four locations--Chicago, Highland Park, Naperville and Barrington. Barrington is the nearest location to our home, so I opted to become more familiar with my wine-loving neighbors! From the minute I walked in, I absorbed a relaxed vibe that invites customers to explore, really take a peek at the wines and ask questions of the staff. Vin really wants to share this passion for wine with everyone by making their wine selections approachable and intriguing which I think truly comes through.

All locations have wine tastings on Saturdays from 12PM-4PM. Thirty wines are introduced each month. Ten are featured during each tasting. Each of the wines has its own unique story making the tasting an enjoyable way to learn about and taste the selections. Such a fun way to learn what you like and to broaden your horizons! Tastings also provide an opportunity to socialize with other wine-lovers!

The tasting at Vin Chicago Barrington was a lot of fun and I found it to be a delightful way to experience new wines. My husband and I used the opportunity to stretch our palates and try new wines. We normally favor red wine, so we surprised ourselves by picking up a wonderful Chardonnay from the tasting to bring home.

The staff at Vin Chicago Barrington is very friendly and eager to share their knowledge about wine. So if you are confused about wine or need some suggestions, do be afraid to ask! Afraid you are going to forget what they tell you about a wine you purchased? No worries, you can have tasting notes emailed to you. Vin can also help you if you are putting together a wine party and can even come to events. so give them a call if you have something in mind!

I do recommend signing up to receive email notifications from Vin. This is the best way to keep up to date with store events and learn what is being tasted each week. Plus, Vin does feature special wines each week. These special notes may help you hone in on a special wine that is new to you.


Curious about checking out Vin Chicago yourself? Well, we are giving away a $50 gift card to one lucky reader! Giveaway below is open to US residents 21-years-old and older. Giveaway ends November 15, 2015. Please enter below:
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  1. The Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling 2013 sounds delightful! And at under $10 it seems like a steal! Can't wait to try out Vin Chicago!

  2. How cool that they do tastings every Saturday. Love hearing the history of family businesses, too. :)

  3. Following on Google Friend Connect as purplepassion126

  4. So many interesting choices, but the Folkway "Revelator" Proprietary Red Blend 2012 caught my attention with its black cherry, blackberry and blueberry flavors combined with notes of vanilla and baking spices.

  5. Love finding out about new local wineries!

  6. I love their "New for November" wines! I'll be trying the "Kung Fu Girl" Columbia Valley Riesling 2014 - if only for the cool name ;)

  7. Columbia Crest "2 Vines" Riesling 2012

  8. Turley "Ueberroth Vineyard" Zinfandel 2013 looks so interesting!