Diana Kuyper: Wine lovers line up early in Antioch
By DIANA KUYPER August 11, 2011 9:08PM
Columnist Diana Kuyper
Updated: October 3, 2011 12:03PM
Antioch’s wine walk has turned into a local phenomenon.
When tickets go on sale Wednesday for the Sept. 24 event, there will be a line of wine aficionados waiting outside the Parks and Recreation Building at 806 Holbek Drive.
Why the waiting line? Tickets will sell out within hours, said event organizer Shawn Roby. “I expect a sell-out in a matter of a few hours.”
After organizing a half-dozen walks since the first event in January 2010, Roby might expect participation would have leveled off by now. But no, the demand and price keep on growing.
“For this event we are offering 400 tickets and we’ve raised the price to $40 after starting out at the first event offering 150 tickets at $20. It’s all based on demand. We’ve expanded the number of locations and wines to the max.”
Could the event finally reach its price and participation threshold? “I don’t know,” Roby admits, who never dreamed the event could be so popular when he proposed the first wine walk in the middle of January 2010.
Participants get a wine glass, wine menu and choose a bottle of wine to take home from the list of 40 wines they will taste during the walk. There are 21 locations, all within walking distance of each other in downtown Antioch, where wine will be served from 1 to 5 p.m.
The previous walks have been held in summer, winter and fall and the participation just keeps on growing no matter what the weather.
“I think the popularity is due to how unique this event is compared to other wine walks,” said Roby. “We deliberately set it up to create a social event with participants walking in a group to visit each tasting location. It’s an afternoon of socializing and the opportunity to try many varieties of wine along with food and to shop along the way.”
Each wine tasting locale offers appetizers and finger foods with the wines, and the variety of settings is unique to Antioch. “We have restaurants and coffee shops, but we also have specialty and retail shops where wine will be served.”
And there are always the after-parties at local restaurants where wine walk participants can ease into a relaxed dinner and perhaps more drinks afterward.
“It’s an event for grownups,” said Roby.
So, if you want tickets, show up at the office before 9 a.m. or if you can’t make it then preregister with a user name and password on-line at www.antioch.il.gov and be ready to follow through with your purchase Wednesday morning.
“No preference will be given to in-person or on-line ticket purchases,” said Roby. “It’s strictly first come, first served with up to four tickets issued per purchaser.
“Be forewarned,” he cautioned. “When tickets went on sale in June for our last event we had 70 people waiting outside the building when we opened the doors at 9 a.m.”
Diana Kuyper’s column appears Fridays. You can e-mail her at email@example.com.