Raise a Cup with the Windy City Wine Guy
If you thought Chicago’s only new media-savvy sommelier was Alpana Singh, think again. Michael Bottigliero, scribe of Windy City Wine Guy, is out to show Chicagoans that the viney beverage is nothing to be feared by the average Midwesterner.
Bottigliero is one-half of a local power blogging couple spear-headed by Emmy-winning social media strategist Blagica, who suggested he create a wine site based on his experience as a sommelier. (The two welcomed their first child, daughter Liljana Apollonia, in mid-December.)
A native South Sider and Desert Storm U.S. Navy vet, after his military service Bottigliero studied at UIC and pondered his future. “Along the way I fell in love with wine, food, and beverage while working in some of Chicago’s best bars and restaurants,” he says. The work inspired him to obtain sommelier certifications and adopt a new career in the wine industry.
The wine blog went live in June 2008. With Windy City Wine Guy, Bottigliero wants to help Chicagoans get over the stress of choosing and pairing his favorite beverage. “I hope to make the site a hub for anything to do with wine, beer and spirits in Chicago,” he says. “I also want to bring down the stuffy attitude attached to sommeliers and wine. It’s a guy-and-gal beverage, and I’m just a guy who’s certified to give recommendations!”
The site includes information about Chicago-area wineries, bars, and breweries, wine reviews, primers, and best-buy and pairing recommendations, and tastings and events listings. Interesting recent postings include:
- A multipart series on the opening of Metra’s downtown French Market;
- The opening of North Michigan Avenue’s Purple Pig;
- A report on 2009 Italian vintages;
- A ticket giveaway with Kersotes Theatres; and
- perhaps most useful of all, details on Bottigliero’s own wine cellar.
In addition, Bottigliero also has ongoing partnerships with major wineries including Terlato Wines International and Crushpad Wine, and recently helped Catbridge Cellars in northwest-suburban Antioch open and build an inventory of sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines.
“Chicagoans should know that our city is huge when it comes to wine,” says Bottigliero. “We have great wine bars and restaurants with award winning wine lists, and our chefs continue to be some of the biggest advocates of wine with dinner.”
So do I, for that matter.