Philly gets tons of local and national praise as being a top-notch beer town. But wine? Completely overlooked.
Kate Moroney, general manager and wine director at Vintage Wine Bar (129 S. 13th St.), and Bill Eccleston, general manager and wine director at Ristorante Panorama(Front and Market streets), decided it was time to change that. This Sunday kicks off their vino brainchild: the first-ever Philly Wine Week. More than 20 restaurants are slated to participate by hosting various wine-related events, tastings and menus.
While there will be educational aspects to Philly Wine Week, the mood will remain light. “People feel like you need special access [to wine],” explains Eccleston. “We’re trying to bring wine to the people with a lot of different opportunities and price points. It’ll be fun and informal.”
Jet Wine Bar (1525 South St.) will pair wine with soft pretzels and regional cheeses during lunch. Owner Jill Weber says Wine Week is similar to Beer Week. “This week is about getting people to understand why wine can be fun,” she says. “Wine can be cheap, it can be expensive, and it can be fun. Everything that food and beer is, wine is.”
Over at Zavino (112 S. 13th St.) you’ll find a weeklong rendition of the restaurant’s Premium Pour Program. “We’ve been doing the program for a couple of years,” says general manager Jason Brooke. “This is when we open bottles that are a couple hundred dollars and offer [them] by the glass. We’re looking for some fun, cool wines that we haven’t seen for a while.” Pours come in 1-, 3- and 6-ounce options.
“I’ve had this idea in my head for a while,” Moroney of Vintage says. “I love beer and cocktails, but my first love is wine.” She notes that when she first mentioned this idea to Eccleston, it seemed far-fetched. “He said, ‘I think you’re crazy but I think it’s an awesome idea.’” And yet, here we are. To kick things off on Sunday, Panorama is hosting Bubbles and Barrels, Philly Wine Week’s opening event.
We asked the experts what they’re drinking this spring:
Bill Eccleston: I always love sparkling themes – as you can tell by Bubbles and Barrels as the opening party. It’s a great time for anything lively, cool and bright. And it’s time to drink rosé again.
Jill Weber: Everyone’s been drinking heavy reds all winter, so it’s fun to do white again. Any of those wines that are clean and crisp and clean are great. And obviously rosé for this time of year.
Erin Miller (manager at the new Zavino in University City): I love anything light and zippy right now. White blends from northern Italy are great. And rosé season is upon us, which I’m always excited about.
Kate Moroney: Rosés are just the definition of spring. I’m sure everyone’s saying that, but it’s not by chance. All the rosés from the current vintage are being released and everyone is doing their preordering.