By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer Published Apr 04, 2016 at 11:01 AM Photography: Bobby Tanzilo

In 2013, Quintessential Wines rolled out their very first Passport Tour – a nation-wide wine experience featuring chef and winemaker dinners pairing the nation’s best restaurants with some of the world’s finest wines.

This year, for the very first time, Quintessential Wines has chosen Milwaukee as a host city for the tour, which also includes stops in Washington D.C., Atlanta and Denver.

The reason? Milwaukee has become one of the most attractive places in the Midwest to wine and dine.

"Often times when winemakers and winery owners come to the Midwest, they want to work in Chicago since it is the biggest market," says Megan de Zendegui of Quintessential Wines.

"However, I try to steer them towards Wisconsin. The growing restaurant scene and knowledgeable wine buyers and consumers are ‘mind-blowing’ to anyone that has not been to Milwaukee before. The quality of restaurants can rival any city its size, and many that are much larger. It’s always fun when people ‘discover’ all that Milwaukee has to offer in food and wine."

Dip into international wines

During the Milwaukee leg of the tour, which takes place on Wednesday, April 20, winemakers from nearly 30 international wineries will travel across the world to attend 13 wine dinners held at some of the best restaurants in Milwaukee and the surrounding area.

"Events of this magnitude don't happen often in a market like Milwaukee," says Dan Grenda, wine manager for Capitol-Husting Co. and coordinator for the Milwaukee leg of the tour. "Many of these winemakers have never been to Milwaukee, so these events will be a truly unique experience."

Each participating restaurant will offer a memorable multi-course dinner, which not only showcases expertly prepared cuisine, but also paired wines from Quintessential’s expansive international portfolio. In each case, a member of the winemaking family will be present to chat with attendees and talk about their wines.

Passport Tour dinners

Amilinda
315 E. Wisconsin Ave.
Featured wineries: Casa de vila Nova, Quinta do Vallado
Winemakers: Bernardo Lencastre, Joao Rochette Ribeiro
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $100 per person
Full menu
For more information, or to make reservations, call (414) 369-3653

Artisan 179
179 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee
Featured wineries: Vinicola Perini/Macaw, Vina Koyle, Matetic Vineyards
Winemakers: Pablo Perini, Alfonso Undurraga, Antonio Bunster
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $110 per person
Full menu
For more information, or to make reservations, call (414) 771-6680

Bacchus 
925 E. Wells St.
Featured wineries: La Mannella, Vino dei Fratelli Manzone, Ascevi
Winemakers: Tommaso Cortonesi, Franco Luisi, Gianpaolo Manzone
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $75 per person
Full menu
For more information, or to make reservations, call (414) 765-1166

Bavette La Boucherie
330 E. Menomonee St.
Featured wineries: Bodegas Muriel, Vina Eguia
Winemaker: Javier Murua
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $95 per person
For more information, or to make reservations, call (414) 273-3375

Eddie Martini’s
8612 W. Watertown Plank Rd., Wauwatosa
Featured winery: Georges Duboeuf
Winemaker: Romaine Teyteau
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $95 per person
For more information, or to make reservations, call (414) 771-6680

Goodkind
2457 S. Wentworth Ave.
Featured wineries: Attilio Ghisolfi, Luca Bosio, Bel Colle, Villa de Varda
Winemakers: Gianmarco Ghisolfi, Francesco Balocco, Luca Trivelatto, Michele Dolzan
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $100 per person
For more information, or to make reservations, call (414) 763-4706

Mason Street Grill
425 E. Mason St. 
Featured wineries: Henry’s Drive and Shirvington
Winemakers: Kim Longbottom, Mark Shirvington
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $79 per person
For more information, or to make reservations, call (414) 298-3131

Milwaukee Chophouse
633 N. 5th St.
Featured winery: Valentin Bianchi
Winemaker: Raul Bianchi
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $75 per person
For more information, or to make reservations, call (414) 226-2467

MOVIDA
524 S. 2nd St.
Featured wineries:  Garcia Figuero, Bodegas Farina
Winemakers: Felipe Martin Cabezon, Manu Farina Perez
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $75 per person
Full menu
For more information, or to make reservations, call (414) 224-5300

Parkside 23
2300 Pilgrim Square Dr., Brookfield
Featured winer: Ironstone
Winemaker: Joan Kautz
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $100 per person
Full menu
For more information, or to make reservations, call (262) 784-7275

Pastiche Bistro
3001 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Featured wineries: Gustave Lorentz, Ferry-Lacombe
Winemakers: Georges Lorentz, Alexandra Pinot
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $95 per person
For more information, or to make reservations, call (414) 482-1446

Sebastian’s
6025 Douglas Ave., Caledonia
Featured wineries: Eponymous, Two Angels
Winemakers: Bob Pepi, Steve Kreps, Jr.
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $100 per person
Full menu
For more information, or to make reservations, call

The Union House Restaurant
S42 W31320 Hwy. 83, Genesee Depot
Featured wineries: Kay Brothers, Paringa/3 Rings and Simonsig
Winemakers: Michael Wehrs, Alan Hickinbotham, Johan Malan
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $95
For more information, or to make reservations, call (262) 968-4281

Special industry tasting

The Passport Tour also includes a daytime event limited to industry personnel. The grand tasting will take place on April 20 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Milwaukee Athletic Club, 758 N. Broadway St.. For additional details, or to sign up for the tasting, contact your local Capitol-Hustings representative.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.