STREETERVILLE — If you're ready to get out of hibernation after an especially brutal winter, here's an idea: Celebrate the start of "patio season" with a bunch of other people.
"Patio season is so special this year. People are just dying for [the patio] to open. All of us want it to be summer already," said Rob Potter, general manager of ENO, a wine tasting room and bar at 505 N. Michigan Ave.
Located on the northeast corner of Michigan and Illinois avenues inside the 1920s-era Intercontinental Hotel, ENO opened eight years ago and derives its name from the Greek word oenology, which means "the study of wine."
Vowing to "bring out heaters if we have to," Potter said ENO's patio plans to open Monday.
To celebrate the opening of the patio, Potter and wine director Kathleen Schmalz are inviting DNAinfo Chicago readers to a "Goodbye Hibernation, Hello Patio!" wine tasting party on Wednesday.
Tickets to the party are $20 and can be bought here.
Scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, the group outing will include a tasting of four wines (sparkling, white, rose and a red) as well as cheeses. There will also be bread and bruschetta from Red Hen and Highland bakeries.
Potter said the cheeses selected for wine pairings will be "a nice combination of harder and softer cheeses," running the gamut from cow to sheep to goat's milk.
DNAinfo Chicago reporter Lizzie Schiffman, who reports on the Downtown beat, will join readers at the gathering, as well as bring her enthusiasm for a favorite Landmark building.
"ENO's patio has a great view of the north side of the Tribune Tower, one of my favorite sights to show visitors because I find often that longtime residents don't even know about all the cool stuff embedded in the walls," Schiffman said.
So, for both history and wine buffs, Schiffman will moderate a trivia contest that combines wine and facts that could be gleamed from taking a stroll over to the Tribune Tower's wall, which incorporates pieces or "rocks" from other buildings and monuments.
While the "wine and wall" trivia contest will take place at 7:45 p.m., throughout the gathering Schmalz and Potter will be on hand to help guests learn more about what they are drinking and eating.
One of the wines that guests will taste on Wednesday is Muga Rose, a dry rose that has "a lot of berry tones, floral notes and minerality," Potter said.
ENO offers 35 wines by the glass, 350 wines by the bottle and 12 wine flights using a combination of sparkling, white, red and dessert wines.
"It is a wine bar for some, for others an education center. You get to learn a lot about yourself at a wine tasting and what you like. Maybe you will find a new favorite kind of wine," Potter said.
The "Goodbye, Hibernation, Hello, Patio!" party is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. May 7. The gathering requires a minimum of 20 people; full refunds will be issued if we do not meet the minimum number of guests. Gratuity not included; refunds will not be issued for no-shows.
ENO, 505 N. Michigan Ave. Hours are Monday-Thursday 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. (patio closes at 11 p.m.); Friday-Saturday 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. (patio closes at 11 p.m.); Sunday 1 to 10 p.m. Ph: 312-321-8738