BOYSTOWN — Technology is a wonderful thing — particularly when it helps you drink more wine.
Paired Wine, 3325 N. Halsted St., has some shiny new machines that do just that, offering customers 3-ounce samples and providing customized advice on which pairs best with their next meal.
Owner Joseph Giannini has been chasing down the high-tech Enomatic machines since September 2014, when he asked neighbors to support Paired Wine getting the licenses needed to offer more to drink on-premises than three 1-ounce tastings.
The four Enomatic machines let customers sample 16 bottles of wine in half-glass servings. Before throwing down $55 for a bottle of wine you might hate, try some for $7.50. The samples range from $3-$8 as Paired rotates its selection.
The wine in the dispenser stays fresh for weeks, hooked to an argon gas system that removes excess oxygen from the bottle.
"It's a way for you to do something you wouldn't normally do," Giannini said.
Customers can sample 3-ounce glasses of wine for between $3-$8 dispensed via a high-tech Enomatic machine at Paired Wine. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
At roughly $25,000 each, the wine dispensers were a big investment for the store, but one he said was worthwhile. After one month, Giannini said he's noticed an uptick in foot traffic, and "a lot of neighborhood people are coming now and hanging out. They're going to become our staples, our 'Where Everybody Knows Your Name' people."
Giannini said Paired Wine has the only wine dispensers in Lakeview and possibly the North Side.
"We needed something that was going to make us pop and stand out and not just be another wine shop that has bottles of wine," he told DNAinfo Chicago on Tuesday.
A food pairing system also helps customers determine which type of wine would go best with their dinners, whether home-cooked or at nearby BYOB restaurants in Boystown. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
The magical wine pourer stands just behind the shop's pairing system, which is also available online. Paired Wine developed the site about six months ago to provide tailored wine suggestions based on your upcoming meal. Having a braised beef dish? Try a Malbec or Amarone. Pizza? Well, if you're getting meat toppings, try a southern Italian red like a Primitivo.
Paired Wine also includes menus from 10 nearby BYOB restaurants, so diners who stop to pick out a bottle can get the right bottle to match their meal.
The food-pairing system lets users see which wines pair best with their meal, whether it's a specific cuisine or a BYOB restaurant nearby. [Screenshot/Winepairingtool.com]
Both are part of Paired Wine's efforts to become a place to spend an evening, rather than a corner store. Its pasta- and candle-making classes sell out regularly, Giannini said. Gianni instructs the pasta class, where groups of 10 learn how to make filled pasta, rolled pasta and Fettuccine from scratch.
Giannini said he eventually wants to offer "small bites" of food and open a sidewalk patio in the summer, but he wants to take things one step at a time.
"The machines are just another extension of the store," Giannini said. "It's another way we grow and get people to come here and enjoy this neighborhood."
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: