Rogers Park Wine Business Seeks to Expand Customers’ Palates While Continuing to Adapt | Chicago News
If you’re looking to expand your palate, Picnic Wine and Provisions is an inviting place to start.
“I love wine because I explore it and the adventure of it with food,” owner Liz Ahearn says. “You don’t have to know all the words, it’s all you think about wine. Anyway, the memory it triggers is good and it’s so fun to explore that with people.
Ahearn opened his business at Rogers Park, 7301 N. Sheridan Road, seven months before the pandemic hit. Like many other traders, she had to get creative. Despite the challenges, she managed to grow her business.
“It was like a complete freeze and a redefinition of the business plan. I didn’t have an online store,” Ahearn said. “I had to change gears very quickly, but it also allowed me to stop for a minute and review what I was trying to do.”
Ahearn offers a variety of wines from around the world. Whether you crave a bold red or want to explore a crisp white, for Ahearn it’s all about introducing a new varietal to customers who come through.
Its story began in 2017 when a loved one tragically died in a motorcycle accident. It was then that she had the revelation that she wanted to do more outside of corporate America.
“I think the idea of the wine and picnic came from my travels and learning to love wine,” Ahearn said. “Also, exploring wine and food when I travel is what I enjoy the most. If you can’t get anywhere, you can get there with a bottle of wine.
Since Ahearn opened its doors, it has held book clubs, poetry nights, and weekly wine tastings that take place every Thursday. The events, she says, aim to bring people together while enjoying a glass of wine and cheese.
“People talk about learning wine and being afraid to learn wine or thinking it’s a scary technical thing to do, but it’s not. It’s about the journey,” Ahearn said.
If you ask wine consultant Jerry Galante, he’ll tell you that the easiest way to start drinking wine is to learn what you sip.
“If you enjoy it, then you’ll go, ‘Where is it from? What’s that grape?’” Galante said. “And then you’ll start to know what your profiles are.”
The warm and cozy ambience is what Ahearn hopes will continue to bring customers back. She says people can expect live music and picnics on the lawn in the summer.
“It’s amazing how many people have never been there and keep coming back,” Ahearn said.