Wine Lovers Flock to Technology For New Discoveries

I love technology and I love to go out and have a great time with my friends and family. When these two things blend, it makes life even better!

I shared with you earlier about my experience at City Winery and today I want to talk about how wine has impacted the tech sector and vice versa.

Those of us who love wine are always exploring what new blends have made it into the marketplace. Many of us even belong to a wine of the month club. Hey, who doesn’t love wine delivered to their front door.

Even this wine lover’s staple has joined the tech world. ClubW just received $3.1 million dollars in venture capital money to bring personalization to their subscribers.  Members fill out taste quizzes and provide reviews and feedback on each shipment, resulting in a personalized profile. As time goes on, a machine algorithm will continue to tailor selectors to a subscriber’s palate. Pretty cool!

Sometimes, I wish I had a sommelier with me when I’m out shopping for dinner party parings and for BYO adventures. Luckily, there are a ton of apps in the marketplace that can be quickly downloaded to save the day. The Daily Grape is a pretty awesome app for Apple Products. Gary Vaynercuk post educational post every day. He’s a pretty cool dude. Pair It is another neat piece of technology. The developers of this app partnered with chef and wine expert Bruce Riezenman to provide you with 20,000 food and wine matches.

Technology is even helping us find local wine events in our area and the area that we are traveling in. Another cool app – aptly named Wine Events – lets you search for local wine events within its simple interface. Take it with you everywhere!

Sometimes you just need to stay local. We’re lucky that in Chicago, we have a great set of wine bars and a great magazine to provide us with recommendations. Chicago Magazine recently named Ada St., Bar Pastoral, The Bluebird, RM Champagne Salon, Telegraph and Vera their top six wine bars in Chicago. Time to check those off the list!

Tell me, how do you discover new wines? Do you use technology or get referrals from friends? Tweet me: @RyanKDean.

The views and options posted on this blog are my own and are not representative of the views of any party or organization I am affiliated with.


Sunday Funday – Dean Style

Kiddieos with in-laws, then a day on the town with my beautiful bride and friends, we found ourselves having a nice cup of Joe at the Palmerhouse prepping to wake-up from a long night of babysitting Zsa Zsa von Hinsdale (my mother’s shitzu) and a cranky kid.  We had Book of Mormon on our mind …

Book of Mormon is playing at the Bank of America Theater.  Absolutely hysterical, though extremely crass, offensive, and controversial; I really enjoyed the writers/creators take on this religion. “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone collaborated on the book, score and lyrics with “Avenue Q” co-writer Robert Lopez.

I do not want to ruin this for anyone by telling the story line or explaining what I thought were the funniest part, because it ALL was!  If you feel like it, Tweet me your side crunching one-liner and we can dialogue.

If not, go see it and be ready to be slapped across the face; it will offend you at some point, maybe the whole time, but will also make your face hurt from laughter.  Aside from the hysterics, all of the performers were absolutely amazing artists.  We are really lucky to have such a Broadway presence here in Chicago. The talent is phenomenal!

Then we were off to Sunda, Rockit Ranch’s Chic-Asian venture. For those who have not been, get there. For those who have, let’s raise our glasses and give this place another standing “O” … amazing as always!!  We did a four-person round table of sushi, signature dishes, rolls, and capped the night off in a ‘Ridiculous’ manner.

Everything was awesome, but the highlight was watching the making of the Stuffed Avocado … how do they get the spicy tuna, shallots, and Japanese salsa in there?  You’ll have to check it … sushi-magicians!  Props to our server Christina, she was a blast.

If you are not familiar with how this came about, Billy Dec, Brad Young and Arturo Gomez positioned Chicago through feedback on “A Chicago Thing” post closing of Martini ranch.

All the while, the division playoffs were on and none of us cared.  Talk about cultured!!!

The views and options posted on this blog are my own and are not representative of the views of any party or organization I am affiliated with.

The Best of the Best of 2012

new year

There’s no better way to look back on 2012 then to review the year-end lists other organizations have compiled. I’ve always wanted them to be compiled in one spot, so I thought I would do this for you!

Before I dive into these lists, I want to share one of the coolest honors that happened this past year. Home is where the heart is and my town, Downers Grove, ranked as the eighth friendliest town according to Forbes. In my opinion, this is the best blog of the year.

That wasn’t the only cool thing that happened in 2012. Here are the best of the best of 2012:

The Top Ten Most Viral Videos: Kony takes number one on Mashable’s list. Not only did the video take this honor, but it was the most viral video in history.

The Best Books of 2012: No matter what genre you read or what age you are, NPR has a best books list for you all. I’m happy to say I’ve read many of them this year.

Chicago’s Best Restaurants: There is no better way to rate Chicago restaurants than with Michelin Stars. I’ve been to many of these establishments. Have you?

The Best Microbrews: Ask Men developed a great list of microbrews and their corresponding breweries. This list is enough to make your mouth water.

The Best Android and iPhone Game: Whether your pledge your phone allegiance to Android or Apple, there is a game for you on this list. Angry Birds Star Wars anyone?

The Best of Chicago in Photos: The Chicago Reader compiled some great photos that encompass the best of Chicago. These photos are simply gorgeous.

Interesting Facts About the U.S. Economy: This is a not-so-funny list of facts, but nonetheless a great list from The Economic Collapse.

For Everyone Else: Just in case there was a list I missed that piqued your interest, Google has a list of every topic you can imagine.

What will 2013 have in store for you? HAPPY NEW YEAR, make it awesome.

– “Opportunity knocks at the strangest times. It’s not the time that matters, But how you answer the door.” -Steve Gray

Around Town: Patriot Boxing & Fitness


It’s that time of the year again; time for us all to start thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions. For many of us, losing weight or getting into shape will be on the top of the list. With that said, today I’d like to spotlight Patriot Boxing & Fitness.

Patriot Boxing & Fitness opened their second location yesterday in Downers Grove, following the success of their facility in Elmhurst. My buddy and owner Nick “The Patriot” Janowitz started wrestling at age 11. He’s insane. He won 100 varsity matches in college, was a member of the ALL NAVY Wrestling team. He placed third in the Greco-Roman and fourth in Freestyle at the 2001 AAU Nationals. As if this wasn’t enough, Nick decided to turn professional as a Mixed Martial Arts Fighter. He’s undefeated.

I couldn’t wait to be on hand as Nick opened this beautiful facility. Believe it or not, the workout you get at his facilities is the best. I’m glad this facility is in my own backyard. I have to stay in shape to keep doing crazy things like Flyboarding! There is no better way to workout than boxing with one of Nick’s team. You burn about 1,200 calories per class!

If you are looking to change up your routine or are thinking ahead to that New Year’s Resolution, head to either of Nick’s locations. Check them out on Facebook and when you stop in, tell them I sent you.

You Don’t Need to Board a Plane to Fly

As you may have realized already, I love trying out new things. From driving the Autobahns to walking the red carpet, I’ve spent a lot of time broadening my horizons this past year.

A couple of weeks ago, while in San Diego, I went Flyboarding. For those of you who don’t know, Flyboarding was developed by Zapata Racing in the Spring of 2011. It was introduced at the jet ski World Championship in China and created a huge buzz around the world.

Well of course I had to try this sport! Thanks to Aaron, Paul, Hickey and all the West Virginia boys from Aquatic Aviation, I was able to ride this INSANE machine. It’s powered by a water jet from a jet ski, with two under your feet and two smaller ones attached to your wrists. You use your feet and legs as well as your arms to remain stable and maneuver.

I can’t fully explain the great time I had in words, so I wanted to share the video evidence of my experience. I cannot wait to do this again!

The Windy City’s Bourbon Scene

I’ve attended many events in the city and the suburbs this past year and Bourbon has been on the menu almost everywhere I’ve been. This is definitely a trend that I don’t mind getting on board with.

Let’s talk about what sets Bourbon apart from other types of whiskey. Most Bourbon comes from Bourbon County in Kentucky and is made from corn. Legally, it must be made in the United States and must follow certain regulations during its creation to be labeled as Bourbon. While many prefer to drink their bourbon neat or on the rocks, it’s also the star of the Manhattan, the Old Fashion and the Mint Julep.

But Bourbon is just not for Derby parties anymore. Chicago has one of the hottest Bourbon scenes. Here’s a rundown of some of the best places to get your Bourbon on in the city:

  • Delilah’s: This punk spot on Lincoln Avenue serves more than 125 whiskeys and specializes in Bourbon. From Jim Beam, Wild Turkey and Knob Creek to Kentucky Pride, Eagle Rare and Old Grand Dad, you’ll find something that’s just your style.
  • Club Lago: This River North Italian gem doesn’t have any beer on tap, but houses ten different Bourbons. Who need wine when you can have Bourbon!
  • Twisted Spoke: The Spoke has the largest whiskey selection in Chicago – totaling 318 bottles – and all of it is half-price on Wednesday. Don’t get scared off by the bikers; they are part of the experience.
  • Stanley’s: There’s nothing like southern hospitality and Stanley’s Kitchen brings it. The bartenders have been known to leave a bottle of Kessler American Bourbon at the end of the bar along with empty shot glasses. Free Bourbon for all!

Is Bourbon your drink of choice? Did I miss a good spot on this list? Hit me up on Twitter, @RyanKDean, and let me know where you like to go.

Looking Back at a Great Green Year

Over the past 12 months, I have had the opportunity to serve as the committee chair for the Associate Board for Partnerships/Volunteer for Chicago Gateway Green. Together with the rest of the team, we’ve raised a ton of money for a great cause.

Those of you who frequent my blog and have connected with me on social media have heard me talk a lot about the Green Tie Ball and all of the preview parties leading up to it. More than 500 of you joined us at the preview events and, thanks to you, we raised $8,344 from discounted tickets to the Green Tie Ball and $1,140 from raffles and cash donations.

I’m also proud of the great turnout we had at our tree plantings with the Chicago Bears and Oprah Winfrey.  Eighty of you attended these events and we raised $9,500! Another event that was a ton of fun was Gaming for Green. I enjoyed serving as a craps dealer and hanging out with the 275 attendees. We raised $35,700 from this stellar event! Other events included a Cubs rooftop event and Jerry Roper Day.

Of all of the events that made a difference this year, walking the carpet at the Green Tie Ball with my wife is something I will never forget. We mingled with the 2,875 attendees, who helped make the night successful. I was astonished when I saw we raised $450,000 for one of my favorite causes.

It was a pleasure working alongside CEO of Harry Caray’s and Chairman of the Board Grant Deporter, Executive Director Heather Korpella and Associate Board President Greg Pekarsky. This was a great year! I’m excited to see what the upcoming year holds!

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