There’s a swanky new hotel in town located at the Chicago Athletic Association Building and Annex at 12 S. Michigan and 71 E. Madison. The club’s Venetian-Gothic inspired building faces Michigan Avenue. and was designed by Henry Ives Cobb (completed in 1893). The Madison Avenue bulding was designed by  Schmidt, Garden & Martin and was completed in 1907 and doubled in size by 1926. The Chicago Athletic Association Building is within Chicago’s  “Historic Michigan Boulevard Landmark District.” I recently took an architecture tour and was amazed!

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There was a plan to demolition significant portions of the structure but keep the gorgeous facade when the elite private club closed in 2007. There has been a recent trend along the Michigan-Wabash corridor of constructing large-scale towers behind the façades of historic structures. Examples include: the Heritage Millennium, the Legacy at Millennium Park (within the Jewelers Row District), and the 80-story tower proposed as part of the YWCA building redevelopment at 830 S. Michigan Avenue.

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This magnificent Michigan Avenue historic landmark and annex was saved from the wrecking ball in 2012 by a partnertship between AJ Capital, Geolo Capital and Commune Hotels  + Resorts. Let’s thank the Pritzkers for this magnificent restoration of the Venetian Gothic tower designed by Henry Ives Cobb. The building has been lovingly restored to it’s 1893  grandeur. When you look at it from Michigan Avenue, it definitely resembles the Doge Palace in Venice.

 

Venetian Gothic 250 foot tower designed by Henry Ives Cobb

Venetian Gothic 250 foot tower designed by Henry Ives Cobb

In Chicago, Henri Ives Cobb and his partner Charles S. Frost designed many buildings:

1. Potter Palmer‘s mansion on Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago Federal Building that have been demolished

2. The Chicago Varnish Company Building—listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a Chicago Landmark

3.  The Episcopal Church of the Atonement at 5749 North Kenmore Avenue—also on the National Register of Historic Places

4. The Newberry Library

The meticulous 2 year restoration saved the elaborate millwork, stained glass windows and magnificent mosaic tiles. Chicago Athletic Club 025Chicago Athletic Club 023Chicago Athletic Club 026Chicago Athletic Club 024

In 2008, the National Trust for Historic Preservation cited this 11 story buiding as “one of the nation’s 11 most endangered places.” Architectural and structural updates were completed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and the interior design was completed by Roman and Williams from New York and the resulting 241 room hotel is jaw-dropping! There are five places to dine in the hotel incluging Shake Shack on the main floor.

The Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase

Climb the grand staircase on the first floor and you can see “The Tank” which was originally 40 meters long. The pool became competitively obsolete when Olympic regulations changed to 50 meters.

The Tank is where the former swimming pool was located. It was covered during the 2012 restoration.

The Tank is where the former swimming pool was located. It was covered during the 2012 restoration.

I love 2nd floor lobby with magnificent millwork and carved fireplaces. The largest fireplace is crowned with bas-relief football players.

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The gorgeous Fireplace in the lobby is surmounted by bas-relief football players.

The gorgeous Fireplace in the lobby is surmounted by bas-relief football players.

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To restore the 1890’s German Millwork, it was removed and meticulously catalogued. New electrical wiring was installed and the antique fixtures shine brilliantly in the 2nd floor “Drawing Room.”

Book your room at www.ChicagoAthleticHotel.com

The 2 year restoration project involved building a rooftop restaurant and bar on this magnificent Chicago landmark. Make reservations for www.Cindysrooftop.com for the best Vino Con Vista in Chicago! Cindy’s includes a private dining room, where you can view the Andy Warhol portrait of her.  Cindy’s name is actually Marian; rumor has it that when she was young, her nickname was “Cinderella.”  When John Pritzker opened the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, he wanted to honor his mother by using her first name — Cindy.

Cindy Pritzker by Andy Warhol

Cindy Pritzker by Andy Warhol

The www.ChicagoAthleticHotel.com has an incredible rooftop restaurant and bar. It’s hard to find a better view from any other outdoor public rooftop in Chicago. It is my absolute favorite Vino con Vista Destination in Chicago! There are amazing panoramic views of Millenium Park, Maggie Daley Park and Lake Michigan from the top of the newly renovated 250 foot Venetian Gothic Tower on Michigan Avenue. Make reservations in advance for Cindy’s rooftop. It is difficult to get into the crown jewel of the hotel that John Pritzker named after his 92 year old mother.

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At Cindy’s, “Executive Chef Christian Ragano, creator of Glencoe’s much loved Guildhall, and former Chef de Cuisine at NoMi, joins forces with renowned Spirit Guide and alumni of The Violet Hour, Nandini Khaund” to enhance the avant-garde culinary adventure.

Cindy's Rooftop

Cindy’s Rooftop

After our architectural tour, we had a delightful lunch. We ordered the Tuna Crudo served over pickled cabbage as an appetizer, the spicy lobster roll with lemon-tobasco remoulade with some lemon meringue pie with white chocolate sorbet for dessert. Follow this link to make reservations at www.CindysRooftop.com. Try to book a table outside by the firepit if you can.

Outdoor seating on Cindy's Rooftop

Outdoor seating on Cindy’s Rooftop

 

Firepit on Cindy's Rooftop

Firepit on Cindy’s Rooftop

For more Vino con Vista Adventures check out www.vinoconvistablog.me

 

 

 

 


Filed under: Italy Travel Guides Tagged: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Chicago Hotels, Chicago Restaurants with a view, Rooftops in Chicago

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Lodi Arch welcomes visitors to the charming downtown shopping area

Lodi Arch welcomes visitors to the charming downtown shopping area

If you follow my posts, you know that I adore wine tourism. I love to seek out idyllic destinations around the world where you can enjoy a Vino con Vista; a beautiful place to enjoy wine in the place where it is actually grown. Places like Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy; and the Napa Valley, the Santa Ynez Valley and Sonoma County in California offer perfect Vino con Vista opportunities. Let’s face it, grapes and vineyards seem to thrive in the most glorious destinations in the world! I guess we can thank the Greeks and the Romans for the fascinating aspects of modern day wine tourism in the sun-drenched vineyards of Lodi.

Wine Map of Italy

Wine Map of Italy

“Celebrate the Harvest” A Tribute to wine growing in downtown Lodi by Rowland Cheney

Wine grapes

Wine grapes

Old Zinfandel Vines in Lodi

Old Zinfandel Vines in Lodi

I recently discovered an enchanting wine destination along the Mokelumne River in Northern California with over 80 wineries and plenty of tasting rooms. I had a opportunity to get up close and personal with the region’s grapes and many of the multi-generational growers in Lodi at the 9th annual Wine Bloggers Conference. Lodi California 604

WIne Bloggers Conference on Hutchinson Street at Robert Mondavi's former high schoool

Wine Bloggers Conference on Hutchinson Street at Robert Mondavi’s former high schoool

Lodi Wine

Lodi Wine

Located in San Joaquin County between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the region is a wine-lovers paradise! The region’s innovative and passionate producers are generating exceptional food and wine experiences that should catapult Lodi into the wine tourism strastophere! I am so confident about Lodi’s future that I may even buy a place in downtown Lodi. I loved the charming, well-maintained historic California Craftsman bungalows.

It’s relatively close to the UCDavis legendary Department of Viticulture and Enology. Now that I have retired from 30 years as a business professor, maybe I’ll pursue a new degree. I would love to better understand the scientific study of grape-growing and winemaking.

 

Cute houses in downtown Lodi

Cute houses in downtown Lodi

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LODI FACTS:

Lodi AVAs

“The Lodi AVA is located in the northern Central Valley of California, at the northern edge of the San Joaquin Valley east of the San Francisco Bay.

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LODI
Type American Viticultural Area
Year established 1986, amended in 2002
Country USA
Sub-regions Alta Mesa AVA, Borden Ranch AVA, Clements Hills AVA, Cosumnes River AVA, Jahant AVA, Mokelumne River AVA, Sloughhouse AVA
Climate region Mediterranean
Total area 551,000 acres
Size of planted vineyards 90,000 acres

Robert Mondavi was one of the most influential wine gurus in the industry and he grew up in Lodi. In 2001 Robert Mondavi donated $25 million to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UCDavis for the establishment of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, which opened October 2008.

His former high school in Lodi has been converted into a spectacular conference venue.  Woodbridge is the home of his well known winery. We can probably thank the Mondavi and Gallo families for the success of the wine industry growth in the region. Lodi producers filled the pipeline for powerhouses like Mondavi and Gallo. The growth of the tasting rooms in Downtown Lodi are a perfect example of the profitability of Mondavi’s vertically integrated wineries.

Tasting Wine in Downtown Lodi

Tasting Wine in Downtown Lodi

Many winemakers are following in Mondavi’s footsteps in Lodi. Harney Lane Winery poured their amazing wines at my table at the Blogger Award Event. The product of a 5th generation farming Mettler family offers interesting excursions at Oak Farm Vineyards. Most of their amazing inventory sells out in the Tasting Room.

BBQ at the Blogger Awards Dinner paired perfectly with the Harney Lane Wines

BBQ at the Blogger Awards Dinner paired perfectly with the Harney Lane Wines

Dinner at Estate Crush

Dinner at Estate Crush

At Estate Crush, we made our own Zinfandel blend and then they produced enough bottles for all of the bloggers to take home.

We had a lovely dinner at Estate Crush surrounded by old ZInfandel heritage vines that are used for the "Native" Project

We had a lovely dinner at Estate Crush surrounded by old ZInfandel heritage vines that are used for the “Native” Project

Macchia’s owner Tim Holdener and his bubbly wife Lani poured so many terrific wines that I joined his Wine Club and anxiously await my first shipment. The Barbera was incredible and I loved the dessert wine. The last time I joined a wine club was Moshin in the Russian River Valley and that was many years ago.

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Many of the 80 wineries are winning awards and producing award-winning wines. Located just 90 minutes from San Francisco and 60 minutes from Napa; Lodi produces more wine than Napa and Sonoma combined. Sipping and savoring handcrafted wine produced from multi-generational wine growers and passionate Lodi California winemakers is an excellent way to spend a pleasant vacation in Northern California.

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Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel

Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel

Historically, Lodi is best known as the full-bodied “Zinfandel Capital of the World” with many vines that are over 100 years old. It is the home of the famous Seven Deadly Zins. More recently, the “Lodi Native” project is releasing some incredibly luscious old vine Zinfandel wines.

The six premier Lodi Native Wines

The six premier Lodi Native Wines

Schmiedt Ranch 2013 Zinfandel

Schmiedt Ranch 2013 Zinfandel

Many Lodi wines are sold exclusively at the respective winery. From the vineyards to the Tasting Rooms, there are plenty of wine tourism opportunities in Lodi.

There are plenty of Vino con Vista opportunities in Lodi

There are plenty of Vino con Vista opportunities in Lodi

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Lodi is predominately a red winegrowing region (“approximately two-thirds of the acreage is dedicated to red varieties”). More recently, Lodi vintners are increasingly winning awards for their Rhone and Mediterranean style varietals. In addition to Zinfandel, Lodi is currently the nation’s leading producer of several popular varieties including: Chardonnay, Sauvingnon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has over 100 varieties in production.

Lodi offers a vast portfolio of diverse wines. Lodi’s 100,000 acres of deep loam in the AVAs and the desirable Mediterranean climate creates numerous microclimates that allow an incresingly larger variety of grapes and award-winning wines to thrive. The soil is similar to the French Region of Chateauneuf du Pape. Lodi winemakers are winning awards for their Rhone and Mediterranean varietals.

Here’s a list of varietals from the Lodi Wine Commission’s website:

Wine grapes from Lodi

Wine grapes from Lodi

Spanish Varieties:

Albariño, Verdejo, Graciano, Tempranillo, and Garnacha are just a few of the interesting Spanish varieties grown in Lodi soils.

Portuguese Varieties:

Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cão, Souzão, Verdelho, and Tricadeira are grownfinding a natural home in the The wines being produced from these vineyards are utterly delicious. Vibrant, intriguing and refreshing flavors make these varietal wines well worth seeking out.

German Varieties:

Kerner, Bacchus, Riesling, Dornfelder, Gewürztraminer, and Zweigelt some of the German varieties grown in Lodi.

Italian Varieties

Barbera, Aglianco, Sangiovese, Teroldego, and Vermentino made me feel like I was field-tasting in Italy.

Southern Rhone

Cinsault, Viognier, Syrah, Picpoul Blanc, Tannat and many others are grown in Lodi.

Made from Cinsaut grapes in Lodi

Made from Cinsaut grapes in Lodi

Lodi Arch welcomes visitors to the charming downtown shopping area

Lodi Arch welcomes visitors to the charming downtown shopping area

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Wine Map of France

Wine Map of France

To learn more about Lodi visit:

http://www.lodiwine.com/About-Lodi

http://www.lodiwine.com/Wineries

Book a room at the luxurious Wine and Rose Hotel and Spa on Turner Road www.winerose.com  and I’ll meet you at next year’s Zinfest.

http://www.zinfest.com/

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Pictures of Diverse Varietals from Around the World (Courtesy of the Lodi Wine Commission)

 

Spanish Varietals in Lodi

Portuguese Varietals Lodi

German Varietals Lodi

Italian Varietals Lodi

Rhone Style Varietals Lodi


Filed under: Italy Travel Guides Tagged: Italian wine, Lodi Wine, The Best Vino con Vista Wine Tourism Adventures in Italy's Major Wine Regions with Italian Wine Maps, Travel and Tourism, vino con vista, Vino con Vista Wine Trips, Wine, wine tasting, WIne Tourism, Wine Tourism in California, Zinfandel Wine
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Chicago’s Holiday Renegade Craft Fair 2015 at the Bridgeport Art Center

by www.vino-con-vista.com on November 12, 2015


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Chicago’s Holiday Renegade Craft Fair will return to the stunning Bridgeport Art Center on December 5+6, 2015! 

If you are interested in participating in any of the Holiday Fairs, visit their Apply page. 

WHEN: 11am-6pm.

WHERE: Bridgeport Art Center,  at 1200 W. 35th St.
You can find route directions to the Fair here.

Filed under: Italy Travel Guides Tagged: Renegade Holiday Art Fair 2015 in Chicago

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Celebrate Fall at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago

October 12, 2015

  Celebrate Fall Fest at the Zoo! “Enjoy harvest-themed family fun across the zoo—including a corn maze, Ferris wheel, giant fun slide, bounce house, pumpkin patch and strolling entertainers—at this new seasonal festival.” Fridays–Sundays, October 2–18 and Monday, October 12 … Continue reading

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Open House Chicago 2015

October 11, 2015

“The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago (OHC) is the city’s annual architecture festival. For one weekend in October you can explore Chicago’s most iconic and unique architectural treasures. From mansions to sacred spaces, theaters to private clubs, hotels to … Continue reading

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Boo at the Brookfield Zoo for Halloween near Chicago

October 11, 2015

  Location: Various ‘BOO! AT THE ZOO’ is a  series of Halloween events including: “not-so-scary Zoo Chats” on  bats, wolves and ravens, to a “haunted hayride,” costume parade and pumpkin-carving demonstrations. WHERE: Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield; $16.95 adults, … Continue reading

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Chicago Graceland Cemetery Tour for Halloween

October 11, 2015

Chicago History Museum’s Graceland Cemetery Tour The Chicago History Museum offers guided tours of historic Graceland Cemetery. Established in the 1860s, Graceland is the final resting place of prominent Chicago luminaries, including Louis Sullivan, George Pullman, Marshall Field and Mary Hastings Bradley. … Continue reading

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Sumptuous Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona Spain: Cathedral of the Sea

September 27, 2015

I love the Sumptuous Santa Maria dei Mar cathedral in Barcelona Spain; also known as Cathedral of the Sea in Catalonia. Catalonia was part of the great Aragonese maritime power and at one time it was one of the most … Continue reading

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Monaco’s is a Perfect Destination Wedding Location on the French Riviera

September 25, 2015

If you are looking for the perfect destination wedding spot, go to Monaco on the French Riviera. This is where the highly anticipated Royal Wedding took place. The fairy-tale principality of Monaco is where  Prince Albert II and his South … Continue reading

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Alghero’s Cathedral of Santa Maria in Italy

September 25, 2015

Alghero is a beautiful coastal city of medieval origin situated in the northwestern coral coast of Sardinia. This town is 300 miles off the coast of Spain near Barcelona. They speak Italian as well as Catalan. The recently refurbished cathedral … Continue reading

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