Philly Wine Week, already in mid-swing, caters to wine enthusiasts and novices alike, offering an affordable and fun way to broaden their wine horizons.
If you only go to one restaurant during Philly Wine Week, we highly recommend Panorama at Penn’s View Hotel, 14 N. Front St. For starters, the menu is excellent and finely crafted to complement the extensive wine selection.
Panorama, with its tranquil Old City location, also boasts a custom-built 120-bottle wine keeper (which we are told is the largest wine preservation and dispensing system in the entire world). The restaurant’s sommelier, William Eccleston, is a cofounder of Philly Wine Week, which debuted in 2014.
“For someone who is a hardcore wine connoisseur, there’s going to be something [exciting],” he said. “There’s going to be really cool things that they aren’t going to be able to find in any other format in any other restaurant.”
Eccleston said what makes the week special is having affordable options to taste wines by the glass. Often these are vintages that only may be found in a private and deep wine cellar.
He explained that during the week, which runs through April 7, participating restaurants might open bottles that are 20 or 30 years old, that wine lovers may never get to taste otherwise.
“We have small pours that are presented as a very affordable option to taste. Or [it could be] very expensive bottles poured from a magnum or a 3-liter bottle. So exposure to something that you might not ever have, even if you are the most hardcore wine aficionado, is one touch point,” Eccleston said. “But the biggest thing is that this is designed to make wine accessible for everybody. The cool thing is we’re making it information-driven and affordable at the same time.”
Philly is an eclectic city known for many things, but wine probably isn’t in the top 10 things that come to mind when people think about what Philadelphia and the surrounding area does well. But Eccleston said Philadelphia is indeed a region to be reckoned with as far as its wine scene goes. Philly Wine Week shows off the city’s unique taste and charms.
“New York can be really intimidating,” he said about Philadelphia’s reputation in the wine community compared to other cities. “A lot of times the price tags in New York are really high. The cool thing about Philadelphia is we’re taking the intimidation out of it, especially for Philly Wine Week. A lot of places are dedicated to selling very good wines at very good price points, and making it a lot simpler to understand and enjoy.
“It’s amazing how many sommeliers and rising sommeliers there are in Philadelphia,” Eccleston said. “People who are here are very dedicated and really passionate about wine. People that are doing things here are doing it because they have a love and a passion for it and they are going to create their niche.
“There are so many wine-driven restaurants that have great segments of a wine list or great overall wine lists that they’ve curated. We wanted an opportunity to shine a light on those programs and really show how world-class Philadelphia is as a wine destination.”
Philly Wine Week runs through April 7. For a full list of participating restaurants and events, visit https://phillywineweek.org.