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Bottled Up: Times are tough. Look forward to spring wine tastings in LeClaire

Bottled Up: Times are tough. Look forward to spring wine tastings in LeClaire


With all of the coverage of COVID-19 it’s not always easy to look ahead and know that spring and, yes, brighter horizons, are ahead. But The Faithful Pilot, a restaurant in LeClaire, has a calendar full of spring events to look forward to.

When I think about the world of wine, I’m amazed at the information that I discover through a vast pool of geology, agriculture, biology and hundreds of years of history. Enjoying wine can be so much more enjoyable when you get to hear and understand the backstory of that particular glass and how it came to be.

The Faithful Pilot’s wine classes were launched in 2016 and offer a great opportunity for wine lovers and those new to wine to fall in love with the many wines around the world. For $40, each guest will experience 10 to 12 wines, with the help of Tony Morales, the restaurant's wine curator and Certified Specialist of Wine, and enjoy food pairings chef Robert Day has created to suit. There is a limit of 40 to each class. There are also tastings planned of different regions. Those events cost $25.

Classes vary in topics, highlighting wine regions across the globe, analyzing styles of wine making and offering histories of importance in wine culture. The evenings make for a perfect date night, or night out with friends.

Faithful Pilot Wine Dinners

When ancient wine makers began their foray into vinification, they were most likely creating them to be consumed with meals. Wine dinners are a perfect way to enjoy unique bottles of wine and see firsthand how they can be elevated (and vice versa) with exquisite dishes paired to perfection. The Faithful Pilot hosts many exciting wine events, and its wine dinners are certainly something to check out. Often these events will be coupled with industry professionals, winemakers and experts who share their love of wine and bring great insights to the wines being enjoyed at the dinner.

As Morales says, bringing an “... assortment of elite and intriguing wines and wine personalities for our customers to interact with in an intimate setting, Faithful Pilot puts forward these premium wine dinner events or specialty tastings only when we can bring in an actual representative directly attached to the winery or wine importer — often the owner and or winemaker themselves.”

In this time, events may be subject to change. For reservations and updates, visit or call 563-289-4156.

Here's what Faithful Pilot has planned:

"Let’s All Go To Paso"

Thursday, April 30

Faithful Pilot's wine curator and wine educator spent a week with winemakers and wine experts in Paso Robles and Santa Barbara, California. This evening will share the excitement and quality of this region.

Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Wine Dinner

Thursday, May 14

Barry Dodds, ambassador for Freemark Abbey, an icon in Napa Valley, will offer an insider look at the only winery to have placed both a Chardonnay and a Cabernet in the famous Judgment of Paris “France versus California” wine tasting in 1976. Tickets for this dinner cost $75.

"Judgment of Paris (California versus France 1976) Revisited"

Thursday, May 28

This evening will be a deep dive into California versus Bordeaux Rouge and Bourgogne Blanc, with comparisons and history.

"Napa Valley has Great ... Values"

Thursday, June 2

Napa is more than elite Cabernet. Taste the variety, quality and value of the region.

"Europe in LeClaire Week: Taste the Wines of Spain and Portugal"

Thursday June 4 

Erin Drain, manager and importer from Ole & Obrigado,will introduce exciting wines from Spain and Portugal

"Europe in LeClaire Week: Taste the Wines of Piedmont Italy"

Thursday June 11 

Cameron Abbot, national sales manager from The Piedmont Guy will showcase an exclusive collection of whites and reds from Piedmont — one of the world’s most dynamic wine regions.

Carson Bodnarek, a self-proclaimed “cork dork”, is a certificate recipient from the Court of Master Sommeliers, WSET Level II and is currently studying for his certified sommelier exam. Always on the hunt for his next great bottle of wine for his collection, he is an avid jetsetter and devout foodie. After moving to Quad-Cities from Iowa City in 2013, Carson now resides in Bettendorf.

Contact Carson Bodnarek at 563-383-2299 or


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Carson Bodnarek, a self-proclaimed “cork dork”, is a certificate recipient from the Court of Master Sommeliers and is currently studying for h…

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