Pours & Prose – A Celebration of Wine and Wine People

The Illuminating Discovery Hub, nestled within the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID), is excited to announce its inaugural interactive wine event. This exclusive experience combines the thrill of wine exploration with hands-on guidance and tastings to elevate your wine appreciation skills. Our special guest for the evening is Michelle Wildgen, WID’s Writer in Residence.

Michelle Wildgen, WID Writer in Residence

The Writer in Residence program at WID offers a platform for accomplished writers to work on their projects while tapping into the interdisciplinary resources of UW–Madison’s unique research institute. This initiative aims to bridge the worlds of literature and science, providing both emerging writers and the public with opportunities to engage with and learn from established authors. Join us for an unforgettable evening of wine and words, where culture and discovery converge.

Resident author Michelle Wildgen published her fourth novel, Wine People, in August. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times Book Review and “Modern Love” column, O Magazine, Real Simple online, and Best American Food Writing. A former executive editor at the acclaimed literary journal Tin House, she now works as a freelance editor and creative writing teacher in Madison, Wisconsin. Since 2013, she and novelist Susanna Daniel have co-directed the Madison Writers’ Studio, where they provide a range of creative writing workshops and classes.

Her highly acclaimed book Wine People has garnered recognition on Oprah Daily’s list and TIME’s “25 New Books You Must Read This Summer,” among others.  Following two wine professionals as they navigate rivalry, friendship and ambition, Wine People takes readers from Madison, WI, and Sonoma, CA, to Italy, France, and Germany.  This event will allow local Madisonians to experience some of the intoxicating elements of wine appreciation. 

“My time working at L’Etoile not only introduced me to the world of wine and wine importing, but shaped so much of how I live and what I write about,” says Wildgen. “And Michael Kwas’s incredible wine knowledge is central to that experience. He’s both brilliant and welcoming in showing others what he sees in a wine, so I’m excited to learn from him again.”

Michael Kwas

During this celebration of wine and prose, we will hear an excerpt from Wildgen’s novel and explore the wonders of wine with L’Etoile Wine Director Michael Kwas. A columnist of Madison Magazine for 15 years and former WORT jazz DJ, and has been with L’Etoile for over 32 years.

Furthermore, his tenure at St. Ambrose Academy, where he serves as Dean of Academic Success and taught history and science, has contributed to the accessibility of his approach in understanding the intricacies of wine, catering to individuals of all levels of expertise, from beginners to connoisseurs.

Admission is priced at $75 per individual and includes several enticing offerings: a personally signed copy of Michelle Wildgen’s Wine People, a carefully selected bottle of wine for post-event enjoyment generously donated by the Weiss Family, a guided wine tasting led by Michael Kwas, a complimentary drink ticket, an assortment of delectable appetizers, and additional surprises!

Register by February 20, 2024, to secure your spot at this event. Participants must be 21+ to attend, and all proceeds will support the WID Writer in Residence Program.