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Wine tasting banishes cabin fever for record crowd

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  • Barry and Mary Ellen Masek of Park Ridge enjoy swirling and sipping one of 60 wines at Clearbrook's 50th annual A Grapevine of Friends Wine Tasting.Chicago Corporate Photography

      Barry and Mary Ellen Masek of Park Ridge enjoy swirling and sipping one of 60 wines at Clearbrook's 50th annual A Grapevine of Friends Wine Tasting.Chicago Corporate Photography


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL - On Saturday, February 22, over 450 people wined and dined at the 50th annual A Grapevine of Friends Wine Tasting, benefitting Clearbrook's Employment Services Program. The wine tasting extravaganza returned to the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg in Schaumburg, and featured endless activities from wine and beer to gourmet food and a photo booth.

"This is an event where you can truly say there is something for everyone. Without a dull moment from start to finish, guests had a blast whether sipping wine, filling their plates with expertly prepared food, or simply conversing with friends," said Clearbrook President Carl M. La Mell. "The energy in the room was contagious."

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The evening began as guests swirled and twirled their glasses, sampling 60 different wines, courtesy of Teddy's Liquors, and visiting the Irish Pub Room, new this year, which offered additional samplings of beer from RAM Restaurant and Brewery. Between wine flights, guests enjoyed bidding on silent auction items and posing at the photo booth provided by Photo Booth of the Stars. Other highlights included decadent food stations, a reverse auction, and a cash raffle. Finally, guests danced the night away to live music by Hooked On Sonics.

This year's sponsors included: Al and Janet Lattof; Alexian Brothers Health; Aquion, Inc.; Ashley Furniture; Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP; BMO Harris Bank; Canon Business Solutions; CAPSYS Technologies; Cardinal Color Group; Ceres Food Group; Installation Plus; J.C. Restoration; Jennings Chevrolet; JonDon Janitorial Services; Korol Cleaning Services, Inc.; Mariano's Fresh Market; Northwest Community Healthcare; Omnicare; Richard Uihlein; and Weber-Stephen Products LLC.


Based in Northern Illinois, Clearbrook was founded in 1955 and has since evolved into a recognized leader in the field of developmental disabilities. Today, Clearbrook creates innovative opportunities for approximately 3,300 children and adults with developmental disabilities including autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy - as well as their families. Clearbrook provides personalized children's, day training, employment, residential and clinical services at more than 45 locations throughout the Chicagoland-area. In addition, Clearbrook is the largest provider of in-home services in the state of Illinois. Clearbrook employs more than 800 people and proudly reports that 85 percent of every dollar raised goes directly into programs and services. For more information, please visit

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