Wine + Food Sail with Piccolo: Wines of Sicily

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August 23, 2020 (Sun)
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Maine State Pier
At Commercial & Franklin Street (adjacent to Casco Bay Lines)
Portland, ME 04101

View Map  |   207-619-4630

Cost: $125 advance / $135 day of (if available)

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Educational     Light Appetizers      Tasting (sit down)     Wine    

Join Sommelier Erica Archer with Chefs Luke Aberle, Damian Sansonetti, and Ilma Lopez of acclaimed Portland, Maine restaurant Piccolo, for a gorgeous scenic wine sail on board the 74-foot sailboat, The Frances, built by her Captains and crew on Portland's waterfront as you explore five incredibly delicious wines from Sicily, Italy ... each paired with delicious food from these extremely talented Chefs.

You're in for an incredible wine education and food experience as you sail through Maine’s beautiful Casco Bay with scenic views of Maine lighthouses, islands, and waterways .. all while indulging in a wine class. You'll walk away with knowing a lot about wine, how regional influences impact wine styles and quality, gain confidence knowing how to evaluate, select and pair wines and describe what you smell and taste. And no doubt you will taste and learn a lot about the incredible food that these Chefs have in store for you.

  • Taste and learn about delicious Sicilian wines that you'll love to have in your repertoire

  • Enjoy delicious Italian food from Piccolo

  • Discover some incredible Sicilian wines what makes each unique in their style

  • Discuss the authentic Italian food preparations and ingredients that you’ll love to know about

  • Learn what to expect from certain terms on an Italian wine label when selecting your next bottle of wine

  • Learn the basics of tasting or take your wine knowledge to the next level

The menu will be available on the date of the event as these Chefs takes inspiration from only the freshest local ingredients. Due to the nature of this event, we regret that we cannot accommodate food substitutions. 

Your Chefs
Chef Luke Aberle is a native of Portland, Maine. He began his culinary career at the Falmouth Country Club, where he washed dishes for a summer before working as a cook throughout high school. After high school, Luke attended the University of Maine for engineering before switching gears and enrolling in culinary school at Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island.  

After culinary school, Luke returned to Maine and began working at Grace when they opened in July 2009. There, he started off as a line cook before advancing to Sous Chef seven months later. He worked at Grace for over three years, and it was there that Luke first met Chef Ilma Lopez. Luke hired Ilma as their Pastry Chef and they soon became close friends.

After leaving Grace, he worked on a project in the West End called Carmen at the Danforth before opening In’finiti Brewery and Restaurant (now Liquid Riot). During that time, Chefs Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez opened Piccolo in September 2013. After 9 months at Infiniti, Luke joined Piccolo part-time in January 2014 and then full-time as Sous Chef in March 2014. When Damian and Ilma took over Caiola’s and began working on opening Chaval in 2016, Luke was promoted to the Chef de Cuisine at Piccolo.

Chef Luke enjoys using the engineering side of his brain to solve problems and bring his culinary ideas to fruition. After five years at Piccolo, he has grown to love the Southern Italian food that he cooks and has fully embraced Italian ingredients and the simplicity of the cuisine. He also loves utilizing all the fresh produce, local farms, and working waterfronts of Maine to influence the coastal, seafood-driven Southern Italian dishes found at Piccolo. In 2019, Chef Luke earned his first 4 1/2 star review for Piccolo in the March 10 edition of the Portland Press Herald. AND his pasta dish of his was listed as “the best dish I ate in 2019” by Press Herald Food Critic Andrew Ross.

Chef Damian Sansonetti, a Pittsburgh native, grew up exploring fresh, local ingredients, making pasta with his grandmothers, curing meats with his grandfather, and assisting his father in the family kitchen. A career in food was practically his birthright. Graduating from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Sansonetti worked at Nantucket’s Brant Point Grill and Pittsburgh’s Steelhead Grill, moving to New York to open Heartbeat in the W Hotel. Sansonetti met Daniel Boulud while working at Shallots in Midtown and eventually took a position at Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne.

Training rigorously under Chef Olivier Muller, Sansonetti became chef de banquet at Daniel and then sous chef under Jean Francois Bruel. Promoted to executive chef of Bar Boulud in 2008, Sansonetti was named a 2009 Rising Star. Now ensconced in the burgeoning food scene of Portland, Maine, Sansonetti’s partnered with his wife, Pastry Chef Ilma Lopez (a 2014 Rising Star Pastry Chef and nominated in 2018 for a James Beard Award as Outstanding Pastry Chef), to open their Italian fine dining restaurant Piccolo and in 2017 Chaval.

Chef Ilma Lopez has worked in some of the most demanding and rewarding kitchens in the industry, such as DB Bistro, Corton, Tailor, El Bulli, Café Boulud, and Le Bernardin. When she left New York City to the quieter reaches of Maine, Lopez found a new terrain she couldn’t resist. Arriving with a mastery of colors, flavors, textures, and spices—and a seasoned ability to work under pressure—Lopez makes classic dishes her own, with attention to micro-detail and thoughtful twists. For her work, Lopez earned a 2014 StarChefs Coastal New England Rising Star Pastry Chef Award, Has been a multiple-time James Beard top-Chef finalist, and you may have seen her name in the September issue of Bon Appetit Magazine highlighting her incredible talents when naming Portland, Maine as their pick for Restaurant City of The Year.

Your Sommelier
Archer is a true oenophile, having obtained high levels of certification in her field. In 2010, she was awarded the Wine Spirit and Education Trust Level Three Advanced Certification in Wines and Spirits (with merit), became a Sommelier in the American Court of Master Sommeliers, and received her Certified Wine Professional award from the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, California. Erica is the principal of Wine Wise, a wine education and events service and is skilled at creating truly creative and memorable wine experiences that take guests beyond a typical tasting with her intimate understanding of what makes each wine unique. And she’ll do it with her trademark sense of humor.

Must be 21 years of age or older. 

Tickets are $125 advance / $135 day of (if available) at

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