Are you over 21? Looking for something entertaining and cheap on a Friday evening before spending money eating or clubbing? Friday evening wine tastings might be what you seek. It's free, fun, and educational (gasp!). I generally hang out at 3 different places (usually not on the same night, but occasionally I become ambitious...).
1) River City Cellars - wine tastings from 5-7 PM. River City is located in Carytown across from the Byrd Theatre. The shop generally stocks wines that are unavailable in the rest of the Richmond area. They taste 5 wines every week. Because the regions can be unusual, tasting before buying is a bonus. River City also samples out a cheese for the evening. The atmosphere is casual and hip. Check out their web site - or better yet, sign up for the weekly email.
2) The Wine Cellar - wine tastings from 5-8 PM. Located across the river on Midlothian Turnpike. Not many places would make me head to the Southside on a Friday evening, but The Wine Cellar tends to have fabulous tastings and they keep me coming back. The tastings I attend most often feature the same grape varietal (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or Zinfandel) by different wineries allowing tasters to compare the differences. The Wine Cellar also has a cheese and meat counter. Go to the web site to sign up for weekly emails.
3) Once Upon a Vine - wine tastings from 5-8 PM. Located on MacArthur Ave. in the Northside. Once Upon a Vine reminds me of an impromptu community block party every Friday. Different wine distributors conduct the tastings and can range from a South African line-up to a mini-lesson on ports and sherries. A lot of times the shop holds beer tastings, too. Look for a great selection of snacks to continue the party at home or the home of friends. The web site lists the weekly wine tasting line ups.
Education has never been as fun. I'm sure there are other places to quaff samples on a Friday. If you know of others, let me know. I'm always up for a wine adventure. Salut!