Cost: Average price $1.99

Where buy now: Several liquor stores and Wisconsin gas stations

Grapes: ?

Region: ?

Vintage: ?


At last! The record-breaking heat and humidity broke late last week, and it couldn’t have been better timing, as Saturday, I rode the “Midnight to Dawn” bike ride hosted by Southwest Community Education. This year marked my second ride and my riding group swelled from 4 to 13 this year.

Bicycling group sans a couple members

I was excited, and as all folks who eagerly anticipate a 50-mile bike ride do, I didn’t get on my bike once. I’m embarrassed admitting this to you- I truly love riding my bike! And yet, this is the first Summer where I hadn’t been on it prior to July. So ,why not kick off a much-delayed biking season with a 50-miler?


The one thing I did prepare for, however, were libations. (Note that I do not call myself “The Savvy Bicyclist”.) I had picked up a Copa, a single serve wine in a plastic chalice, at Byerly’s Ridgedale some months ago. The time never seemed quite right to crack it, though. Eureka! I shall bring this novel little chalice along for a starry, two-wheeled sojourn.

What is the Midnight to Dawn Ride? Well, here’s a quick synopsis: after mailing in your $15 entry fee a few weeks prior (yes, by THE mail), all 150 riders meet at Southwest High School. There, you are given a route map, and some basic guidelines. This has been an annual ride for the past 33 years, and the entry fee includes the support vans (for the weak/injured) and “gourmet” (their word) breakfast at the end. We picked up our route maps and rode off into the night.

There is something so peaceful and enjoyable about riding in the dead of the night. Our first rest stop was at Mel-o-Glaze donuts. They keep the shop open late special for this event, and prepare freshly made pastries, donuts, fritters and cookies for the riders. Here, we all sat and shared delectable gluten-filled goodies. Wait! Is that a chocolate-filled turnover? What a perfect time to crack the Copa!

This one was a Cabernet Sauvignon, although Copa comes in many flavors [whoops, I meant varietals]. There are Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and others.

We all took turns sipping from what I deemed “the adult juice box”. Some folks thought it was okay, some disliked it, some liked it. Bottom line: it was $2, not in a glass bottle, and, well, it’ll get you drunk.

JW will try anything once

I’m not going to discuss the aromas and tastes as that isn’t what this wine is all about. This wine isn’t about discovering complexities and/or nuances. It smells like wine, looks like wine, and tastes like wine. This is a single serve, on-the-go hooch. It knows it’s place.

After we all took swigs, it was back to riding. We continued on until the next stop, Grand Ole Creamery [do you detect a pattern?] where we enjoyed homemade ice cream around 3:45 am. Later, and I’d have to say my favorite part, we rode over the Stone Arch Bridge around 4:30 am.

Stone Arch Bridge

The quiet, persistent mist from the river lightly grazed my face, as I noticed the skyscrapers look like a fake movie back drop. Oh, and this is where we finished off the whiskey flask. Did I mention we brought that, too?

Near the end of the route, as we wound around the chain of lakes, a spellbinding sunrise stopped us dead in our tracks. Several folks from our group hopped off their bikes to snap photos with their latest and greatest iPhone apps.

Sunrise over Lake Calhoun

Again, I’m reminded why I live here.

As for the Copa, it was novel and fun. It neither sucked nor excited us, but did provide the means to enjoy fresh vino. What irks me is that “Copa” doesn’t mean anything. If it were “Coppa” that means cup in Italian and that would make sense. Perhaps this isn’t worthy of pure Italian.(SLAM) If you need/want a travel wine, especially if you are on foot or two wheels, pick up a couple. For it’s portability, drinkability and thriftablility [whu?], I deem the Copa my “Skank” pick of the month.