Daily Newspaper

Get a taste, and degree, for wine

Philly school offers classes at all levels

Author: APRIL LISANTE
If you don’t know a pinot gris from a pinot noir, resolve this year to become a wine pro.

With the popularity of movies like “Sideways,” a film about love and marriage set in southern California’s Santa Barbara County wine district, as well as increased interest among young professionals who are starting wine clubs and going to tastings, there’s no better time to sip and learn.

The Wine School of Philadelphia (2006 Fairmount Ave.) was established three years ago by a local wine enthusiast. A staff of certified wine educators teach a range of classes – beginner, intermediate and state-approved master levels – for everyone from the complete novice to the hard-core oenophile (defined as a “grape nut” in the online dictionary onelook.com) looking to earn a wine certificate, which demonstrates a knowledge of wine that is recognized by the state and in the restaurant industry.

Though the Wine School is the only school in the Philadelphia area with an exclusively wine-based curriculum, local community colleges and culinary schools also offer credit classes in wine education. There are also online classes for those seeking a wine certificate via computer.

The January class schedule at the Wine School includes an introductory evening on wine types and flavors, “Wine 101,” or the very basic “Introduction to Wine.” These one-night-only classes cost $34.99 a person.

For more in-depth instruction, there is a six-week, $425 wine basics class that explores wines and their distinctive scents and flavors. Those who complete the class earn the certificate, which is useful for those interested in becoming professional sommeliers.

The next certification class at the Wine School begins Jan. 11 and runs every Tuesday through Feb. 22.