Philly Wine WeekThe Best of Philadelphia's Wine Week
Philadelphia has been a center for wine culture since 1782 when noted wine merchant John Vaughan settled in Philadelphia. A native of England, Vaughan worked tirelessly for many literary, scientific and benevolent causes in the city. His legacy inspired the founding of the Wine School of Philadelphia in 2001.
The Top Philly Wine Week Events
More Great Philly Wine Week Events
These are not run by the Wine School, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking them out.
MYSTERY WINE BLIND TASTING
March 22nd – March 29th at Bar210 at Lacroix and the Library Bar at The Rittenhouse Hotel. 210 W Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103 United States. The first guest to correctly guess the wine will receive a complimentary bottle of said wine to enjoy that evening and will also be featured on the hotel’s Instagram. Price: per glass.
WEST COAST VERSUS EAST COAST
March 22nd from 5:30 pm-10pm at High Street on Market. 308 Market St Philadelphia, PA 19106. Flights of East Coast Verus West Coast Wines: $20 per flight.
PA WINERY ASSOCIATION DINNER
March 23rd from 5:30-10:30 pm at High Street on Market. 308 Market St Philadelphia, PA 19106. Winemakers from Galen Glen, Nimble Hill, Maple Springs, and more will be on hand to taste guest through their wines. Four Course Meal with Wine Pairings. $75/person.
WINE CLASS: “NEW YORK DOLLS”
March 24th from 2-3:30 pm at Kensington Quarters (2nd Floor). 1310 Frankford Ave Philadelphia, PA 19125. A class on Finger Lake and Long Island wines. $50/Person http://www.kensingtonquarters.com/classes
MAKE YOUR OWN VERMOUTH
March 25th (contact restaurant for the time) at Plenty Café: Rittenhouse. 1602 Spruce St Philadelphia, PA 19103. Owner Anthony Mascieri will be speaking on his process of crafting Plenty’s house vermouth. Afterwards, participants will be provided all of the barks, botanicals, herbs, and step by step guidance it takes to make their own. Refreshments will be included.
WINE & CHEESE PAIRING
March 27th from 5-7:30 pm at Osteria. 640 N Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19130. A tasting of Doe Run Farms Cheese paired with wines from the Wine Merchant. $25/person.
JURA WINE DINNER
March 28th at Royal Boucherie. 52 S. 2nd St. Philadelphia, PA 19106. Jura’s wines are unusual, distinctive, and completely different from wines made anywhere else in the world. Which is exactly what makes this region so much fun to explore! Chef Elmi will serve a 4-course tasting menu paired alongside these exciting hard to come by bottles. $90/Person
We Want Your Input
What do you think of Philly Wine Week? We have our own thoughts about how it’s been implemented, but we want your input. Have you attended an event or class sponsored by Philly Wine Week? Do you have suggestions on what can be done better, or things you want to see? Let us know!
Submit your review
I don't have words for how badly philly wine week was managed.
This is just a retread of Philly Beer Week. Drink specials, some winemakers, a few dinners. Even borrowed the opening tap idea. How hard is it to do something original? I understand the people behind PWW want to make money and want to drum up business to their restaurant chums, but do you have to be so blatant about it?
- As a restaurant owner, I found the disorganization of the organizers made it hard to participate.
- There is no unified vision of what the future of Wine Week will be. How do you expect us to invest time and money in the project if you can't articulate your ideals and plans?
- Not enough support. The concept seems to be a fusion of restaurant week and Philly beer week. Lacks the logistical support and media attention those other two programs offer.
When the PR hacks start posting, you know there is some dirty dealings going on. Is Seth Williams the attorney for Philly Wine Week? If not, they should consider it.
Remember "The Art of the Steal"?
Ignore the haters. Philly Wine Week is AMAZING. The BEST sommeliers in Philly are running the show. They are FANTASTIC and CLASSY.
There are similarities, and there may be a case that the Wine School's intellectual property was misappropriated. I don't know, and that really doesn't affect my opinion of the week.
I attended a few events last year. They were mediocre, and reminded me of a watered down restaurant week. I'll try again next year, maybe they'll have gotten their act together by then.
Here's a thought. Maybe the owner s of Philly Wine Week swallow their pride and partner with Keith and Alana of the Wine School? That would be amazing.
I wondered why the Wine School didn't have a leadership role for Philly Wine Week. It's pretty obvious that the people behind the festival stole stole the idea from Keith. Whose in charge of the festival? I'm pissed.
Not great, not bad. Just Okay.
The Origin of Wine Week
Did you know that Philly Wine Week had its start at the Wine School of Philadelphia?
In 2009, Traci Browne of the PR company Red Cedar approached me and the Wine School of Philadelphia with the idea of running a Philly Wine Week. At the time, Philly Beer Week was really starting to catch national attention, and folks like Mat Falco of Philly Beer Scene were doing some amazing things.
I thought we could do something great as well, and I said “Hell Yeah!”
We had a few meetings and built out what was looking like a really amazing week of wine, food, and fun. I started working on visuals and other elements of the weeklong bacchanalia. At the time I was running various other large-scale wine events (Food Network’s Great Big Food Show, Philadelphia, and the New Jersey Food & Wine Festival) so it was a good fit.
Imitation or Accident?
Sadly, Philly Wine Week didn’t make it beyond the planning stages. Classes and wine courses at the Wine School were blowing up. I didn’t have the time to devote to launching Philly Wine Week, so I bowed out of the project.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.
I am glad that others picked up the idea and ran with it, and I hope they expand the project. I hope it eventually becomes an inclusive wine event that celebrates the true extent of wine culture in Philadelphia.
Neither the Wine School nor myself are involved with Philly Wine Week. I may be wrong, but it seems like the organizers have borrowed a little too much from my original work without giving the Wine School credit.
Let me know what you think: are these similarities accidental similarities or something a bit less wholesome?
My Original Philly Wine Week Icon, Circa 2009
Current Philly Wine Week logo.
The Wine School has been running the Sommelier Smackdown since 2007, and we have a copyright on the term. We even got into infamous trouble in 2009 when we got sued by the WWE over the term.
Here are Philly Wine Week’s Event, the Bar-Somm Smackdown:
Here are a few more events being held during Wine Week. The following classes seem to have been inspired by classes I’ve developed for the Wine School. I am not claiming they lifted the ideas or content of these classes from the Wine School, but I am concerned about some of the striking similarities.
So I guess they read the description of our Exotic Wines Class?
Why name an introductory wine class after one we’ve been running since 2001? Wine 101
The language is a little too close for comfort to our Wine Smarts class.
Original Working Plan for Philly Wine Week, 2006
Here are the original plans Tracy and I worked up for the weeklong plan. Notice any similarities to the current festivities?
Saturday Wine Festival
A Walk Around Tasting for 1000 people in the Crystal Tearoom. Featuring 40 wineries, plus a handful of distilleries and breweries. Pricing would be tiered at $40, $75, and $100 (VIP ACCESS). VIP ticket holders would have access to all events during the week.
Sunday Night Wine Rave
I don’t remember what this was going to be. My notes are vague. It was going to be for 350 people. Or possibly tickets where going to cost $350, which would mean this was going to be crazy. No matter which was the case, a wine rave sounds like a awesome idea. I am pretty sure this was Traci’s idea, and I really wish I remembered what she was thinking of. A foam party? A drug-fueled bacchanalia? I don’t think we’ll ever know.
The classic all-out war of sommeliers. We envisioned this to be similar to the current “Philly’s Top Somm” that we award every year. The finale would have been a competition between five of the city’s top sommeliers, with food from one of Philly’s top restaurants. At the time, we were thinking of Zahav . The winner would be judged by a group of 50 local wine lovers.
Restaurants Doing Their Own Thing
We expected restaurants would want to offer tasting menus, wine specials, wine flights, and winemaker dinners. Any restaurant could participate, and we would help with getting great winemakers to their restaurants. This is one of the reasons we planned on doing the the event in late fall or early winter: it’s the time winemakers are free to come to Philly and share their wines.
This is the element that the current iteration of Philly Wine Week has embraced.
The last day of Philly Wine Week. This is a blowout party for participants and those who purchased VIP tickets. There is one thing I know about the wine trade: take a group of winemakers, restaurant employees, and wine enthusiasts and add an unlimited amount of booze.
Philly’s Best Chef
Back when Top Chef was all the rage, we were thinking of having a chef competition. At the time, Fretz Kitchen and Viking Kitchen had demonstration kitchens and hosted cooking classes and events. The plan was to host at either location and bring in local chefs to compete.
At the time, I had come off a successful run of producing and hosting a show on Philly.com. Traci had the great idea to film the event and pitch a Corked & Forked show on Food Network.