Wall Street Journal: Wine School is in.

Posted by Keith Wallace

The story was originally published by the Wall Street Journal on January 8, 2010. The article is reprinted solely for educational purposes.  It is intended to offer insight into the history of wine education in Philadelphia, and our place within that history.


School Is In

Author:  Melanie Grayce West

Bin 36


Bin 36, a restaurant, market, wine bar and cheese bar, offers monthly wine classes. The Wine 101 class covers grape varieties, general tasting terminology and how to appreciate and taste wine. “Eighty percent of what you taste is smell,” says Brian Duncan, Bin 36’s wine director. “Students will take a sip and hold it in their mouth longer than they’ve held anything in their mouth. That’s the light-bulb moment in the class. It changes how they approach taste and they will get more out of the experience.” There are classes on wines from South America, France, Spain, Italy and wine-and-food pairing, too. Tickets and details at bin36.com.

WHEN Wine 101, Jan. 12 and March 15

WHERE 339 N. Dearborn, Chicago


The Wine School


The goals of the Wine 101 class are to dispel major wine myths, introduce eight of the most common varietals (from Riesling to Cabernet Sauvignon) and bring a no-snobs approach to wine enjoyment, says Keith Wallace, founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia. The class, limited to 20 people, focuses on easily found wines priced at $15 and less. Mr. Wallace says his instructors “never leave anyone out, especially the quiet ones in the back of the room. If everyone isn’t smiling and talking about wine by the end of the class, we failed.” Wine 101 classes book up weeks in advance; vinology.com.

WHEN Wine 101, monthly, March 12, 17, 19, 20, 25, 26

WHERE Three locations in Philadelphia

HOW MUCH $37.99

Boston University


Boston University’s Metropolitan College offers a “Fundamentals of Wine” course at the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center. The first two of nine classes cover the basics of wine and how to taste, the third class is on food-and-wine pairing and the remaining classes are organized by wine region. Classroom discussion is mixed with wine tasting (about nine wines each night). Details at bu.edu/foodandwine or call 617-353-9852.

WHEN Mondays beginning Jan. 25

WHERE 808 Commonwealth Ave., Boston



Los Angeles

The UCLA Extension program offers a quarterly introduction to wine class. The six sessions cover how to taste wine, wine service, ordering at restaurants, wine-and-food pairings, the major grape varieties and winemaking. “The main goal of the course is to help people become comfortable with tasting and talking about wine,” says instructor Shelby Ledgerwood. Register at uclaextension.edu.

WHEN Beginning Jan. 25 and March 29

WHERE UCLA Extension, G33W, 10995 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles


French Institute Alliance Française

New York

Michael Madrigale, head sommelier at New York’s Bar Boulud, will lead this six-part series on French wines. The classes are: Burgundy, Feb. 1; Rhône, Feb. 22; Bordeaux, March 29; Alsace, April 19; Loire, May 10; Champagne, June 7. The Alsace class on Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc will cover how the wines complement French, Japanese, Thai and Mediterranean foods. Register at fiaf.org.

WHEN Feb. 1, 22, March 29, April 19, May 10, June 7, 7 p.m.

WHERE 22 E. 60, New York

HOW MUCH $115, each; $300, for three; $600, all and includes special Bordeaux tasting on May 24

Windows on the World

New York

Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Wine School is in its 34th year. About 10 to 12 wines are tasted during each of the eight sessions. Classes cover all the major regions and wines of France, California, New York, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal. Buying wine, restaurant etiquette, aging wine, understanding wine labels and food and wine pairing are covered, too. Go to windowswineschool.com to register or to buy the textbook for a home-school education.

WHEN March 8 to May 3

WHERE New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, 1535 Broadway, New York



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