Top Upcoming Wine Classes in Philly

Posted by Keith Wallace

Here are a few of our favorite upcoming wine classes in Philly! This list includes the top wine tastings as well as sommelier courses.

Top 10 Wine Classes in Philly

Wine Class or Wine Tasting?

Are you looking for a wine tasting class or a wine tasting? There’s a HUGE difference, which can mean the difference between having a lovely night or an awkward one. The word “class” is doing a lot of heaving lifting.

Wine Classes in Philly

We HATE Wine Tastings

The difference is simple: a wine tasting class is designed for people who crave knowledge and understanding; a wine tasting is for borderline alcoholics who pretend they have a hobby when –in fact– they have a drinking problem.

Is that harsh? Well, it’s deserved. A long time ago, we designed wine tastings for the likes of the Food Network and the Philadelphia Wine Festival. We were expecting a particular class of attendees but were REVOLTED by the behavior of many participants. We swore never to run –or attend– a wine tasting (or wine festival) ever again.

We LOVE Wine Classes

A wine tasting class, on the other hand, is a marvelous evening. Start with a beautiful classroom with reclaimed oak-and-iron tables and vintage oriental carpets covering the floors. Include a wine selection sourced from the most significant wine collection on the East Coast, Staff it with one of the top sommelier instructors in the USA. Finally, bring together a diverse and intellectually curious body of students.

Not all schools offer wine classes like this –we may be the only ones, to be honest– but even without the beautiful location and great wine selections, we still prefer a wine class over a wine tasting. Learning and being around other people who are curious and passionate about wine is always as wonderful evening.

If we wanted to be around drunks, we’d hang out at a park in South Philly or google “Wine Tasting Philadelphia” and ignore the first page of results.

Top Wine Schools in Philly

Philly has more wine classes than any other city in America. For the past forty years, there have been more wine schools in our hometown than in almost any other major city.

History of Wine Schools in Philly

The original wine school was L’Ecole de Vin, run by the wonderful Bob Perna in the 1980s and early ’90s. By the mid-’90s, there was Neal Ewing Wine Services. In 2001 came The Wine School of Philadelphia. These were Philly’s Original Wine Schools.

Other schools have been established since. The restaurant Tria opened the Tria Fermentation School. Philadelphia Magazine helped open and sponsored COOK, a food and wine education center, Time Restaurant opened a wine school, as did Pinot Boutique. At about the same time, Walnut College also opened up its own wine school.

So which is the top wine school in Philly? Sadly, many of Philly’s wine schools are footnotes to Philly’s wine history.

Are the First Wine Schools Still Open?

Of the original three schools, only one remains. L’Ecole de Vin closed decades ago. Neal Ewing Wine Services disappeared long ago, too, changing names and owners along the way. The Wine School of Philadelphia continues to thrive, following in the footsteps of the great L’Ecole de Vin.

What About the Newer Schools?

Of the newer schools, Tria stopped offering wine classes before the pandemic but offers the occasional wine tasting. COOK is now a wine shop and does not offer classes anymore. Pinot Boutique’s wine school was initially run by the Wine School of Philadelphia but closed when the shop did. Time Restaurant’s school ended when the Wine School of Philadelphia moved downtown. Finally, Walnut College –which also relied on the Wine School of Philadelphia for some of its programs– stopped offering classes about a decade ago.

There remains a few WSET Philadelphia outlets that offer part-time wine courses. However, only one major wine school remains, and one that just happened to be named one of the top wine schools in America, to boot!

Where can you find this school? Good news, you are on their site right now!

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