PW Wine Quarterly Event Listings

Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Jun. 20, 2011

Share this Story:

Learn by Tasting

Is wine a mysterious elixir that requires an alchemist’s notebook to decipher? If you have ever read the tasting notes in a wine magazine, you may think so: “the lush cranberry of this pinot noir is accented with a touch of marshmallow and a hint of tobacco-spiced granite.” Descriptions like that make wine professionals sound like egomaniacs with Asperger syndrome or some crazy type of gustatory schizophrenia.

Learning about wine is actually quite easy; The trick is to stay away from the two most obnoxious trends in wine tasting. First of all, steer clear of the wine snobs. You know the type: they love to brag about their expensive wine collections. Not only do they sap the fun out of wine, they are usually totally clueless, too. Ignoring them is the first step to true wine knowledge.

Second of all, stay away from all those wine tastings that pop up around town. Most are really They are just advertastings for big-name wine brands: Even though you paid good money to go to the event, the wineries are also paying to be represented favorably. You’ll get a good buzz, but your head will be full of marketing nonsense.

There are two ways to really learn about wine, and have a good time. The first is to take some classes at a school that offers unbiased consumer-friendly classes. In Philly, that means the Wine School of Philadelphia: they are the only place we know of that refuses to offer advertastings. They also offer professional certifications, and some of their graduates have gone on to become winemakers.

The second option is even more fun: visit some wineries. Don’t be a consumer and just hang out in the tasting room, call ahead and get a tour of the winemaking facility. You will be surprised and delighted at how much you will learn about wine by knowing how it’s made.

The best part of a winery tour is that you don’t have to head off to California. There are hundreds of wineries within driving distance of Philly, and how they make wine is pretty much exactly how they do it everywhere else. Sure, the wines are different than what they make in Napa, but how they make them is pretty much identical.

Whatever path to wine enlightenment you take, just remember to have fun and not let the snobs get you down.

For more info;

Auburn Road Vineyard and Winery
Woolwich Tomato & Heritage Festival, July 17 from Noon to 8 PM
WXPN Xponential Music Festival:  July 16-18. 
Jersey Fresh Wine & Food Festival August 14 & 15, 2010 (Noon to 5:00 p.m.)
Balic Winery
9th Annual Summer Fest Gala July 15 to July 17
Bellview Winery
Barrel Tasting Weekend; July 16 and 17
Berks County Wine Trail
Christmas in July Weekend; August 6th & 7th
Artisan Cheese & Wine Tasting Weekend; October 8th & 9tth
Blue Mountain Vineyards and Cellars
Sunday Blues Wine Tastings; July 10, 17 and 24
Wine on the Mountain at Penn’s Peak; July 30
Renault Winery
New Orleans Carnival Festival & Craft Show July 10
Sounds of the Opera July 23
Culinary Classic III Jersey Fresh Seafood & Produce August 19

Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend


Comments 1 - 3 of 3
Report Violation

1. Anonymous said... on Jul 30, 2011 at 06:46PM

“I'm curious what professional certifications The Wine School offers? And what graduates became winemakers ? Where?

It is patently false that winemakers pay to be represented at all tastings. In fact the vast majority of tastings in the city do not work that way. Why does PW allow this claim to be made in an advertorial piece that is not clearly identified as such?

Report Violation

2. huh? said... on Aug 26, 2011 at 08:00AM

“Isn't it a little strange to tell people...'stay away from all those wine tastings that pop up around town.' in a listing for wine events?

Report Violation

3. Jong Matthews said... on Dec 24, 2011 at 02:36PM

“The Wine School is the only school in PA that offers sanctioned professional programs for the wine trade. Their graduates work as winemakers in Napa, SLO, New Zealand, and New Jersey.

Also, most wine tastings are pure advertising: if wines (or beer and spirits, for that matter) are donated, then the tasting is pure advertising. If the instructor is paid by a PR firm, a wine supplier, or a winery, then the tasting is pure advertising.

As always, this passive-aggressive and anonymous comment is probably from Neal Ewing and his little band of cohorts.”


(HTML and URLs prohibited)