The world of wine can seem overwhelming and intimidating. New York, however, is filled with experts in the field who are ready to share their knowledge. Whether you want to spend an afternoon sipping or want to make a more long-term commitment, there’s an option out there for you.
This Greenwich Village restaurant from Mario Batali offers more than pizza, pasta, and some killer gelato. It’s home to a vast Italian wine list, and a knowledgeable staff to match. Otto holds wine classes ranging from their Tuesday night overviews of Italian wine regions, to more in-depth explorations of a particular region or wine on Saturday and Sunday. Their “Ultimate” classes focus on some of the most celebrated Italian wines, but won’t break the bank. Classes range from $30-75.
For a more traditional route, head to one of New York’s gems: Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Wine School. Zraly served as the wine director for Windows on the World from 1976 until 2001, and he has been teaching for over 35 years. This eight-week class is not cheap, but the $995 tuition will take you around the world, from the US to France, Italy, Spain and more, exploring reds, whites, and bubbles, and it includes tastings of incredibly rare wines from Zraly’s private selection. You’ll also walk away with a certificate and a copy of Zraly’s book, “Windows on the World Complete Wine Course.” The next class series begins September 24th.
Astor Culinary Center offers a wide range of classes, so you’re bound to find something that appeals from everyone from complete wine novices to those looking to expand upon an existing knowledge base. Taste eight new grapes in one night, celebrate women winemakers, learn the basics of wine pairing, take advantage of the bounty in Astor’s cellar, and learn from sommeliers, winemakers, and Astor’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable faculty. Visit their website to discover the latest class offerings.
Sommelier Laura Maniec has folded an educational center into her newly opened wine bar, with an array of classes to suit casual sippers and serious wine geeks alike. Wine 101 will get you started, but if you’re already schooled in the basics, try Blind Tasting or dig into terroir with a class focusing on geology. Most classes are $75, and each is given a rating from recreational to advanced to give you some guidance in your class selection.
The Institute for Culinary Education isn’t just about cuisine. The school’s recreational division also has a range of wine classes. Explore wines from Australia and New Zealand in Outback Adventure, taste old and new world wines side by side and pick your favorite in Iron Wines, or take the six-week Wine Essentials for a thorough introduction to varietals, winemaking, tasting, and more.