Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Wine Tasting Classes for the Casual Drinker

Have you always wondered what all that swirling and sniffing and slurping and spitting is about? Why doesn't everyone just drink the damn wine? Can one person really identify the zest of a yuzu as opposed to the juice or rind or pith? Are 'horsehair,' 'used band-aid' and 'crushed Flintstone vitamins' really acceptable wine descriptors?

This fall, the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, long known for churning out professional sommeliers from its intensive wine study programs, launched classes of a different sort — for those who simply enjoy wine and aren't trying to make a career out of tasting it. 

The series of classes includes an introduction to wine tasting, a California wine and cheese pairing, "secret wines of Napa Valley," and a comparative tasting of Napa Valley wines versus similar varieites grown around the world and are held at the building formerly known as Copia in downtown Napa (by the Oxbow Public Market). Classes are taught by some of the school's top teachers and are $40 each. Tickets can be purchased here

Before You Taste, Become Winewise
Fridays at 5:30 p.m.: 12/13 and 12/27
This is a starter course to help you make the most of your Napa Valley wine experience. Featuring wine tasting advice, this class is an overview of Napa Valley and provides insider tips for getting the most out of tasting room visits.

California’s Best Cheeses and the Wines That Love Them 
Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.: 12/14 and 12/28
The artisan cheese makers of California have set the pace for incredible quality and selection. Learn about different styles of cheese available here, the best way to enjoy them and how to pair cheese with wine.

Secret Wines of Napa Valley

Saturdays at 3:00 p.m.: 12/14 and 12/28

Napa’s amazing diversity of climates and soils allows us to grow over 100 different grape varieties for wine, yet you may have only heard of a few. Discover the rare and secret wines that may become your new favorites.
Class dates: 10/19, 10/26, 11/9, 11/30, 12/14, 12/28

Napa Valley vs. the World
Sundays at 10:30 a.m.: 12/15 and 12/29
This class is a series of comparative tastings with wines of Napa Valley and their counterparts around the world. How do New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Italian Sangiovese and French Bordeaux compare with the wines we make here?