Classes

There’s more great wine being made in more places in the world today than somebody doing my job thirty years ago could have imagined.

Marginalized regions neglected for decades are waking up. Farmers are renewing soils long dead from industrial agriculture. New generations of makers are rediscovering local heritage, and experimenting with things nobody’s seen before. People who tradition has locked out of winemaking, land ownership, and compensation for their labor are fighting for, and gaining, access.

I fell in love with wine because you can see the entire world through it. What do you want to think about? Geology? History? Culture, money, chemistry, ethical philosophy? It’s all in the glass.

These tastings will bring bottles of wine that I love to your doorstep, and with them, the world.

Over a weekly slate of unique and changing class topics, we’ll explore regions whose connection is obscured by national borders, grape varieties overlooked or forgotten, and emerging producers who picked their first vintage during the second Obama administration. We’ll learn how to talk about what we like, how to serve and store wine, and what might be fun to cook for dinner after the tasting ends.

Kits for remote tastings start at $99, with NYC delivery and nationwide shipping fulfilled through our Brooklyn-based retail partner, Leon & Son. (Shipping registration closes two Fridays before the class week to ensure timely delivery.)

Each is suitable for 1-5 people. Class kits include three bottles of wine, class materials, and pre- and post-class emails with a weekly playlist, food pairings and service suggestions. You’ll receive options for interactive tasting dates on or around that weekend, or a recording for later enjoyment.

Whether you’re a professed wine geek or someone interested in just having some bottles open to drink over the weekend, I hope you’ll find something below that sparks curiosity, and looks delicious:

Remote Classes

The season has changed, there’s a cool edge to the air, and it’s time to resume shipping across the country now that the summer’s heat has begun to abate. Each week this fall brings a new class topic: an exploration of harvest and the year in a vine’s life through three wines from 2020 that saw challenges of their own; a multi-episode dive into the Loire Valley (you can sit in on any one installment, or opt for a discounted season pass); tastings focusing on language and the myth of typicity; regional studies that follow mountains and rivers instead of borders; and a couple of opportunities to taste rare wines in context.

You can find more details on each in the links below, and join for flexibly scheduled interactive tastings or opt for recordings to taste on your own time.

I’m looking forward to drinking in community with all of you this season, and expanding the world in our glasses.

Cheers,
James

Week I
<Break>

Week II

Life-Cycle of a Vine: Harvest
A year in someone’s life
recording & wines available
more details

Week III
Loire Episode 1: Heart!
Part one of four, classics mode
local pickup & delivery available
more details; season pass

Week IV
Languages of Taste
“Fresh-cut garden hose”
local pickup & delivery available
more details

Week I
Loire Episode 2: Fire
Part two of four, weirder and wilder
local pickup & delivery available
more details / season pass

Week II
Underrated Wine Regions:
Crossing the Rhine
the story the river tells
sep. 24th shipping cutoff
more details

Week III
Loire Episode 3: Earth
Part three of four, into the forest
oct. 1st shipping cutoff
more details / season pass

Week IV
The New Cult Canon:
The Old Guard
overnight success takes 30 years
oct. 8th shipping cutoff
more details / $180

Week V
Loire Episode 4: Wind
Part four of four, the compass rose
oct. 15th shipping cutoff
more details / season pass

Week I
Destroy Typicity: Autumn Edition
“wine 101”
oct. 22nd shipping cutoff
more details

Week II
Underrated Wine Regions:
Crossing the Alps
the story the mountain tells
oct. 29th shipping cutoff
more details

Week III
Champagne Made by Farmers
very limited seating
nov. 5th shipping cutoff
more details / $264

Week IV
Underrated Wine Regions:
The Old New World
Not discovering, remembering
nov. 12th shipping cutoff
more details

In-Person

The last year of interactive tastings has been a wonderful way to connect and foster community with wine lovers around the country. While we’ll continue to meet remotely and connect nationwide, we’ll also be planning in-person meetups that are intimate, safe, and meaningful ways for us to relearn how to be in the world. Stay tuned below for the next event:

Fermentation Is Magic!
Why doesn’t grape juice smell like wine? What do cheese and coffee and compost and champagne have in common? What turns sunlight and water into money and time?

Wild fermentation with native yeasts (just smush up your grapes and let them fizz!) is why natural wine is magic, but also why tasting it for the first time can be so confusing and strange. Let’s figure it out together. 

The Place
We’ll meet at Winona’s, a big-hearted wine bar/café/restaurant on the northernmost bit of Bed-Stuy. We’ll cluster around small tables in their private backroom, explore the outer edges of fermented grape juice, and expand our minds!

The Ferments
I’ve gone digging in the Leon & Son cellar for pairs of magical wines that will help us taste the broadband spectrum that minimal intervention reveals. From fizzy and murky to crystalline and bell-ringing, from dirt & smoke to fruit and flower, we’ll discover just how gravity-bending the flavors fermentation brings can be, and get better at tasting and talking about it ourselves.

The Bottom Line
The workshop will start at 6 and 8pm on Wednesday, September 29th and last an hour and a half. We’ll taste through 6 or 7 different ferments, and there will be some class materials to play with, too. Tickets, linked in bio, are $77 per person inclusive of tax & gratuity. Participants are welcome to sit for dinner outside on Winona’s patio after the workshop; if interested, we recommend making a reservation to avoid waiting for a table.

Winona’s
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

Wednesday September 29
6PM seating
$77 per person all-inclusive
two seats remaining!
buy tickets

8PM seating
$77 per person all-inclusive
buy tickets

Tip Your Sommelier!

Enjoyed the tasting and want to leave a couple bills on the bar? Tips can be sent via Venmo to @james-sligh. Each week, 50% of my tips will go to initiatives promoting inclusion and social justice in wine and in the wider world.


What’s next?

Pass along your information to get early access to class signups and upcoming events.

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