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 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 public classes are $99, with NYC delivery and nationwide shipping fulfilled through our Brooklyn-based retail partner, Leon & Son. 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.
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.
See below for the public schedule, or reach out to arrange a private session. Class kit arrival guaranteed nationally via ground shipping for orders placed up to 10 days in advance.
Children’s Atlas: Ligurian Sea
Wednesday 27 January, 7PM EST
Obscure wine fact: Liguria’s rossesse di dolceacqua is the same variety as Provence’s old Roman grape, tibouren. Look at a map, and obscure wine facts about salty, seaside reds start to make sense! The connection is the sea. We’ll sail (drink) our way across the Ligurian and find out what connects Corsican wine to the Republic of Genoa, where Provence and Italy meet, and how a sense of place can cross national borders. Purchase a class kit here. Want more details? (Coming soon.)
Drink the Rainbow
Friday 29 January, 8PM EST
There’s an entire universe of wine out there beyond red and white! We’ll explore orange wine and winter rosé and field blends and co-ferments and wines that don’t fit into neat categories at all, and discover how they got that way. Purchase a class kit here. Want more details? (Coming soon.)
Children’s Atlas: Catalunya
Thursday 4 February, 8PM EST
With its own language, its own native grapes, and its own unique wine history independent from the rest of Spain, Catalunya is worth a detailed look by itself! The diversity is enormous — and it’s home to a new generation of growers making wines as exciting as any in Europe. Purchase a class kit here. Want more details? (Coming soon.)
Languages of Taste!
Saturday 6 February, 6PM EST
Tasting wine is hard enough. But talking to each other about what we’re tasting can be even harder. And it’s no wonder! The words we use to describe wine aren’t objective or fixed — they come with their own baggage and history. We’ll use three unique, idiosyncratic wines as lenses to explore multiple languages of taste, learn how to better describe what we’re looking for, and connect what we’re saying to what’s in the glass. Purchase a class kit here.
Children’s Atlas: Chile’s Dark Side of the Moon
Wednesday 10 February, 7PM EST
The birthplace of winegrowing in the Americas, the vines of southern Chile have long been overlooked and disregarded. Now, finally, drinkers the world over are starting to see what was there all along: elegant, expressive wines that speak of place, soil, and half a millennium of struggle. Purchase a class kit here. Want more details? (Coming soon.)
Friday 12 February, 8PM EST
An ancient variety, pinot is a chameleon: progenitor of a whole family of vines, grown the world over in every color, capable of a breathtaking range of wine styles. We’ll go drinking in search of its X factor. Purchase a class kit here. Want more details? (Coming soon.)
Biodynamic, Permaculture, Fukuoka!
Monday 15 February, 7PM EST
Farming deep dive! We’ll investigate the roots of viticultural practices that go beyond organic, focusing on growers that are building living soils making their vines part of a larger ecosystem. Purchase a class kit here. Want more details? (Coming soon.)
Children’s Atlas: Central Europe
Thursday 18 February, 8PM EST
A multilingual, multi-ethnic treasure trove of wine history, it’s only been in the last couple of decades that growers from the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Hungary have managed to get their wines into our glasses in the U.S. — and the natural wine movement is radically changing the equation. We’ll put three bottles into context and help you navigate (and pronounce) these new frontiers for European wine. Purchase a class kit here. Want more details? (Coming soon.)
Saturday 20 February, 6PM EST
There are grape varieties that are international superstars, revered as noble, lauded the world over. Then there are these grapes. Written off, underrated, varieties of niche appeal. I have, naturally, an enormous soft spot for them. Like most things, when they’re treated with a little care and attention, they, too, can shine. We’ll taste three of my favorites. Purchase a class kit here. Want more details? (Coming soon.)
Children’s Atlas: The French Southwest
Wednesday 24 February, 7PM EST
In the hills and river valleys of the French Sud-Ouest hide medieval market towns with old wine cultures and local grape varieties found nowhere else in the world. Today, the growers who held on are reviving local traditions and revitalizing industrially farmed soils. The result? Wines of place and singular character that taste like nowhere else in France. Purchase a class kit here. Want more details? (Coming soon.)
Not Quite Wine
Friday 26 February, 8PM EST
The impact of the natural wine movement has not stopped with grapes! Fermentation is fermentation. Whether it’s farmhouse cider or offbeat sake, sherry or aromatized aperitifs, we’ll explore some beverages for wine lovers that get overlooked for being, well, not quite wine. Purchase a class kit here. Want more details? (Coming soon.)
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.