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 public classes start at $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.
Forgotten Grapes of France
Thursday 15 April, 8PM EST
To all of the late-ripening, hard-to-mechanize varieties that were pushed out after phylloxera, all of the local gems that the AOC laws wrote out, all of the vines your grandparents had to save in their backyards, I say: this is your chance to shine. Now has never been a better time to explore growers making wines out of grapes like romorantin, manseng, or braucol. A secret bonus pack to last month’s South-West France and this month’s Loire Chenin. 7 seats left. Purchase a class kit here.
Retro Wine Regions
Saturday 17 April, 6PM EST
We spend a lot of time in these classes celebrating the new and up-and-coming, but it’s also worth revisiting the classics and recognizing the growers making wines in places that are no longer the Hot New Thing. What are some places in the world of wine that were once coveted and now seem a little faded, or forgotten? Who are the growers who are exceptions, and still exceptional? Recommended double feature: Sunset Boulevard (1950). Purchase a class kit here.
Roussillon, or: How a Wine Region Works
Thursday 22 April, 8PM EST
The Roussillon is tiny, frequently lumped in with its larger neighbor to the north for convenience’s sake, and has a checkered history of bulk co-op production and fortified grenache. So why do I keep coming back? Because the Roussillon is also one of the most compelling wine producing regions in France today. Purchase a class kit here.
Drink the Rainbow!
Saturday 24 April, 6PM EST
There’s an entire universe of wine out there beyond red and white! We’ll explore rosés of character, orange wines and co-ferments, field blends and skin macerations. Flexible with food, perfect for the changing of seasons, these are a perfect illustration of how much fun you can have blurring categories. Purchase a class kit here.
The New Cult Canon: Loire Chenin
Tuesday 27 April, 7PM EST
Chenin has gone from underrated to undeniable. As so often happens, the rarer and more expensive a wine gets, the fewer chances we have to meet it on its own terms and understand where it’s coming from. We’ll drink our way through the Loire’s diverse geology with three wines that are (or should be) part of chenin’s new cult canon. $149; 4 seats left Purchase a class kit here.
Austria Off the Beaten Path
Thursday 29 April 8PM EST
The money and fame in Austrian wine has been with intense, multilayered riesling and grüner from the Roman-era terraces of the Wachau. But in places like Burgenland and the Steiermark, there is a different, transnational story to discover, one far more linked to the rest of Central Europe and to a broader array of grape varieties and stylistic possibility. We’ll explore the fringes of Austria’s wine regions to discover the growers bringing it back to center stage. Purchase a class kit here.
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.