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Wine Tasting 101 in New York City

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 7/10/2004 - www.Littleviews.com ]

>>  Wine has gone scholastic. Colleges offer courses. Restaurant owners invite wine makers to educate their staffs about vineyards. And hotels rent out space to special interest groups, or host their own wine tasting events.

If you poke your head into a wine store on your walk home from work (especially in Manhattan), there's a good chance you'll catch a tasting going on. In fact, several wine and/or liquor stores are building and designating spaces for this sort of thing. After all, wine tastings are an excellent way to attract business (especially if students leave class half in the bag). So you see, there are plenty of options to choose from. It's up to you to determine what feels best.

What's great about a tasting, however, is the brevity of the event balanced against the knowledge you gain and your immediate ability to use that knowledge in New York City's cafes and restaurants. With that in mind, I'm happy to say that our Littleviews' wine article writer is getting considerable and well-deserved attention. This is, of course, Andrew Harwood, and his Wine 101 course for NYC Wine Class.

Andrew Harwood pouring for Wine 101Andrew is charming and articulate and his approach to teaching is laid back and pleasantly open. His experience and knowledge of wine is extensive, but he's not above discussing the basics. He'll answer any questions you may have with enthusiasm and straightforward facts.

The class I observed, called Wine 101, met at 7 PM and was held at the New York Executive Club on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

There were about 25 wine novices and it's safe to say that the ratio of men to women was fairly even. Ages ranged from about 25 to 50+, with random groups situated at six, lavishly-prepared round tables.

Each table was chock-full of customary wine trappings. These included cheeses from around the globe, exotic nuts, olives, crackers and glass pitchers of ice water. A bucket was parked in the center of the table for cleansing and excess wine dumping.

After depositing the potential last swallows of wine, which, truth be told, is tempting to knock back, Andrew and his fabulous assistant, a sassy cheese & nut connoisseur, visited each taster to replenish glasses with more wine selections.

If you're not keen on spontaneous interaction and prefer keeping to yourself, do not worry. Andrew's class is focused on the subject of wine. You definitely won't feel out of place if you're just there to learn. But, if you want to meet up with fellow wine junkies, there are moments between wine shifts for chitchat. And if you're really serious about meeting people, hang around after class for more discussions.

Thanks to people like Andrew Harwood, a new attitude is developing about wine; one that's different from the wine-is-only-for-the-rich crowd. Shared knowledge has transformed wine development across cultures and the nuances of wine, such as climate and soil issues, are discussed as casually as the taste. If you want a solid overview of what wine is all about, you'll find it in Andrew's classes. No matter what, all is dependent on your own taste. Buy a bottle. Take a swig. The rest is simply enhancement.

Questions or comments?
Alison O'Brien

Article, illustration and photo by Alison O'Brien. First published on 7/10/2004. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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