A Matter of Taste(ing)

If you have serious wine commitment issues, you’re not alone. Choosing the right wine can be an overwhelming experience, with many inexperienced wine drinkers finding themselves stuck in a rut, afraid to branch out into the many unpronounceables and the vast catalog of winemakers. Luckily, many of our local wine purveyors offer single-day courses and free wine tastings so that you can familiarize yourself with different varietals, regions and winemaking techniques before plunking down for a full bottle.

“[Our class] broadens your horizons so you don’t go, ‘I just drink blah blah blah chardonnay,’” Valley Cheese & Wine owner Bob Howald says. “It gives you a little confidence in your wine-tasting experience.”

Howald and his wife, Kristin Sande, introduce students to six different wines, cheeses and charcuterie every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Classes such as Intro to Wine and Wine and Cheese Pairing are always on the calendar while other classes such as A Trip Through Spain are new each month.

“If we can help [customers] get a few taste verbs that they can use to help explain what they want in a wine, it helps us to help them pick out a better wine,” Howald says. “Where before they just don’t want to say anything, it gives them enough confidence and it starts them down the path to liking different wines.” 1770 Horizon Ridge Parkway, 341-8191 for reservations, ValleyCheeseAndWine.com.

Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits is a local shop that educates guests through free tastings every Thursday at 6 p.m., where a winery owner, winemaker or vineyard representative is doing the actual pouring. This firsthand knowledge is then passed onto the guests. After class, you can enjoy a full glass of your purchased wine in Khoury’s new seating area and enjoy a bite from one of the gourmet food trucks that stop by on a regular basis. 9915 S. Eastern Ave., 435-9463, KhourysFineWine.com.

Total Wine & More locations offer classes in wine and beer taught by special guests and in-store experts at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday. For $25, students taste at least eight different libations and receive take-home educational materials and a discount on all of the evening’s selections. Multiple locations, TotalWine.com.