Food  |  Travel

Want to Educate Yourself About Wine? These Wineries Can Help.

Photo by Jeff Mauritzen/Stone Tower Winery.

These wineries offer short classes that are also fun experiences.

Breaux Vineyards’ Virginia School of Wine offers classes targeted at both serious oenophile (“The Anatomy of a Wine Barrel”) and novice (“Drink That With This: Wine Pairings”). $15 to $55; reservations at

Fabbioli Cellars offers seated tastings that are more in depth than a typical tasting. A staff member leads a 15-to-20-minute discussion of seven wines, each paired with a small bite. $15 a person; no reservation needed.

Little Washington Winery has a robust monthly schedule of short, entertaining classes, including “Wine Bootcamp,” “Cheeseology,” and “Bordeaux—Guess the $100 Bottle.” $40 each; reservations at

Pearmund Cellars is hosting an Ameritage wine-blending class and competition. Participants get a selection of wines to choose from (and taste), blending tools, and an education in the art. Those students deemed the “best blenders” will be recognized on the eventual labels. Pick from four dates in August (12, 13, 19, 20). $100 a couple, including light fare, a T-shirt, and a bottle of what you’ve created; to register, call 540-347-3475 or e-mail

Sunset Hills Vineyard’s winemaker leads a “Follow the Grape” series that lets participants try their hand at planting, canopy management, harvest, and barrel tasting. $12, including a glass of wine with Q&A session; register at

Stone Tower Winery offers a 90-minute SOMMinar Series, a brief seminar and tasting focused on a particular varietal or style. The tasting is complemented by a food pairing for each wine. $65; reservations at

Right in Silver Spring is the Urban Winery, where owner/sommelier Damon Callis leads 90-minute “deductive tasting” sessions that help attendees hone their tasting skills. Sessions are twice a month and include small-bite food pairings. $35; reservations 301-585-4100.

Or opt for one of Capital Wine School’s winetastings or seminars in this area, from two-hour courses such as “Introduction to Wine Basics” ($75) and “Wines of Mediterranean France” ($85) to more intensive sommelier courses. Registration at

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This article appears in the May 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

Nancy Bauer

Nancy Bauer is founder of the popular Facebook group, Virginia Wine Love, and the website