2005_02_food_wine_03.jpgThe great thing about wine is no matter how much you know, you don’t know much. So when Gothamist heard there were new wine classes offered at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) we had to check them out.

ICE built their new wine facility with full air ventilation, bright incandescent lighting and fancy white tabletops (for accurate wine viewing), all great, but would the highlight of our evening be the countertops? Well they were Formica, but we assure you the true star of the evening was the instructor Anthony Giglio – Sommelier, Wine Columnist and Food Critic.

The class, “Sicily, The New Down Under”, which started 15 minutes late – or as Giglio put it “45 minutes early on Sicilian time” – was that rare combination of informative AND entertaining. For $70, we tasted eight wines (three white and four red), learned about the history and culture of Sicilian wines and were entertained with stories of Giglio’s travels.

What took this class to the next level was Giglio’s ability to make the complex approachable. He kept the entire class engaged and I venture to say, everybody walked out of there a little smarter…and perhaps a little drunker.

If Sicilian wine isn’t your speed there are plenty of other classes to choose from – from food and wine pairings to a Maryland Crab Fest. To view the available courses and get more information on how to register visit their website at www.iceculinary.com. Also, PJ Wine is offering a 7 week course with Michael Green, Wine Consultant to Gourmet Magazine. For those looking for a comprehensive grape to cork experience (and have $695 to spend) this class should be an amazing experience.

Wine doesn’t have to be an esoteric topic, discussed in pretentious clubs with mahogany wainscoting and uncomfortable antique chairs. It can be approachable, dynamic and discussed in full air ventilation with fancy white tabletops.

Photo courtesy Institute of Culinary Education