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Wine Classes

Wine Classes at ICE

Napa and Sonoma: The California Reserves

with Richard Vayda
Wednesday, September 7, 6:30-8:30pm
$90 • 1 session

California is the top U.S. wine producer by far. When most people think of California wines, Sonoma and Napa valleys immediately come to mind. But in reality, only about 10% of the state’s wine come from these two celebrated regions.This evening’s tasting, hosted by ICE’s resident sommelier, Richard Vayda, pits the two regions' best varietals side by side in a no-holds-barred face-off! Come help judge the best and the tastiest from these two renowned areas. Delicious California cheeses will accompany the wines, of course!

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Introduction to Wine

Richard Vayda
Mondays, September 12-19, 6:30-8:30pm
or Fridays, November 4-11, 6:30-8:30pm
or Wednesdays, January 11-18, 6:30-8:30pm
$190 • 2 sessions

This class, crafted by ICE's resident sommelier, Richard Vayda, is tailored to the wine novice who wants a quick, fun, and basic introduction to the world of the grape. You'll learn the fundamentals of wine, wine tasting, and appreciation, which will start you on the road to critically judging wine color, aroma, flavor, and body. You’ll discover the meaning of such wine concepts as dryness, acidity, fruitiness, tannins, varietals, vintages, and more. Participants interested in continuing their exploration of wine are encouraged to go on to Wine Essentials.

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Understanding Wine: A Course for Enthusiasts and Professionals

Classes led by John Ragan and taught by top NYC wine and beverage experts
Tuesdays, September 13-November 15, 6:30-9pm
$1,750 • 10 sessions

Are you a serious wine lover looking to deepen your knowledge? Do you want access to the same wine training that Danny Meyer’s sommeliers receive? Do you want to learn to talk intelligently about wine, or start your own collection? If you answered “yes’’ to any of these questions, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this 10-week journey through the wine regions of the world brought to you by ICE along with Union Square Hospitality Group wine director and Master Sommelier, John Ragan. Each week, the course will feature guest instructors including ICE’s Director of Wine Studies, Richard Vayda, as well as wine directors and sommeliers from Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, and other restaurants from the USHG family. As part of each class, light bites will be provided by ICE’s chefs. This fast-paced and dynamic curriculum, until now offered exclusively for USHG staff, will take you through all the great wine regions of the world, and includes insights into tasting, pairing, collecting, and much more.

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Wine for Couples

W.R. Tish
Saturday, September 17, 6:30-8:30pm
or Saturday, January 21, 6:30-8:30pm
$180 for two • 1 session

Couples that enjoy good wine and good food live in the best possible city to indulge in both. But they can appreciate its treasures even more when they each have a better grasp of what types of wines they enjoy. Some wines are light, some are heavy; some sharp with acidity, some rough with tannin; some have oak, some don't. The aim of this class will be to gauge what styles of wine appeal most to you—together and individually. Noted wine writer and humorist W. R. Tish, of, will lead you through a range of diverse offerings that are sure to engage your senses and help you make sense of all that the wine world has to offer. Come with a date—or with a group of friends!

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Wine Essentials: Classic World Wine Tour

Richard Vayda
or Wednesdays, Sept 21-Nov 2, 6:30-8:30pm
or Mondays, Oct 24-Dec 5, 6:30-8:30pm
or Thursdays, Nov 17-Jan 5, 6:30-8:30pm
or Tuesdays, Dec13-Jan 24, 6:30-8:30pm
or Fridays, Jan 20-Mar3, 6:30-8:30pm
or Wednesdays, Feb15-Mar 22, 6:30-8:30pm
$495 • 6 sessions

This six-week course, created by ICE Director of Wine Studies Richard Vayda, uses grape varietals, as well as winemaking regions, as the keys to understanding the full wine spectrum. You will receive a thorough introduction to winemaking, tasting, laws, and labeling as you learn about wine components and taste some of the world’s most celebrated wines.

Session 1: Winemaking and Wine-Tasting Basics
Session 2: France: The Wines and Grapes of Burgundy and Bordeaux
Session 3: The Major Wines and Varietals of Italy
Session 4: Spanish and Warm-Climate Wines
Session 5: West Coast and New World Wines
Session 6: A Tour of Sparkling Wine

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Burgundy Grand Tasting

with Richard Vayda
Thursday, September 22, 6:30-8:30pm
$125 • 1 session

Richard Vayda, ICE's resident sommelier, searches the ICE cellar to find some lovely aged Burgundies to pair with younger samples, offering a true overview of the Bourgogne. This special tasting will feature older Premier Cru wines, a Grand Cru, and regional cheeses. Experience the best of Burgundy under the experienced eye of a truly knowledgeable wine connoisseur!

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Advanced Varietal Studies in Wine

Richard Vayda
Thursdays, October 6-27, 6:30-8:30pm
or Tuesdays, February 21-March 14, 6:30-8:30pm
$325 • 4 sessions

This four-week continuation of the Wine Essentials series offers in-depth exploration and tastings of some of the world’s more interesting and unusual wines. Studies will include an expanded array of lesser-known varietals and wines, as each class concentrates on one wine category and delves into the wines’ production, characteristics, and uses, including discussions of food and wine pairing.

Session 1: Advanced White Wines: Side-by-Side Tasting of Interesting Aromatic and
   Fruity Wines
Session 2: Advanced Red Wines: In-Depth Comparison of Selected Wines from
   Old and New World Regions
Session 3: Off-Dry to Sweet: Exploration of Elegant Rieslings to Cru Classé
Session 4:Fortified and Aromatized Wines with Wine Service: Fascinating Wines,
   from Vermouths and Sherries to Madeiras and Portos.  

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Barolo, Barbaresco, and Other Piemonte Stars

with Richard Vayda
Friday, October 14, 6:30-8:30pm
$100 • 1 session

Treasures abound in Italy's Piemonte region. This gorgeous tasting canvasses the landscape by highlighting some of its gems, centering on the region's tasty Nebbiolos, including Barolo and Barbaresco. Floral, earthy, red fruit with leather—these wines range from rustic to elegantly regal. ICE’s resident sommelier, Richard Vayda, guides your tour of this region’s wine delights, accompanied by some appropriately refined cheeses and other treats. Here is your chance to sample "le stelle del Piemonte" (the stars of Piedmont)!

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Extreme Wines

W.R. Tish
Friday, October 28, 6:30-8:30pm
$95 • 1 session

If Chardonnay and Cabernet make you yawn, it's time to shake up your wine world in a big way. Join noted wine writer and NYC wine-trade expert W.R. Tish for a roundup of fascinating wines just now appearing on our radar. We'll discuss and taste examples of wines from grapes like Assyrtiko, Arinto, and Zweigelt, and from regions from Colares, Gaillac, and even Tasmania. These wines are sure to be palate-pleasing and mind-opening, so don't miss this one-of-a-kind evening!

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Great Holiday Wines for Under $20 and Over $50

Richard Vayda
Friday, November 18, 6:30-8:30pm
$95 • 1 session

Does a high price really imply high quality? Along with our resident sommelier, Richard Vayda, you'll examine this and other fascinating questions about the value and cost of wine. First you’ll taste a selection of terrific wines on the lower end of the price scale, followed by some fabulous wines from the higher end that are prefct for the holiday season. Then, in a fun blind-tasting format, you will be the ultimate judge of quality.

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Holiday Wine Social

W.R. Tish
Friday, December 2, 6:30-8:30pm
$95 • 1 session

If your New Year resolutions included learning more about wine and meeting new people, you're in luck! ICE's Wine Social will present 18 wines that cover a wide range of grapes, regions, and styles—all in a casual format that encourages schmoozing with fellow wine lovers. The wines will be selected and presented by wine writer and humorist W. R. Tish. Detailed programs mean you will be able to spend more time chatting, less time jotting. Come single or come as a group: It's all about fun and good taste. Hors d'oeuvres will also be served.

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Up-and-Coming Italian Wines

Joe Campanale
Monday, December 5, 6:30-8:30pm
$95 • 1 session

Italy has the most diverse wine culture in the world, with wines made all over Italy's "boot," using over 1,000 indigenous and nonnative grapes. Even though Italy has such a deep winemaking history, right now is the best time to be drinking Italian wines. Old grapes are being rediscovered, and winemakers are moving to previously unknown wine regions. This class with sommelier Joe Campanale, beverage director and co-owner of dell’anima and three other restaurants, showcases the most exciting emerging wines and regions in Italy. Through a series of luscious tastings, prepare to be transported from the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna to the funky natural wines of the north.

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Sommelier Secrets

Richard Vayda
Thursday, January 12, 6:30-8:30pm
$95 • 1 session

Nothing is more daunting than having a wine list the size of a phonebook, swimming with incomprehensible foreign terms, dumped into your lap while you’re trying to enjoy a night out. Never fear! This class will forever help you navigate those perilous shoals. Using samples from contemporary wine lists, ICE Director of Wine Studies Richard Vayda will explain the meaning behind the various terms and categories on the typical wine list, and illustrate each by pouring you samples to enjoy. By evening’s end, you will have a firm grasp of the subject and enough background to make informed, delicious choices—and actually have fun while doing it!

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Introduction to Spanish Wines

Ashley Santoro
Thursday, January 19, 6:30-8:30pm
$95 • 1 session

Take a road trip through Spain! Let sommelier Ashley Santoro, of The Standard hotel's restaurants, and the former wine director of Casa Mono and Bar Jamon, take you on a mind-expanding and palate-opening road trip through one of the most exciting wine regions of Europe. She'll guide you as you explore recognized regions such as Rioja and Ribera del Duero, and discover exciting developments within Galicia, the Canary Islands, and Andalusia. Throughout the tasting, we’ll be offering light pairings to accompany the wines.

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Reserves from the ICE Cellar

Richard Vayda
Thursday, February 9, 6:30-8:30pm
$130 • 1 session

ICE's resident sommelier, Richard Vayda, raids the cellar for this spectacular biannual tasting of selected premium wines. You will enjoy Cru Burgundies and Bordeaux, aged American Pinots and Cabernets, and other gems in a side-by-side tasting. The evening will start with a delicious sparkling wine, followed by samplings of an ever-varying collection from around the world. We'll end, naturally, with a decanter of vintage dessert wine. Selections change from year to year. You will also enjoy fine cheeses and other nibbles to enjoy the unique beverage selections.

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