Wine glasses on a table with a spit bucket

Center for Wine Studies

Indulge Your Inner Sommelier at ICE

The ICE Center for Wine Studies in NYC is designed to build your understanding, awareness and appreciation for the whole spectrum of wine, as well as other beverages such as beer, spirits and sake.

The Center for Wine Studies offers one-session, two-session and six-session classes.

The most in-depth wine tasting class is our popular Wine Essentials class, which meets once a week for six weeks, with each session dedicated to a particular topic, such as Bordeaux or sparkling and dessert wines. Our wine and food workshops show students how to best enjoy wines in combination with food. ICE also offers classes exploring regional wines, such as France, Italy and the west coast of the United States. Whatever your wine tastes or experience, there is a class at ICE to fulfill them.

ICE also has a certificate program. The first level of certification is called the Premier Cru Certificate and the advanced second level is titled the Grand Cru Certificate. Earning these is a way to affirm your newfound knowledge and sample a globe's worth of great wine.

Our wine tasting room is a 900 square-foot facility with full ventilation (so cooking odors from the pastry kitchens don't intrude), bright incandescent light and white tabletops (for accurate wine viewing). The instructors who teach our wine tastings and classes, as well as our beer and spirits classes, are some of the most competent and celebrated in all of New York City.

For students who have completed the Wine Essentials program and wish to take the Wine Exam, please click here to get started.

USHG and ICE's course Understanding Wine in NYC.

Understanding Wine

Join USHG’s James Beard Award-winning Wine Director and Master Sommelier, John Ragan, for a unique wine course offered in collaboration with the Institute of Culinary Education, and based on the same insider educational curriculum taught to all USHG sommeliers. Each session is taught at ICE by Ragan, with guest instructors including ICE Director of Wine and Beverage Studies, Richard Vayda, and other key industry professionals.

ICE instructor Richard Vayda sniffs a glass of wine and describes it to students in class

Introduction to Wine

  • Richard Vayda
  • Thursdays, July 12-19, 6:30-8:30pm
  • Thursdays, September 27-October 4, 6:30-8:30pm
  • $190 • 2 sessions
  • Level 1

This class, crafted by ICE's Director of Wine Studies, 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.

Wine tasting at Institute of Culinary Education

Wine for Couples

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

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.

A couple drinking wine at sunset at the Institute of Culinary Education with views of the Hudson river

Blind Tasting Basics: Taste Like a Professional

  • Tess Rose Lampert
  • Saturday, August 11, 6:30-8:30pm
  • $95 • 1 session
  • Level 1

Learn the language of wine and explore your palate through the excitement of a blind tasting, guided by wine expert Tess Rose Lampert. As we taste different styles of wines, we'll compare and contrast, employing the same wine vocabulary that professional sommeliers use. This flavor-based approach will let you explore your preferred style of wine without any bias, leaving you with the confidence and vocabulary to describe and choose your ideal wine from now on!

Essentials of Wine

Red wine and wine wine glasses with the ICE logo

Wine Essentials: Classic World Wine Tour

  • Richard Vayda
  • Wednesdays, July 18-August 22, 6:30-8:30pm
  • $495 • 6 sessions
  • Level 1

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.

A woman holds a glass of white wine at ICE

Essential Wines of Australia & New Zealand

  • Richard Vayda
  • TBD
  • $95 • 1 session
  • Level 1

Much more than just Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc, these two relatively recent world wine powerhouses make some of the most delicious wines available, in every category and every style. This tasting with ICE’s resident sommelier, Richard Vayda, explores the regions' no-holds-barred range of wines—from big, fruity reds to nuanced Pinot Noirs to traditionally produced sparkling wines. A look at each country’s geography, labeling, and complementing cheeses will be included.

A man sniffs the wine in his glass in a wine tasting class at the Institute of Culinary Education

Wine Essentials II

  • Richard Vayda
  • TBD
  • $325 • 4 sessions
  • Level 2

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.

wine corks stacked on top of each other

Essential Wines of Spain & Portugal

  • Richard Vayda
  • TBD
  • $95 • 1 session
  • Level 1

One of the oldest winemaking areas of the world, the Iberian Peninsula is currently considered one of the most exciting as well! Steeped in tradition, but not afraid to update and experiment, Spain and Portugal offer an incredible array of elegant, delicious, and varied wines. This class, led by ICE’s resident sommelier, Richard Vayda, offers a sampling of some top regions’ Reservas, as well as fascinating lesser known examples. Specially chosen regional cheeses and bites will accompany our delightful tasting.

A man smells wine in a wine tasting class at ICE

Essential Wines of Southern Italy

  • Richard Vayda
  • TBD
  • $95 • 1 session
  • Level 1

Southern Italy: land of stunning coastlines, waterside beach towns and famous archaeological sites—as well as some marvelous, often overlooked wines. This area is often credited as the birthplace of Italian wine, as Greek explorers and merchants recognized the area’s potential. Wine production dates back to around 800 B.C., leading to the great wine trading center of Pompeii. This class explores the variety and treasures of this region, from its bright Greek-related whites to its dense smoky reds and fortified island wines. Join Richard Vayda, ICE’s resident sommelier, in this southern Italian survey—currently Italy’s fastest-growing wine-export region. Cheeses and other snacks will be paired with your wines during the tasting.

Wine bottles

Essential Wines of the Loire Valley & Alsace

  • Richard Vayda
  • Thursday, August 9, 6:30-8:30pm
  • $95 • 1 session • Level 1

These two northern areas French areas, though not neighbors, offer a delicious chance for comparison. Both appellations are known for their diverse wines and styles. This tasting, led by Richard Vayda, ICE’s resident sommelier, will touch on a bit of them all—sparkling, white, Rosé, red, and sweet. A discussion of French wine regulations and labeling, as well as a taste of some regional cheeses, will be included.

man in blue shirt drinking wine in class at ICE

Essential Wines of Tuscany

  • Richard Vayda
  • Friday, August 31, 6:30-8:30pm
  • $95 • 1 session
  • Level 1

Italy produces wine from hundreds of different grape varieties, making its offerings varied, interesting, and sometimes a bit hard to grasp. This tasting concentrates on the wines from Toscana, Italy’s third largest quality wine producing region. Although many of the wines are Sangiovese based, the distinctive terroirs and other cultivated varieties offer a diverse tasting opportunity, ranging from tasty whites to Old World and international-style reds, as well as traditional sweet wines. ICE’s resident sommelier, Richard Vayda, will also discuss Tuscan wine history and Italian wine labeling. Regional cheeses will accompany the tasting.

Wine & Food Pairing Classes