Students sniff and sip wine during the Understanding Wine course with Union Square Hospitality Group

Understanding Wine

Unleash Your Inner Sommelier

John-Ragan-headshot_1x1.jpgThe restaurants of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, North End Grill and Maialino among them) are widely recognized as great places to drink wine, with excellent service, knowledgeable staff and outstanding values to be found throughout the company.

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's New York campus by Ragan, with guest instructors including ICE Director of Wine and Beverage Studies, Richard Vayda, as well as sommeliers from the USHG family of restaurants and other key industry professionals.

In addition to an immersive, in-depth tour of the major wine regions of the world, accompanied by robust tastings, students learn about the winemaking industry, the influence of terroir, how to pair food and wine, tips for buying and collecting wine, and insights into how restaurants build and maintain their cellars.


Enthusiasts and Professionals

Learn how to taste wine with an expert at ICE.

About John Ragan

John Ragan, USHG’s James Beard Award-winning Master Sommelier and Wine Director, works with each of the group’s acclaimed restaurants to ensure exceptional and distinctive wine programs as well as employee education. Previously, John spent five years as Wine Director of Eleven Madison Park, where he earned a Grand Award from Wine Spectator. He is one of three individuals in the world to have been awarded both a James Beard Award for “Outstanding Wine Service” as well as the title of Master Sommelier from the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers.

A 10-week curriculum takes you through all aspects of professional wine tasting.

10-Week Course Curriculum

Week 1: Wine Tasting Like a Pro
Week 2: From the Vineyard to the Table
Week 3: Wines from the New World
Week 4: Bordeaux vs. Burgundy
Week 5: France - Off the Beaten Path
Week 6: The World of Riesling - Alsace, Austria & Germany
Week 7: Italian Holiday - Touring Italy from North to South
Week 8: Picks from the Peninsula - Spain & Portugal
Week 9: Sparkling Wine - Champagne & Beyond
Week 10: Mapping your Palate - Pairing Food & Wine