WAIT LIST! | VENI VIDI VINO Italy In Eight Wines | Boston Wine School @ Beverly Farms

One of the things that makes Italian wine so great – the incredible variety – is also one of the things that makes Italian wine so challenging to understand. From north to south, the grapes change dramatically. Pinot Grigio grown in the Alps and grown in Sicily are both called Italian. To understand Italian wine is to understand how all these multiple nearly identical wines are unique from one another.

Tasting class will begin with ancient but newly re-discovered grapes from southern Italy – Grillo (a chirpy white), Frappato (cherry red), and Primitivo (we call it Zinfandel). Next we’ll taste two Tuscan reds from the heart of Italy: Sangiovese (one level of paperwork away from Brunello) and Chianti DOCG (a delicious opportunity to talk about what each of those letters means). Finally, in northern Italy, we’ll wrap up our taste tour with rich ripe signature wines Valpolicella, Dolcetto, and Barbera.

Your Italian wine confidence will be sky high after this class. We’ll serve bread, cheese, olives and antipasto to go along with the wines we taste to highlight some fundamentals of pairing.


This is a Level 1 introductory course for beginners and enthusiasts. It assumes some exposure to wine but little or no formal wine knowledge. This program is appropriate for both wine lovers and professionals in all wine, food, hospitality and service industries.


Students will taste and learn a broad range of landmark grapes from southern, central, and northern Italy. In just two hours and eight bottles, you’ll know if you’re a Chianti person, or a Sicilian red wine lover, or if your tastes tend to cooler Alpine wines. This class will review some fundamentals of technical wine tasting to start, then taste its way from one end of Italy to the other. The emphasis in class is on giving people tools to understand wine and understand themselves, and then practicing the language of wine in class in the moment of discovery.


2 hour classroom program
6 – 8 wines tasted
Bread, cheese, olives, antipasto


2017 Gorghi Tondi “Kheire” Grillo
2017 Baglio delle Fate Frappato
2013 Menhir Salice Salentino Riserva

2017 Innocenti “Lume” Sangiovese
2014 Pio II Chianti DOCG

2014 La Dama Valpolicella Ripasso
2017 Giorgio Carnevale Dolcetto d’Alba
2014 Tacchino Barbera del Monferrato


Guests, students and certificate candidates must meet the legal minimum age for the retail purchase of alcoholic beverages in the country where the program is being held: 21 in the USA and China.


Jonathon Alsop

JONATHON ALSOP is founder & executive director of the Boston Wine School, author of The Wine Lover’s Devotional and In Vino Veritas, and a commentator for National Public Radio on WGBH | Boston Public Radio and Under The Radar.

He began writing about wine, food and travel in 1988 and emerged as a wine expert through his syndicated wine column. He has contributed numerous articles to the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer Magazine, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others.

Jonathon founded the Boston Wine School in 2000 where he teaches wine and food classes in a dedicated 100% snob-free zone. His new book Wine Life: A Collection Of Verses will be published in 2020.

Wine Word Of The Month: “Lean”

By Jonathon Alsop

BOSTON, MA — It’s hard to speak the language of wine because it’s a language invented by drunk people, but wine lovers blame themselves for the convoluted vocabulary. Talking about wine is like writing a poem where multiple literal and metaphorical images appear and overlap. But it would help if we could get clear on a few basic words.

Someone threw the word “lean” into the mix the other night in class to describe the body of an Italian Pinot Grigio we were tasting. The opposite of “lean” is “fat” or “big and round” – think archetypical California Chardonnay. The PG in question was light in weight and silver in color, edgy, zippy, a little watery, but in a good way.

We use a lot of body image descriptors to talk about wine – a big red can be legitimately called a “body builder” – and they are a natural way to think and talk about wine.

HOMEWORK: Use it in a sentence. For instance: “I want a glass of white wine, something lean and light.”

Paolo Valle Pinot Grigio 2016

Something lean and light? Here you go!

One of the challenges with Italian Pinot Grigio is that it’s extremely different depending on where it’s grown in Italy. Sometimes, grown hot and wild in the south, Pinot Grigio comes off thin and watery, but not this one. Friuli is the foothills of the Alps – next stop, Austria and Slovenia – and the growing season is long and cool. What slow cooking does for food, slow growing does for wine. The result is a suave, rich Pinot Grigio to pair with seafood of all kinds, wild mushroom risotto, even fragrant veal and pork dishes.

2016 Paolo Valle Pinot Grigio
100% Pinot Grigio
(Friuli, northeast Italy, $18.99)