POUND RIDGE, N.Y. Alex Rubeo is on a mission to make wine less intimidating.
The owner of Pound Ridge Wines & Spirits and Mariellas Wine & Espresso Bar in Scotts Corners created a weekly wine class in December and the limited number of spots available have been filling up since.
Wine can be confusing and intimidating and this helps people become more informed, Rubeo said. Its a free class, but its not completely altruistic on my part; it does make people better buyers.
The class is held every Thursday night at Mariellas. Each one has a different theme or topic and is taught by a wine professional, usually a friend of Rubeos he knows from the industry.
The topics can range from a specific winery to wines from a particular country, he said. This week its about Spanish wines from different regions and well pair them up with different Spanish cheeses. Recently, we did one that was all about wines from Chimney Rock Winery in Napa Valley.
Next weeks class will be taught by a representative from J. Lohr Winery in California. Rubeo said the winery is known for mass-produced wines, but also has single-vineyard labels, which will be the focus of the event.
Attendees of the class learn an eclectic array of information about wines. Some classes teach why certain wines go with certain foods. Other times, the teachers will explain why the same grape grown in different regions develop a different taste.
We did a class on pinot noir, Rubeo explained. Its the same grape, but its grown in different places. In California, it ripens fasters and we find that with those wines the fruit will be more present.
The main thing the classes aim to do, Rubeo said, is create a more confident wine lover who will understand what hes looking for when he enters a wine shop.
How can you explain Bordeaux in an hour? You cant, Rubeo said. We show them this is what it tastes like at $12 and this is what it tastes like at $60. We teach them not to be afraid.
Rubeo has also created a Wine of the Month Club and its members are afforded the first chance to sign up for the weekly wine classes. However, theres usually plenty of room at the classes for non-club members.
The Wine Club members have first dibs, but they dont take up all the seats, he said. For tonights class, only two of the 13 people whove signed up are in the club.
Rubeo said the best way to sign up for the weekly classes is to get on his e-mail mailing list, which will inform subscribers what the class topic is that week and give them an opportunity to RSVP. To get on the mailing list, write to Rubeo at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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