Going beyond the basics, many stylish hotels invite guests and visitors to experience educational and social wine tastings. Here are highlights for East Coast travelers and locals.
The Charlesmark Hotel in Boston organizes a “Monthly Wine Tasting Party.” During a $20 self-guided tour on the third Wednesday from 6 to 8 pm, tasters sample three reds and three whites along with light appetizers. “Guests can do the tasting at their own pace,” said Jefferson Ryder, lounge manager. “People are afraid of those with knowledge about wine. If you like it, that’s the most important.”
At Philadelphia’s Sofitel Hotel, Liberté Urban Chic Lounge features nightly “flights” including Scotch, Cognac and Champagne paired with menu items. Launched in 2007, the program includes three 2-ounce glasses, starting at $12. “We have taken wines from regions of the world that have similarities in how they are aged,” says Shelley Dickinson, the hotel’s director of food and beverage.
At the Palomar Hotel in Washington, D.C., Kimpton’s “Wines That Care” program, from 5 to 6 pm nightly, is complimentary for hotel guests at 50 locations. The program is dedicated to “the earth and local communities,” says Sarah Horner, a mid-Atlantic representative, and the hotel has partnered with the Nature Conservancy and Trust for Public Land. “The wine-hour program is about asking the participating wineries to show us how they have similar values to Kimpton regarding social and eco-consciousness,” says Horner.
The Cellar Club at the Biltmore in Miami offers premier members ($125 per month for singles; $175 per month for couples) seven wines at monthly tastings plus live music, art exhibits and other special events. Selections vary depending on the theme; in January, Anything but Chardonnay tasters sampled Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve, San Telmo Torrontés and Rosenblum Viognier, among others. “We recently held a wine festival to give back to the community,” says Yvonne Roberts, director of the Premier Club/Cellar Club Wine and Spirits Program. “We try to make it a fun environment—not to ‘dissect’ the wines but create a true social.”