In some respect, every store is an educator: There’s a lot to be learned by wandering the aisles and examining the bottles, and many shops offer tastings. But the retailers listed here go above and beyond, with in-depth and innovative classes.
With two locations in New Jersey, this store has an array of educational opportunities. Casual learners can join the Weekend Wine Tasting Series or Wine Tasting 101 in a dedicated classroom space, while those in search of more formal education can sign up for Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) classes.
Astor Wines & Spirits
New York City
Free tastings are a great way to learn about wine, especially from a shop that has as deep a selection as this. In addition, Astor Wines has a dedicated event space for more formal classes that focus on regions or technical skills like blind tasting.
Learning about wine in a store can spark a passion. Read a personal account at winemag.com/WineEducation
This natural-wine-focused shop, owned by former 40 Under 40 honorees Stevie Stacionis and Josiah Baldivino, is all about community. With that comes educational events like blind tastings, classes and pairing events, for reasonable rates and often with a drop-in format. The store was even designed with education in mind, with wines organized from lighter- to fuller-bodied.
The Raleigh Wine Shop
This shop has nailed online and virtual wine education by creating flights of three canned wines with tasting notes that are shipped to participants. With that, students get a link to a virtual classroom where an expert can guide them through off-site tastings.
Thief Wine Shop & Bar
Even if you’re not able to get to its two Milwaukee-area locations, this shop has tapped out-of-state winemakers to lead virtual tastings that anyone can access. Locally, it works with area wine groups to select bottles, provides information and space for them to meet, and it offers seminars on specific regions, grapes and styles.