School Is in Session at Wainscott Main Wine & Spirits

Photo courtesy of New York 90

The weather may make the arrival of spring seem like a dubiously optimistic pronouncement, but we’ll take it! Especially since Wainscott Main Wine & Spirits has begun its Wednesday wine series for its spring semester, releasing a schedule of thought-provoking topics taught by knowledgeable experts—and an exciting teaser for a class field trip that this year, may add another stamp to your passport.

Organized by Chimene Macnaughton, the shop’s GM and sommelier extraordinaire, this season’s classes step up what is already a five-year tradition of offering the public access to world-renowned makers, masters, educators, importers, and portfolio managers of wine for a shockingly low cost of $10 per class and for tastes of 6-8 wines, and a welcome pour of bubbles or rose.

“Every season, there’s someone—or someones!that I call our ‘no way!’ speakers: industry heavy-hitters that are either based way out of area, big-time or incredibly busy. This season, it’s Thomas Pastuszak, the Wine Director at The NoMad in New York,” Macnaughton confides with pride. “He’s an experienced sommelier from the Finger Lakes making wine in the Finger Lakes. Who better to teach us about these beautiful wines?” She asks.

Who better, indeed? He closes the series on May 9 with his talk, “A Native’s Consideration: The Finger Lakes.” But from now until then, there’s a bevy of other stars who will add more happy to your Wednesday night hours.

Kicking it all off was American Sommelier co-founder and Wine Symphony owner Andrew Bell, followed by Patrick Cullen of Nick & Toni’s, who taught the ins and outs of how to decode the list and finding hidden gems. On March 21, Roman Roth, partner at Wolffer Estate and winemaker at The Grapes of Roth, will introduce to us “An Old World Palate on Long Island”; on March 28, Jennifer Lucia of Skurnik Wines will take oenophiles to the volcanoes of the world with “Drink the Volcano! A Study in Terroir.”

Andrew Bell gives a wine tasting workshop at Wainscott Wine. • Photo by Lindsay Morris

“We usually build the series so that the classes can stand alone,” says Chimene, “but the whole program complements itself.” What ties them all together in the past few have been a “focus on scarcity and lack in a particular region or vintage, what that does to market forces and how it impacts the consumer,” she elaborates.

“We’ve looked at indigenous grapes through multiple different lenses—tasting wines from their place of origin and then comparing them to that grape grown elsewhere, or looking at a particular region known for grapes that come only from that place, as Jennifer Lucia’s class will.”

Classes tend to be highly experiential, and the upcoming ones are no different. In April, Nick & Toni’s and Wainscott Main sommelier Luis Marin guides a Sense Memory Show & Tell on the 11th, while Erica Sigler of Verity Wine Partners asks “What Drives Deliciousness” during her Burgundy intensive the week after. Michele Peters from David Bowler Wines adds her perspective with “@winewonderwoman’s Journey in Wine” the next Wednesday, while Chimene herself hosts a #RoseAllDday soiree May 2nd.

As if that weren’t enough, a mystery field trip—inspired by trips like last year’s sustainable wine-focused one, which Edible East End covered in What’s Good for the Grape is Good for the Growerplanned for this fall begins to take shape this season. Consider this year’s planned journey to Piemonte, Italy—a study abroad, if you will—for a small group of only about 20 students. With dates planned for truffle season and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that take you back to the old world in even older style, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate any kind of graduation.

Registering for these 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. classes is the only pre-requisite you need to dig into the world of wine; you can do so at or by calling 631.537.2800. For extra credit, students enjoy 10% off any bottle and 15% – 20% case discounts!