Shiraz stumps us and ice wines? We're lost. Thank goodness for San Antonio Winery's Wine 101 class this Saturday and Sunday. Though we've been all ears as friends have tried to explain to us how to detect the oaky, buttery notes in a chardonnay, we sometimes wish a wine expert would properly educate us. We long to know how to properly swirl vino in a glass. We also wonder if the running-down bit on the inside is indeed called "legs" (because that's what we've been calling it for years, and no one has corrected us yet, maybe out of embarrassment) and what exactly our nose knows when it comes to tannins.
But the thought of getting wine-smart isn't the only draw. Tucked into the most warehouse-y bit of industrial downtown, San Antonio Winery is a revelation for those who have not been. It's no secret -- go on any weekend day and the tasting counter is thick with eager beavers ready to swish and summarize various beverages -- but still, the place feels special and new every time we visit. New in an old way, of course, since San Antonio has been around for over 90 years (we still marvel at the idea that vineyards used to surround it; now grapes are delivered from up north).
The class, which also includes lunch, runs three hours (note that this is not a two-day class running all weekend; rather, there is a new class each day, and it is best to reserve ahead). Though it is held in a private area at the winery, we recommend peeking inside the barrel-ceilinged public dining room that's just off the gift shop. Twinkly and cozy, the romantic setting makes us long for places in Europe we've never been.
And eat a light breakfast. If you've visited wineries before only to have a wedge of Parmesan-Reggiano and a baguette to gnaw on for your midday meal, your lunch here will be on the heartier side: San Antonio has a full kitchen and an extensive menu. Try as we might, we cannot turn down the pastas. Oh, who are we kidding? We never try.
October 10 and 11, 12-3PM (note: one complete class per day)
San Antonio Winery, 737 Lamar Street