Wine tastings don't have to be snobby

Posted: March 28, 2014

 B  UZZ: Hey Marnie, keeping busy?

Marnie: I sure am, Buzz. We happen to be in the middle of the first-ever Philly Wine Week, so I've had events every night. Wine seminars, book signings, you name it.

Buzz: I went to a wine tasting once, but never again.

Marnie: You didn't like the wines?

Buzz: The wine was good, but the vibe wasn't - too snooty for me. My friend and I didn't know much about the wines and got the hairy eyeball a couple of times. Now we stick to beer festivals - way more fun.

Marnie: I'm sorry to hear that, Buzz, but wine events have loosened up a lot - you might want to give them another chance. Tonight alone, you could take in a wine-pairing "Cage Match" between dueling wine experts at Alla Spina, or a tasting of obscure "Godforsaken Grapes" at Vintage Wine Bar.

Bistro St. Tropez is putting the fun back in wine with underappreciated European board games, like the French Carcasonne and German Settlers of Catan, while Ristorante Panorama spoofs it up with "Bridesmaids and Barolos."

Buzz: Bridesmaids and Barolos? Sounds like my bachelor party.

Marnie: You can get into their tasting of classic Italian reds for half off if you wear or donate the wedding finery cluttering up your closet.

Buzz: I wonder if my wife would lend me her dress. Tell me more.

Marnie: Take a look at the schedule at, and you'll find all sorts of weekend options from a playful Rioja vs. Priorat taste-off at Bar Ferdinand to a scholarly exploration of the origins of wine from Georgia to Greece at Jet Wine Bar.

Buzz: Georgia? What do they make? Peach wine?

Marnie: No, silly. The other Georgia, the one in the Caucasus mountains near the Black Sea. That's where wine began.

But I've got to run, Buzz. I still have one more event myself - a German-themed wine dinner tonight at Brauhaus Schmitz called "Spechen sie Deutsch?," featuring the wines of German-speaking Europe.

Buzz: OK, I'm going to that. And if things get snooty, expect to get hit with a potato dumpling.

Marnie Old is a local sommelier and

wine author known for practical

advice with real-world relevance.

Her newest book, Wine: A Tasting

Course, is an illustrated crash

course for the wine curious. Marnie

also advises clients in the beverage

and restaurant trades. Check her

out at or follow her

on Twitter at @MarnieOld. Buzz's

musings are interpreted by Daily News Assistant Managing

Editor Gar Joseph.

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