Here’s what went down at the first session of Toronto Life’s Wine School

Here’s what went down at the first session of Toronto Life’s Wine School

School usually doesn’t involve this much wine. But the first class of Toronto Life‘s Wine School was in session last week, and students were thirsty for knowledge. (And wine.)

Led by sommelier Erin Henderson of the Wine Sisters and Drink Toronto, the first of five weekly sessions (they’re all sold out, but the full series will repeat beginning April 17, and limited spots are still available) was all about the foundations of tasting wine, with plenty of smelling, swirling, swishing and sipping high above King Street at Vantage Venues.

On the syllabus for the first week, these six premium wines:

Just like the first day of any class, everyone gets a copy of the syllabus:

But unlike most first days of class, there’s a big group toast at the start:

Henderson started the lesson by reviewing some of the basics of wine tasting:

One of those basics is learning how to hold the glass to observe a wine’s colour:

Photo by Renée Suen

There’s no exam at the end, but don’t be afraid to take notes:

Another of the basics: how to smell wine.

No, the room doesn’t stink. Henderson is just demonstrating how smell—0r lack thereof—affects our ability to taste. (The Coles Notes version: a whole heck of a lot.)

Here’s Henderson moving through the lesson plan:

Did we mention there would be grapes? There were grapes. This was part of a lesson about grape skins, and how they give wine both flavour and colour:

You can tell this is right around the fourth glass of the evening:

Claret? Tawny? Here, a visual aid to a vocabulary lesson on precise descriptions for the colour of red wines:

Here’s Henderson about to tell the class that there’s no homework for next week’s class (other than to drink more wine):

And now, snacks:

See you next week, teach.