Forget Presents, Gift These Philly Food and Drink Classes for the Holidays

Pizza-making classes, wine tastings for every level, and programming kids will love.

le caveau wine bar philadelphia

Whether you want to spend $25 or $500, Philly is full of food-and-drink classes your friends and family will love. / Photograph courtesy of Good King Tavern

Let’s face it, the pressure to nail thoughtful, creative gifts becomes harder every year. But what if instead of focusing on things to buy, you thought about experiences your friends and family would love to have.

We scoured the city to find the best cooking classes, wine-tasting classes, and food-and-drink pairing events to experience with loved ones during the holidays — each listed with prices, atmospheres, and age groups to consider. In other words, we’ve got your holiday  gift situation covered.

Wine Classes

For the wine lover in your life, you could sponsor a professional wine certification course, gift a wine club membership (for starters, email Vernick Wine at or check out the options at JET Wine Bar), or buy a one-off wine-tasting or pairing class. Lower-level certification courses can be helpful for anyone interested in pursuing sommelier or winemaking careers, while wine-tasting classes can be a low-cost way to learn the basics in a group.


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Wine School of Philadelphia, Center City West
Don’t let the faded sign on 22nd Street fool you: The Wine School of Philadelphia has been (and still is) the headquarters for aspiring sommeliers, wine educators, and winemakers since 2001. At the helm is Keith Wallace, a no-nonsense former Napa Valley winemaker, journalist, and consultant that has led wine education programming for decades in Philly and abroad.

The Wine School’s intimate 20-seat room is frequented by National Wine School students, dates, and anyone interested in up-and-coming wine regions like Paso Robles, how to appreciate Port and dessert wines, and why Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines remain at the top of their game. Tasting classes may include multiple flights, a spit cup, and a sheet for note taking, questions, and comments. (Tip: bring your own water bottle and avoid perfume as it interferes with aromas.) Expect a loosely structured 90-minute class where tasting notes and quality are highly debated, questions are welcome, and myth-busting lectures keep everyone engaged.

Who’s it for: The beginner-level wine lover who wants to learn the basics of notable wine regions and producers, or wants guidance on how to swirl, sniff, and sip like a pro in a fun, casual environment.

Pricing: Membership and wine club access starts at $19 a month and requires a six-month minimum. Membership includes 20-percent discounts for classes, free access to members-only monthly events, plus discounts on online sommelier programs from the National Wine School. Wine tasting classes are also open to the public at $75.

Where to buy or sign up: Buy a gift certificate here. Gift certificates can be used for any class or program at the Wine School of Philadelphia and the Philly Beer School. They will never expire and can be used multiple times to receive the full value of the gift.

Whether you want to spend $25 or $500, Philly is full of food-and-drink classes your friends and family will love. / Photograph of courtesy of Le Caveau

Le Caveau, Bella Vista
This cool French wine bar above The Good King Tavern is beloved for its impressive wine list, staff enthusiasm, and specialty by-the-glass pours from popular importers like Le Bouchon and Skurnik Wines. But Le Caveau also offers monthly “Study Group” night class sessions led by long-time staffer and sommelier Aaron Christman. Expect themed tastings focused on multiple expressions of a grape or style of wine not typically available at the bar.

During class, Christman and owner Chloe Grigri share backstories of winemakers and producers who have influenced other generations or contributed to groundbreaking winemaking techniques. The study group comes together at a high-top table near the back shuffleboard, analyzing each wine in detail — a similar process to how the staff is trained on newly arrived wines.

Who’s it for: The curious wine drinker who enjoys talking about tasting notes with others or seeks personalized insider tips from bar staff they know and trust. Someone who wants to learn about natural and low-intervention wines.

Pricing: Each class ranges from $45 to $65 per person depending on the theme. This includes a flight of four two-ounce pours, plus a small plate of crostini bites and cheese.

Where to buy or sign up: Call The Good King Tavern and reference “Study Group” at 215-625-3700. Reservations open two weeks prior. Seating is limited to eight people.


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City Winery, Center City
Dinner and a show is always a great winter activity, and City Winery offers an upgrade with its gift packages. While winery tours are closed for the season, there are extra perks beyond a typical wine club membership that you should know about.

The Vinofile+ membership combines wine and venue deals that include food, music, wine, events, retail, and even parking. Expect access to limited edition wines, exclusive tasting parties (plus ones welcome), an annual private winery tour, monthly wine flights, and a featured wine of the month. There are also discounts and freebies for in-store purchases, restaurant meals, and events with 48-hour advance access to tickets before the public. Plus, more acts are filling up their concert calendar, so we suggest adding Philly’s own AfroTaino showcase of Latinx artists to your gifting queue.

Who’s it for: Family members who are always around — if you’re stumped for things to do with your parents or in-laws, combine food, music and wine under one roof here.

Pricing: The Vinofile+ membership is $30 a month and requires a six-month commitment, while the regular Vinofile membership is $125 annually.

Where to buy or sign up: Buy a gift card here or explore membership gift options here. To transfer the membership, you can contact the box office to set it up or via email at

PhillyWine, Rittenhouse
Every spring and fall, Sofitel Philadelphia’s conference rooms transform into lively, professional-level tasting rooms with wine samples and presentations led by WSET diploma instructors. Educators bring their own personal experiences to the class, and the goal is to become wine-savvy, not snobby.

While certification is PhillyWine’s bread and butter, they’re also introducing one-off wine nights in spring 2023. Think wine-and-cheese night, wine-and-chocolate night, and general ‘Wine 101’ classes that cover certain grapes, regions or portfolios. The school is ramping up plans to roll out industry guest speakers, in-depth food pairings in partnership with different restaurants, and even travel packages abroad.

Who’s it for: Wine aficionados who want to make a professional commitment. This is where you’ll find ambitious wine lovers engaging with trade professionals (sommeliers, winemakers, scholars) to better understand fundamental concepts ranging from the business behind wine to how to break into the industry.

Pricing: Level 1 courses start at $300 with an option for online or in-person classes. Each course includes access to their online classroom for one year, plus an online tutor, and the exam. Does not include wine samples. Learn more here.

Where to buy or sign up: Choose $50 or $100 gift certificates here. These can be used for certification, events or single classes.


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Food & Cooking Classes

The Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center, Fairmount
Did you know Philly is home to the country’s first commercial-grade kitchen in a library? You’ll find it on the fourth floor of the Parkway Central Library, where hands-on cooking programs led by professionals (like Valerie Erwin of former Mount Airy’s Geechee Girl Rice Cafe and Amy Rivera-Nassar of Amy’s Pastelillos popups) take place along with weekly classes (both in-person and virtual), “Talk and Taste” cookbook author events, lectures, and workshops. The Culinary Literacy Center runs programming across the city’s library locations, using food as a teaching tool for developing good nutritional habits, cultural competence, and STEAM and English-language skills.

There’s something educational and fun for everyone. The Edible Alphabet series helps students improve their English skills while cooking fun recipes and eating delicious foods. Plus, seasonal on-site cooking (and eating) workshops change often. This winter’s lineup includes a film screening and scrapple tasting with chef Adam Diltz of Elwood to learn about Pennsylvania’s Dutch heritage and culture, Czech holiday cookies baking session, holiday kitchen quizzo covering holiday culinary traditions across the globe, and Your Gingerbread Library workshop presented with the Philadelphia Center for Architecture and Design.

Who’s it for: All age groups in search of low-cost food and cultural activities, especially those eager to develop basic cooking skills.

Pricing: Most classes are $25 or under. Ticketed classes fund free public programming.

Where to buy or sign up: Order a gift card here and attend a future class here.


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La Cucina at the Market, Center City
If you want a crash course in Italian cooking, then Anna Maria Florio’s home-style cooking classes are a must. Florio came to Philly as an infant from Italy, traveling back often to visit her family of restaurant owners in Campania.

La Cucina’s location resembles a large home kitchen, utilizing many ingredients sourced from Reading Terminal Market merchants. Come prepared with a bottle of wine (it’s BYOB), these classes are three hours long but lively — you might make two, three, or even four dishes over several hours — all to be discussed, eaten, and shared at the end of class like a real family would. Florio encourages everyone to meet and interact with others outside their own group. At the end of the meal, expect to go home with recipes so you can replicate the cooking experience yourself.

Who’s it for: Adults who want to up their cooking game with hands-on guidance. These classes cater to various levels of cooking experience but are generally too advanced for kids.

Pricing: Pricing varies, but generally classes start at $125 per person. Learn more here. Attendance is capped at 20 people, while private events can accommodate larger groups.

Where to buy or sign up: Buy a gift certificate here and let the recipient choose their class of interest.


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High Street, Washington Square West
Everyone knows that Philly is a bread-loving town. For anyone looking to get their hands in the dough themselves, High Street’s classes make for a great gift. Thursday nights at the bakery turn into a pizza-making class, while Sunday afternoons are dedicated to comparatively more chill baking sessions.

Longtime bakery and restaurant chef Christina McKeough and her team open the space to teach fans the foundations of its award-winning bread program. During pizza class, students gather around a large wooden island where their mise-en-place awaits: measured flour and yeast, tomato sauce, white sauce, grated cheese, and toppings (yes, you want anchovies, obviously). Here, you’ll learn each step in making killer pizza – from weighing and stretching the dough to spreading the sauce to managing the oven temperature for the perfect crust.

Baking classes are tiered by experience level and area of interest with a two-hour deep dive led by the head baker, Delilah Pergola. Beginner classes include how to make cookies and shortbreads and scale up to pies, galettes, and brioche in the intermediate classes. Advanced-level students take on layer cakes and tarts.

Who’s it for: Anyone excited to learn some dough skills they can recreate at home. Kids ages five and older are welcome to join, too.

Pricing: One ticket covers up to six participants. Pizza classes are $300, while baking classes start at $300 for the beginner level.

Where to buy or sign-up: Book a class here.


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Santé Dinner Parties, Italian Market
Philadelphia food pop-ups are a pandemic-era trend with no signs of slowing down. One example? Sommelier Daniel Solway brings the concept to his home, pairing wines with tasting menus from up-and-coming chefs like Tonii Hicks (happening December 14) or partnering with tastemakers like Neal Rosenthal, owner and founder of Rosenthal Wine Merchants, one of the leading importers of quality wine in the U.S.

What started as Zoom wine classes for Solway’s friends and family during the pandemic has evolved into an intimate dinner series that welcomes 16 to 25 diners hungry to try unexpected food-and-wine pairings. Walking into Solway’s Italian Market rowhome is surprisingly like walking into a makeshift restaurant, with two-tops and larger group tables where family-style dining naturally leads to meeting new people. Solway’s fluid operation allows local chefs — often people of color — to showcase a menu that diners may not be exposed to elsewhere. In between courses, Solway educates guests on wine producers, regions, and tasting notes. His approach for each pairing is to make connections with the cuisine, finding similarities in flavor profiles, and challenging common perceptions about wine. This atmosphere of passion, storytelling, and community means that no two dinners are the same. Don’t leave without a porrón pour or amaro nightcap.

Who’s it for: Outgoing people who want a one-night-only experience outside of a fine dining restaurant.

Pricing: Prix-fixe dinners are typically priced at $75 plus $40 for the wine pairings. Wines by the glass and non-alcoholic beverages are also offered — just ask. Stay up-to-date on upcoming events at or @sante_phl.

Where to buy or sign up: Buy a gift card here. Note there are two options to choose from: pop-up dinner for two at $275 or a private at-home group tasting for $600 (must be local to the Philadelphia area).