Taste: Don’t Drink Alone

The Philadelphia area has more events for wine lovers than ever before. Thanks to the 21st-­century ease of Internet communication, a diverse crowd that appreciates wine can find tastings, seminars and dinners to broaden its horizons.

The most complete calendar of area events can be found at localwineevents.com. This Malvern-based free listing service for wine, beer and food happenings has grown to international prominence. Visitors can scan for tastings or dinners by region, from Japan to New Jersey.

Wine connoisseurs in this area can kick off their weekends in style with informal but informative sommelier Bill Eccleston’s “Friday Night Flights,” relaxed wine-­tasting happy hours and light food for $20 at Ristorante Panorama in Old City. The Inn Keeper’s Kitchen at the Dilworthtown Inn has a lively schedule of wine dinners, most under $75. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has launched First Friday wine programs connecting themes in art and wine, ranging from $45 tastings to $95 five-course dinners. And in May, the Philadelphia Wine Festival, sponsored by this magazine, will bring together more than 100 of the world’s top wineries. Tickets to the Grand Tasting sell out quickly, even at $95 a pop, but the festival’s Winemaker Dinner Series offers a taste of the goings-on at area restaurants.

Those more seriously inclined may prefer classes that emphasize sipping over socializing. Fairmount’s popular Wine School of Philadelphia takes a lighthearted approach to entry-level wine classes, at $35 per class on average. And universities like Temple offer non-credit wine courses at $45 to $95 per class. But those with a thirst for expert-level knowledge should seek out local classes presented by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. This London-based trade group offers its full range of internationally respected certifications in wine in only three American cities, and we’re lucky enough to be one.

Marnie Old discusses wines, beers and spirits at marnieold.com. She may consult for some of the businesses she writes about. E-mail: mail@phillymag.com