Wine Education, the Wine Disciples Way

April 1, 2016 9:08 am Last Updated: April 1, 2016 9:10 am

Welcome to Wine Education 101. You can either read up on the technical specs—percentage of varietals, alcohol content, and so on—pour yourself a glass, or head over to Wine Disciples.

Dylan York, a 20-year-plus wine industry veteran and certified sommelier, is keen on throwing out the teaching manual on wines. “We’ve been teaching you the wrong way,” he said, addressing a group at a recent wine tasting class held at Wine Disciples Enoteca.

York, who regularly holds sold-out classes, summed it up, “We should just taste.”

His approach is refreshing. At the aptly named Find Your Palate class, the bottom line is not his opinion, or any other expert’s, but a matter of personal taste.

After sizing up a wine visually for color, clarity, and viscosity, it’s right down to the tasting.

“What’s the first thing that pops into your head?” York asks. The tasters are hesitant. They venture … flowers? But as the wine flows, the impressions are shared more readily: green apple, white flowers, then later, cherries, barnyard, and on it goes.

Wine educator Dylan York at Wine Disciples Enoteca in Manhattan. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Wine educator Dylan York at Wine Disciples Enoteca in Manhattan. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

As the class progresses, the tasters seem to grow more confident—which could be attributed to a bit of Dutch courage. Over three glasses of white and three glasses of red, questions and answers about terroir, microclimates, acidity, and tannins go back and forth. If Socrates held a wine class, it might look something like this. It’s clear York knows plenty but his answers are always relevant to the context, and he is generous with this knowledge in a way that doesn’t make you feel how little you know in comparison.

The wines are artisanal and come from top producers. Though York tells you about the wines, he saves the prices for the end of the class. It avoids a bias toward the more pricey wines. At this particular tasting, the least expensive turned out to be a crisp, aromatic 2013 Recuerdo Torrontes (at $13.99) from Argentina, and the most expensive a very nice 2010 McCrorie Family “Burly” cabernet sauvignon from Napa ($67.99)—well, judging by the latter, sometimes, prices do account for something.

The wines rotate, so the classes are never the same.

Attendees get a 10 percent discount at the Wine Disciples Shop and the Wine Disciples Enoteca on the day of their class.

For more information or to register, visit

Upcoming Classes at Wine Disciples Enoteca

Classes are taught by Dylan York or Georgi Vladimirov. Each costs $50.

Degrees of Flavor
How climate and vintage affect flavor profiles.
Saturday, April 16
3 p.m.–5 p.m.

Find Your Palate
Learning the language of wine and how it relates to your personal taste.
Saturday, April 30
3 p.m.–5 p.m.

Find Your Palate
Monday, May 16
6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

Degrees of Flavor
Saturday, May 21
3 p.m.–5 p.m.

Classes can be also be organized for groups.