100% snob free wine zone where everyone can come learn about wine, no matter who you are or how new you are to wine.
You don’t have to be a sommelier or aspire to be one to take these classes. Boston Wine School offers a snob-free zone where people come to learn how to taste, think, and talk about wine. And food pairings. And history, geology, geography, you name it – all the ways people understand and engage with wine.
They offer workshops where you put what you learn about yourself and technical wine tasting into direct expression. Classes are usually 14 people, and their teaching style is interactive, technically informative, and engaging. They teach and learn about wine by tasting wine; equally important, their students learn about themselves and each other.
Jonathon Alsop is the founder & executive director of the Boston Wine School and author of The Wine Lover’s Devotional and In Vino Veritas. He is also a commentator for National Public Radio. His most recent book is Wine Life: A Collection Of Verses. Jonathon began writing about wine, food, and travel in 1988 and emerged as a wine expert through his syndicated wine column In Vino Veritas. He has contributed numerous articles to the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer Magazine, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others.
Jonathon is a contributing journalist and commentator on various wine topics as a monthly guest on NPR: WGBH/Boston Public Radio, Under The Radar With Callie Crossley, and Boston Sunday Review. In addition, he is a frequent guest speaker at universities, corporate events, and wine trade shows worldwide.
The school has not currently offered any sommelier certification programs for many years. Instead, they offer one-off wine-tasting classes for wine enthusiasts. With the level of credibility that Jonathan has garnered over the past decade, he could lead Boston’s wine community. Since 2020, we have warned BWS that new Boston-area wine schools like the Commonwealth Wine School and Grape Experience may overcome their sizable advantages. New England is becoming the hotbed of wine education!
The school suffered during the pandemic, and the scars still show. As a result, the school has reduced its offerings to online only. However, we hope Mr. Alsop can restart his in-person offerings soon, as they were a unique and wonderful experience. The one glimmer of hope we see is the L1 online wine certification program he offers.
One of the reasons his programming has always been loved in Boston was his lack of snobbery. He is decidedly not the typical snob-and-slobber wine instructor. Instead, he is and always has been a breath of fresh air.
We hope Jonathan joins ranks with a university or another wine school to offer sommelier certifications while teaching wine to the masses. If this does happen, we will upgrade our current rating to something closer to a five-star review.
After all, he wrote the perfect review of the movie Sideways when it was released in 2005. Here’s an excerpt:
My favorite thing about “Sideways” is the beautiful soliloquy Madsen delivers as she explains why she loves wine. My least favorite thing was how I cringed every time the Wine Guy said something idiotic about wine that I’d heard myself say before.Jonathan Alsop, Milford Daily News
Love Boston, love this school. Quality of the classes are not consistent. Sometimes it’s brilliant Sometimes its embarrassingly bad.
Many years ago, I took a wine tasting class at BWS. It was so amazing, and I’m glad they are still around.