Founded in 2003 by Michael Bryan, Vino Venue, formerly known as the Atlanta Wine School, holds the distinction of being the first wine-centric institution in the Southeast catering to consumers and the wine trade. It has since become a hub for continuous learning, hosting renowned international speakers and connecting with wine enthusiasts in the tens of thousands. Offering a rich resource for wine education, entertainment, and evangelism, the school has solidified its position as a trusted destination for both consumers and trade professionals.
Certifications from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the Wine Scholar Guild have adorned the wine school’s portfolio, enabling it to deliver consumer-friendly wine classes and enriching wine experiences.
In 2012, the establishment expanded to include a wine bar and retail emporium in Dunwoody. The venue now offers a delightful amalgamation of shopping, tasting, dining, education, and entertainment, all within the same roof. Under the guidance of senior instructor Kelly Wheller, who also founded “Con Vinum” – a wholesale wine distributor specializing in fine family estate wines – the space remains an Atlanta destination for wine tastings, private events, and a culinary haven.
The wine experience extends beyond the glass to the plate, with a culinary offering that perfectly complements the diverse selection of wines. The Vino Venu menu ranges from crab cakes to schnitzel, the dishes are crafted with a focus on quality and flavor. Each culinary creation is thoughtfully paired with wines from the extensive selection, ensuring a harmonious symphony of tastes for guests to savor. Whether indulging in a casual tasting or enjoying a full dining experience, the food elevates the overall ambiance, making it an ideal destination for wine enthusiasts and food lovers alike.
The passing of the wine school’s visionary founder, Michael Bryan, in July 2017 left a void in the wine community. An eloquent speaker, superb instructor, and mentor to many, Michael’s inspiration and passion for the wine and culinary world left an indelible mark on countless oenophiles. His legacy lives on through Vino Venue, a testament to his talent and knowledge.
Today, the school operates from a strip mall in Dunwoody, serving as an event space and restaurant with a delectable menu featuring crab cakes and schnitzel. The wine program boasts an Enomatic Wine Dispenser, showcasing an impressive selection of 32 bottles.
Under Kelly Wheller’s continued leadership, the wine school offers diverse wine education programs, including one-off classes and sommelier certifications. The school proudly affiliates with WSET, providing Level 1 to Level 3 programming, as well as offerings from the Wine Scholar Guild.
The pandemic brought challenges, temporarily impacting the focus on wine-tasting classes, but the school remains dedicated to delivering exceptional WSET programming, mainly through online classes.
As Vino Venue thrives in its role as a premier wine school, it honors the memory of its founder, Michael Bryan. The institution’s commitment to excellence in wine education stands strong, and it continues to be a cherished destination for wine enthusiasts seeking top-tier experiences in Georgia and beyond.
The Non-Public Postsecondary Education Commission (NPEC) has approval and licensing authority for consumer protection by regulating the operations of private degree-granting institutions, postsecondary vocation-technical programs, and proprietary schools. NPEC also provides authorization for certificate-granting proprietary schools. In addition, it licenses and approves approximately 150 schools annually.
They maintain a database of all schools licensed in Georgia, currently over 350. However, neither Vino Venue nor the Atlanta Wine School is listed. This is all too common for WSET schools to lean heavily on WSET accreditation, which we feel is too weak: such certification is unlikely to stand up to scrutiny from a state agency.
It’s clear the author is fond of the AWS founder, but the current programs are awful.
The currentl classes are OK, but I can’t leave anything less than a five star review in memory of Michael.