The Chopping Block: Two Sommeliers = Double Shot of Wine Education

September is back to school time, but that doesn’t only apply to kids. What is a topic you’d like to learn more about as an adult? If you answered cooking or wine, The Chopping Block can help! With two new sommeliers on staff, we are now offering more wine education classes than ever before for all different skill levels.

Mary Ross is an internationally-recognized wine and food professional, educator and journalist. She is the first American woman to receive the Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award of Excellence” and the second American woman to receive the Court of Master Sommelier’s “Advanced Sommelier” degree.

Christophe Bakunas has worked two and half decades in all facets of the wine and spirits world from owning/running a wine bar, producing wines and spirits in three wineries/distilleries on the West Coast to distributing alcohol nationwide as well as in Chicago.

Mary and Christophe’s passion for wine shines through in each of their classes. Here’s what’s coming up in September at The Chopping Block:

How to Bluff Your Way Through Wine on Saturday, September 2 5pm at Merchandise Mart
Mary teaches you the foundation of wine by four simple variables. You’ll discuss a brief history of wine, elements of wine chemistry and professional tasting techniques and tips for pairing wine with your favorite foods. This seminar is a must for entry-level wine drinkers and a fun refresher for more practiced wine aficionados!

Swirl, Sniff, Slurp and Savor on Monday, September 11 7pm at Lincoln Square
Mary shows you how to unlock the secrets of wine with tasting techniques practiced by the pro’s. You’ll also be able to put wine into words that you understand and that your sommelier and wine merchant will understand too.

War and Wine: Grand Cru of Wine Classes on Thursday, September 14 6pm at Merchandise Mart
Christophe’s part history lesson, part wine tasting will teach you all about the wine war of World War II. You’ll take a walk through history while drinking wines from the regions of the French resistance to the Germans.

The Science Behind Tasting Wine on Tuesday, September 27 7pm at Lincoln Square
Christophe leads the nerdiest of all of our wine classes for those who really want to dive into the analytics of professional wine tasting. You’ll learn how to properly taste and analyze wine, but also explore much of the science behind what’s happening when you taste wine and why.

The Italian Renaissance of Wine Friday, September 29 6:30pm at Merchandise Mart
Did you know that until the 1950’s, most Italian wine was sold in bulk, with no reference to grape, region or vintage? Learn from Mary how this nation once known for straw-wrapped bottled of plonk transform into America’s favorite import.
All of our wine classes are designed to get you comfortable with the language of wine, from how to describe what you taste to what you like in a wine. Since Chicago was recently named “Restaurant City of the Year” by Bon Appetit , you may want to step up your wine game so you feel comfortable ordering wine out before you start booking reservations for the places on your bucket list. Get more advice from Mary in her article How to Talk to a Sommelier.

The Chopping Block offers a full list of food-friendly wines. Want to taste through the list without hitting your wallet hard? Join us for weekly Happy Hours at each location, Tuesdays from 4pm-6pm at the Merchandise Mart and Thursdays from 5pm-7pm at Lincoln Square. We offer $7 glasses of select wine each week (you can view the chosen picks on our class calendars.

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