Little Washington Winery’s Wine Education Classes allow everyone at every level to enjoy food and wine while learning about wine
I had heard great things about the weekend wine education classes offered by Carl and Donna Henrickson, owners of Little Washington Winery, and had to check it out for myself.
We signed up for the Vintners Table Learning Lunch where Donna provided a guided wine and food pairing exploring tapas-sized foods that took us through entrees, a cheese course, desserts and chocolate delicacies (from their own chocolate shop). Each food was paired with a different wine or port-style wine. We were more than full, and surprised by what did—and wouldn’t—pair well together.
One of the most valuable take-aways was the Little Washington Winery’s Cheat Sheet. It lists the type of wine, the main flavors associate with it and the perfect food pairings. Hang this in your kitchen and you’ll never question which wine goes with what foods again.
Play Along for Discounts!
To encourage repeat visits, you’ll receive a Passport. Check off wine education classes you attend—do any four and get 1 class free! We also played along with the Vino Trifecta Treasure Hunt. Visit their 3 tasting rooms (Little Washington Winery, Little Washington BreWinery, and Wine Loves Chocolate), obtain a stamp or signature at each, and earn a Treasure Hunt Bag. Ours included a crystal Riedel Wine Glass, one ticket to a Foodie-U Wine Class, a stamp on your Foodie-U Passport (a $100+ value!) and purchase discounts.
Back to the Beginning
Carl Henrickson explained how the idea for wine classes got started. “When we opened our winery in 2011, we wondered why people weren’t arriving until after 2 PM. We figured out they were stopping at other wineries on the way here. So we decided to send out a marketing piece about our morning Wine Boot Camp. And yikes…1,700 people signed up,” he exclaimed! “After we waded through those 1,700, people asked us ‘What’s next?’ So in 2012, Donna created Foodie-U.”
The wine school now offers around two dozen classes featuring two major orientations: wine-centric and food-centric. “We offer serious information, but set the tone for a little more casual atmosphere,” Carl continued. “When people ask me ‘Is wine so serious?’ I answer, ‘No, it’s not serious. It’s just a beverage! Do you like it or not?’ That’s the bottom line. If you do, buy it and enjoy it. This makes the enjoyment of wine accessible to everyday people.”
Choose an in-person class led by either Donna or Carl, their winemaker, sommeliers or guest speakers, and enjoy a morning or afternoon with great wine and great people. Others at our table were working their way through ALL the classes!
Wine Education Classes
There is a tantalizing array of courses to suit every interest, with new ones appearing from time to time, driven by customer demand. But everyone should take Wine Boot Camp, the school’s signature course on wines that Carl calls “Wine 301.” It’s filled with wine tastings, anecdotes and tidbits about wine that nobody else tells you about. (Note: In wine classes like Boot Camp, you get to drink a lot of wine, so Carl encourages you to bring along food or purchase some of their pre-packaged items for sale. (Feel free to enjoy it at the table.)
Other classes include Around the World in 80 Minutes, showcasing the finest wine regions in the world; Virginia Versus the World™ pitting Virginia wines against international competitors in a blind tasting; The World’s Iconic Masterpieces of Wine and their long histories; and classes featuring specific wine regions around the world. Test your taste buds in a tasting of Bordeaux-style wines in Guess the $100 Bordeaux and see if you can guess the $100 bottle. If you do, you can win your next Live Tasting free!
“One thing we constantly try to do is give you wine grapes and regions you’ve never heard of before, like a Merlot Corvina blend—I’ll bet you’ve never heard of the Corvina grape!” Carl challenged.
FoodieU’s tag line, “Straight talk in plain English all about enjoying food and wine,” about sums it up. The classes are guaranteed to make wine tasting fun with their upscale foods that help you learn while you taste.
Courses include Cheeseology, on how to pair six categories of wines and cheeses; How to Pair Dessert & Wine, demonstrating how to get a perfect dessert and wine pairing every time; Anatomy of an Epic Nosh Board exploring the popular charcuterie board adventure; and Triple Threat—Chocolate, Cheese & Wine among the offerings.
Beer Education Classes
You’re in luck if you like beer because the Little Washington school is offering beer classes (they have a brewery too) including Beer Boot Camp exploring the style differences and hottest trends of craft beer; Beer Cheeseology to discover what pairs best; Choco-Brew Challenge; and Beer & Food Pairing.
Other things to do at the winery can include ordering a picnic for two, playing disc golf, wine retreats, Saturday concerts, and attending special events like the annual Winestock festival in May.
Sign Up for your Wine Education Classes
“We never have enough information about wine, but come because you enjoy wine,” Carl encouraged. Classes are held usually twice a day on the weekends. View the list of courses at littlewashingtonwinery.com/wineschool and sign up for the ones that pique your interest. Warning: they sell out quickly. Advance registration is required!
All photos credit: Linda Barrett
Little Washington Winery
at Skyline Vineyard
65 Clark Lane, Washington, VA
Little Washington BreWinery
72 Christmas Tree Lane, Washington, VA
Wine Loves Chocolate
353 Main Street, Washington, VA