So you want to know more about wine?  A good way to get a real in-depth education is to study with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), which is represented in Philadelphia by Neal Ewing and his Phillywine.com organization.  I’m nearing the end of the 8-week Level 2 Course and I’m loving it.

I’m already leading tastings and discussing wines using the local wines here at Pinot Boutique. We have examples of most of the world’s great wines made right here in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys.

But I wanted to firm up my knowledge and speak with more confidence about grapes and regions from all over the world. So I made the investment and signed up. Pinot Boutique owner Dan “The Wineman” Soskin is already a Level 2 & 3 graduate with merit. 

The class is held one night a week (mostly) in a meeting room on the 3rd floor of the Sofitel Hotel.  (I say “mostly” because occasionally we are displaced by other hotel guests to an alternate location.) Each week we cover a different major wine category, such as Cabernets & Merlots, or Dessert Wines.  Neal starts each session with a Powerpoint covering the characteristics of the wine and the different regions in which it is made.

Then comes the good part: we each get out our personal set of six tasting glasses (included in your course fee), and taste typical examples that Neal has purchased at the State Store. He gives you a great chart to help you keep track; it shows vintage, vineyard, region, grape, alcohol percentage, and what he paid for it. The actual tastings in my class are lead by Neal’s assistant, Delores. She has an uncanny, almost-canine ability to discern any number of scents and tastes in a given glass.

One of the main things you learn is a systematic approach to tasting, and an objective way to judge and compare each wine’s appearance, nose, quality, and taste characteristics like acidity, body and tannins. That’s one of the things I like about the course: it is a no-B.S. Zone.

Neal also records and webcasts each class for distance learners. (Hope they’re savoring a nice glass at home while they watch!). But it’s so much fun and quenches my thirst for knowledge so well that it’s got to be better in person. The course ends with a 50-question multiple choice test (Do you know your Volnay from your Vouvray?  Your Moscato from your Muscadet?). I’ll miss it, but I’ll be much better prepared to go forth and order that delicious bottle that’s just perfectly paired with tonight’s dish.



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#whyilovephilly Twitter Campaign for Valentine’s Day back to Homepage

whyilovephillyFebruary 3, 2015 (OldCityDistrict.com) — On Valentine’s Day, February 14th, Philly Love Notes, media outlets, bloggers and non-profits, will once again run a day-long #whyilovephilly Twitter campaign to promote love for Philadelphia. Last year’s campaign flooded social media with positivity with approximately 4000 posts, 2000+ users, and almost 9 million impressions. It helped change the negative dialogue about our city on a day created to celebrate and be thankful for what we love.

Pinot Boutique is proud to be part of Philadelphia and we are proud to participate in this #whyilovephilly campaign! Read why we are doing this and how you can be a part of the Philly Love at www.OldCityDistrict.com.

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Harvest Ridge Wines Now Available at Pinot Boutique back to Homepage

We are so excited to welcome Harvest Ridge Winery to Pinot Boutique! This addition to our robust selection means more wines to choose from (view the wines of Harvest Ridge Winery) as well as the added expertise of the Harvest Ridge family!

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 12.46.47 PMAs a family farm winery, family comes first at Harvest Ridge and it all began with Chuck and Chris Nunan. After a visit to a winery in Charleston, South Carolina in 2010, Chuck decided to take his love for wine and turn it into a winemaking business using land originally purchased for a family farm Marydel, Delaware. The name “Harvest Ridge” was the original name of the farm and was retained for the winery. The first vines were planted in 2011 – Chardonnay, Viognier, Malbec, and Merlot. The winery opened to the public (as Delaware’s fourth winery) on November 1, 2013.

You will have the opportunity to meet a representative of Harvest Ridge on Friday, February 6th while you sip, chat, and shop at our monthly First Friday event. Make sure you’re signed up for the event so you don’t miss out on this exciting tradition of Old City Philadelphia!

And — mark your calendar, the official launch of Harvest Ridge Winery at Pinot Boutique will take place at March’s First Friday event on March 6th! We will not only have their delicious wines to taste, but the winemaker and others from their team will be joining us. We can’t wait to introduce all our wonderful customers to the wines of Harvest Ridge!

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Dan ‘The Wineman’ Teaches Wine 101 at Heritage Vineyards back to Homepage

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.30.13 AMDan ‘The Wineman’ is taking his show on the road! Three Wine 101 classes have been scheduled at Heritage Vineyards in Mullica Hill, NJ, taught by Dan ‘The Wineman’.

Each class will guide you through a tasting of six different wines and help you discover what you like and why. Learn about the  “structure of a wine”  as well as the influence of oak, tannins & acids on the taste of the wine. Five of the tasting wines will be from the Heritage Vineyard collection along with a special old world bottle.


The first class held on January 22nd sold out and these seats are filling up fast so don’t wait to register!

Thursday, March 26th; 7:00-8:30pm –> Register here


Heritage Vineyards is a family owned and operated estate vineyard and winery located in Mullica Hill, New Jersey. Mullica Hill is located in the heart of the Outer Coastal Plain American Viticultural Area (AVA), which covers over 2.25 million acres in Southeastern New Jersey. Named New Jersey’s “Winery of the Year” in 2011 and 2014 by the Garden State Wine Growers Association, Heritage has begun cementing it’s self as a benchmark producer in New Jersey’s largest wine growing region.

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Browse Red, White and Sparkling Wines back to Homepage

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Center City Fall Restaurant Week back to Homepage

It’s back! Center City Fall Restaurant Week, running September 7th-12th and 14th-19th is the perfect time to try one of Philadelphia’s hot, new spots at a discounted rate. The deal, $35 for dinner and $20 for restaurants participating during lunch, includes some Old City favorites; Bistro 7, Plough & The Stars, Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar and Amada.

Also included on the list are BYOB’s. And where are you going to get wine to bring with you to your meal? Pinot Boutique of course! Stop in for delicious, local wines at a great price. We are open Monday-Thursday until 9pm; Friday-Saturday until 10pm and Sunday until 6pm.

DEAL! Show us the receipt from your Philly Restaurant Week meal and enjoy an in-store wine tasting Buy One, Get One FREE! In-store wine tastings include 5 tastes of our award winning local wines. Stop in for your BOGO tasting now through Sunday, September 21st.

Check out the full list of participating restaurants for Center City Restaurant Week on PhillyMag.com.

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Host a Private Bachelorette Party at Pinot! back to Homepage

Make this night memorable with your own private bachelorette party at Pinot Boutique.

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How to spend a beautiful fall day in the heart of Burgundy with Kathy, my love of 30 years?  Why, it’s off to the bike rental shop, of course!  With a bottle of Aligote in my backpack and a baguette sticking out the top, we rounded the Beaune circular road, found the right exit, watched for signs, and voila!  We suddenly found ourselves on a narrow paved path surrounded by Vitis vinifera in full berry-mode!  We were on the Bougogne Veloroute, and set for the trip of a lifetime.

In the distance was our first town, Pommard, which presented from afar as all the Burgundy towns did: a steeple surrounded by slate roofs.  To the West, paralleling the trail, the hills rose to a steady ridgeline: the Haut (or “High”) Cote d’Beaune.


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Super Picks for the Big Game back to Homepage

Does it suck that our beloved Philadelphia Eagles lost the Wild Card game to the Saints a few weeks ago?  Yes, it does, but the Eagles gave us a season to be proud of…and a whole lot to look forward to next year.  Even though it stinks not having our team in the Super Bowl, life goes on.  Football. Goes. On.

Personally, I’m rooting for the Broncos in the Super Bowl.  Why?  Because I’ve always liked Peyton Manning.  He’s an outstanding athlete and a class-act guy, but that’s neither here nor there.  Regardless of who you’ll be cheering on, you’ll most likely be doing so at a Super Bowl Party.  This leads to the age-old question, ‘what do I serve?’  I can help with that. (more…)

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Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014! back to Homepage

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it.”  ~ Neil Gaiman

As we turn the calendar over to a new year, we find ourselves reflecting on 2013 and looking ahead for what is to come in 2014.  Like most others, we’re working on our resolutions here, too, and making plans for an awesome 2014!  When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I believe the simpler, the better.  Let’s take a look at all we accomplished in 2013. (more…)

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