by Karen Huefner
Upon completing my final essay in graduate school, I pretty much vowed that my schooling days were over. That was until Wine School came into my life. Gone are the days of sitting in the back of class, doodling in my notebook waiting for 9th period to end. At Wine School, it’s chair closest to the teacher, arrive ten minutes early and ask as many questions as I can.

Bacchus restaurant located in downtown Buffalo on Chippewa Street offers Wine School every other Wednesday for those who want to have an intimate lesson on a grape’s most valued byproduct. Taught by a certified sommelier, each class touches on a specific type of wine from a specific region. The class I attended focused on Pinot Noir’s of California. Mmm…

There were 12 of us in the class and they sat us at a table right in the main dining room. With a set of wine glasses in front of each of us, we had a chance to sample 4 wines ranging in price and taste. Mike, the sommelier, gave a down-to-earth approach to the lesson and gave us a blow-by-blow as to what makes a Pinot Noir a Pinot Noir. It was fantastic!! The wine tasting also includes two food pairings. The leg of lamb and sea bass they served were incredible and the wine truly complemented the food beautifully. Mike answered everyone’s questions and provided personal suggestions and tips on wine buying. The class lasted about 2 hours and for a girl who used to only drink Riesling, I was rather impressed and left eager to sign up for the next one! Something different to do on a Wednesday night, especially if you time your trip to Buffalo right!

For more information, go to the Bacchus website. Salud!

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by Carolyn Batt

If you’re looking to unwind after the holidays, and would like to lift your spirits with a few spirits of your own, Buffalo has variety of wine bars that are perfect for any occasion. A few favorites of mine:

Just Vino – Located in the Granite Works building on Main Street, Just Vino is worth the trip just to check out the magnificent interior brickwork loft-style appearance. Offering an extensive international wine list, Just Vino also offers a variety of “tasting flights,” consisting of four samples that allow you to sample and compare wines side-by-side.

The Wine Thief – Boasting a fire place and leather chairs for relaxing, The Wine Thief also features a tapas-style menu for a few nibbles with your vino. The duck tacos are a must here.

Bacchus – A longtime downtown Buffalo staple, Bacchus is a fine wine and cheese bar and also doubles as an elegant dining establishment. Their imported and artisan cheese plate compliments your choice of wine. And if you’re wined out, Bacchus also features an impressive beer and liquor list.

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