Wine is an integral part of virtually every restaurant. Therefore, as a restaurant owner or manager, you are probably required to know quite a lot about it. In this post, you will find the most useful resources to expedite your wine education online – all for free!
The wine education resources are divided into four groups: blogs, YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, and podcasts. It is best to link new habits to the existing ones, so you should start your wine education online on the channels that you are already using. This is why I made sure to provide a range of resources.
Wine Folly is a great resource if you want to broaden your general wine knowledge and learn about an extensive range of topics. Some articles include deep dives into a grape varietal or a winemaking region, for instance, this post about Italian Nebbiolo. However, you can also learn about winemaking techniques, food pairings, and much more. Furthermore, Wine Folly features video content on its website, as well as very engaging Instagram and Twitter pages. If you only use one resource for your wine education online, I would recommend Wine Folly.
VinePair features articles not only about wine, but also about beers, spirits, and cocktails. There are fewer typical informational posts than on Wine Folly, but you can find more articles about current events in the wine world and the wine culture as a whole. One recent post that I found particularly interesting was about what sommeliers are drinking on Super Bowl Sunday. VinePair’s tone is quite casual and fun, so reading the blog feels more like entertainment than education. I would recommend VinePair for people who want to know what is going on in the wine world and are less interested in the technical aspects of wine.
Tim Gaiser, a Master Sommelier, writes unbelievably in-depth posts about everything there is to know about wine. Thanks to the comprehensive nature of these articles, they can be extremely useful in a restaurant setting. For example, a post about smelling wine was fascinating and could be used as a foundation for your next wine workshop with staff. A list of categories on the right sidebar is very helpful to find the topics that might interest you although it seems to not have been updated.
Here is a blog by another Master Sommelier, Fernando Beteta. This blog is probably more for wine geeks and people who already have a good understanding of wine. It is a fascinating read, especially articles such as aromas of Riesling based on soil types. Nonetheless, some topics can be extremely helpful for a restaurant manager or owner, for example, wines to pair with different cuts of beef. If you consider yourself a wine nerd, this blog is for you!
Wine explorers visit lesser-known wine regions around the world. According to their website, they have covered 88 countries around the globe. For instance, have you ever tried a wine from the Netherlands? The blog is so fun and easy to read that you won’t even realize that you’re learning something new. The Wine Explorers website might not provide a structured wine education, but it will definitely broaden your wine horizons!
The Unknown Winecaster is probably my favorite wine-related YouTube channel. All the videos are in the form of Powerpoint presentations, which helps to retain the most important information. The channel covers mostly a range of specific grapes and wine regions, but it also discusses winemaking techniques and other wine-related topics. The videos are exhaustive and provide more information than one can possibly remember; for instance, the video about the Southern Rhone.
Unfortunately, LCBO’s recent content has less to do with wine, but you can find some very interesting wine education videos from a few years ago. Look for a series of videos where the host, Michael Fagan, travels the world to explore the most famous winemaking regions, from Italy and France to Chile and the Pacific Northwest. The show does a great job of transporting the viewer to a different place and, sometimes, even a different time.
The GuildSomm organization is an educational resource for wine service professionals around the world. Thus, its YouTube channel is a great place for wine education online. GuildSomm features some interesting videos about wine regions and winemaking, but the content that I found extremely compelling was the blind tastings conducted by GuildSomm employees.
What differentiates the Wine Training School channel is short videos and a focus on wine service. This can be extremely valuable for restaurant leaders who train their staff and are in charge of maintaining a high quality of service. Even a basic video on how to pour wine can be useful for most servers and bartenders.
Wine With Jimmy is an amazing channel if you are studying for a WSET certification. However, even if you do not plan on getting any official wine education in the foreseeable future, you should find this channel very useful. There is a lot of information about various wine regions and grapes. Instead of solely providing the facts, Jimmy connects the dots to show the cause and the result of many processes. Short Google Earth videos incorporated into each lesson are an added bonus to give a better understanding of various regions.
Gary Vaynerchuk, a popular social media personality, started out in the wine business. His YouTube channel, Wine Library TV, is all about wine tasting. Over 1,000 episodes, Gary and his guests tasted many wines and discussed them in a casual, nonchalant way. I find this channel a useful tool to expand my wine vocabulary.
The account focuses mostly on low-intervention wines, but it also includes various informational posts such as about orange wine. The posts are entertaining and funny, but also educational and, for lack of a better word, nerdy.
Jana Kreilein’s Instagram page is a great resource if you want to keep your Instagram feed more fun than educational. Jana introduces some wines and shares some educational content, but most of her posts are more focused on the visuals than the copy.
This page features a range of wines from all around the world, but particularly from Canada. It is another useful resource if you would like to expand your wine vocabulary. The account can also provide inspiration for your next wine list.
If you enjoy video content on Instagram, this page is for you. Robert Vernick posts daily reviews of a wide range of wines which include classic wines as well as natural wines and wines from lesser-known regions such as China. This page is quite serious and highly informational, which makes it a great choice for people who are serious about wine.
This account has found a perfect balance between information and entertainment. With every post, Madison Varunok introduces a different wine and usually adds a comprehensive description of the wine region or the grape. As a result, the page gives ideas for some delicious wines and provides information about wine in general.
Levi Dalton, a former sommelier, interviews knowledgeable and sometimes famous people working with wine in one way or another. His guests include winemakers, wine distributors, and wine experts. The podcast gives a unique perspective of people seriously involved in wine.
Matthew is an experienced wine educator who creates in-depth informative podcasts; for instance, his deep dive into Greek wines took 5 episodes. However, the episodes are quite short and usually take no more than 25 minutes, which makes them easier to digest.
This podcast, created under the umbrella of Napa Valley Wine Academy, is a mix of the two previously discussed podcasts. Some episodes are more skewed towards lessons and featured topics such as Franciacorta or the wines of Lebanon. Others, however, discuss the broad world of wine such as wine certifications and wine in the digital world.
This podcast, hosted by a sommelier Nadine Brown, focuses not only on wine in general but especially on diversity in the wine world. In each episode, Nadine interviews one person involved in the wine world. The episodes are longer and usually last over an hour, so be prepared.
Last but not least, Wine Enthusiast produces an interesting podcast about wine, beer, and spirits trends. It is less focused on wine knowledge and more on what is currently going on in the wine and beverage world. For example, I really enjoyed a guide to mezcal for wine lovers.
There are so many resources offering wine education online that sometimes it can be difficult to find the most useful ones. However, I hope that my list made this process much easier for you.
As you can see, there are various types of educational resources about wine from blogs and podcasts to YouTube channels and Instagram accounts. I would suggest starting with the channel that you are already using; for example, if you listen to a lot of podcasts, explore wine-related ones! However, if you don’t listen to podcasts at all, it might be a better idea to look for YouTube channels or blogs – depending on your current habits.
If you are not sure how to convey your wine knowledge to your staff, read my post about how to teach your staff about wine.