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ISO wine tasting /discovery course in Montreal, other than at the SAQ

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Hello CH'ders,

I'm interested in SAQ's beginner's tasting class (see their web site: http://www.saq.com/webapp/wcs/stores/...), but the sole location where it's given in Montreal isn't great for me, on de Lorimier next to the Jacques-Cartier bridge.

I figured there's probably many other courses available in the city and would like to compare - I'm looking for other schools offering a similar class in Montreal, ideally not too far from a metro station, perhaps at a lower cost too (SAQ's course is 215$ for 5 x 3 hours, including the glasses).

This is for my own enjoyment so it doesn't have to be a recognized/ credited "professional" class. I'm looking for a place to learn the basics in a casual environment.

Any references / experiences?

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  1. The SAQ's HQ is only about a ten-minute walk from the Papineau metro. Have also heard they may start offering their introductory level course in English. Would be surprised if you can find a quality course for much cheaper than $215 for five sessions, glasses and wines included.

    Nick Hamilton, who does the Voir wine column these days, offers courses and tastings. His and my palates don't really align but I've no doubt he'd able to teach the basics. I believe the venue is close to Beaubien metro. www.lesconseillersduvin.ca

    Alain Laforest gives courses in Little Italy. The one person I know who has attended enjoyed them. www.degustationslaforest.com/initiati...

    A couple more:

    L'Amicale des sommeliers (near Jean-Talon metro) www.amicaledessommeliers.com/Bienvenu...

    Académie Culinaire (country/region-specific courses but no intro AFAIK, near Champ-de-Mars metro) http://cours.academieculinaire.com

    There are others I'm not recalling. You might try searching the wine column archives of the Gazette and Voir (Chapleau used to do an annual listing). Or shoot Bill Z, the Gazoop's wine guy, an email.

    1. Unless things have changed in the past couple of years, the classes were given at Place Dupuis next to Berri-UQAM metro station. They might have move them though.

      That being said, I've taken the first two classes and was really happy with them. Good material, quality wine for tasting and passionnate teachers. I good experience.

      1. The very cool sommelier of Le Local, Mathieu Guillemette, hosts wine tastings and wine pairing evenings at Matière Brut, a loft on St-Denis corner Rachel.
        They are very open to questions, and they only accomodate up to 16 people at once.
        http://www.matierebrut.com/site.html

        1. Ooh interesting thread - nice one, Chocolatine.

          I'm also interested in learning more about wine. It's amazing what even the most basic knowledge can do for one's experience of wine drinking. I think I've hit a point where I've learnt as much as I can on my own, and would also like a little guidance to refine and expand upon what I already know.

          Anyway - so I'm more a wine afficionado than an expert to be honest. While I can't offer any info on tasting courses, what I can tell you is that a while back I heard about a wine bar called Bû, which no doubt is still kicking around.

          I've always been interested in going - it sounds like a place where one can enjoy wine as well as learn about it from well informed sommeliers in a casual (and not at all intimidating) environment... Perhaps a little extra-curricular activity for you while you're taking your wine tasting course!

          If I'm not mistaken there's another wine bar called Pullman although I know even less about it.

          Just some pointers... Hope they help.

          1 Reply
          1. re: NickMontreal

            There are many more like Pop, Buvette chez Simone, Bouchonné and in a larger, more restaurant way, Les Trois Petits Bouchons.

          2. L'Amicale des Sommeliers du Québec offers an intro course that's similar in price and content to the SAQ course. The course is run in various locations, so you could check with them to see if there's one near you (the one I took was near Square-Victoria metro). The only thing is that they only offer courses in French.

            I also heard that there are English courses offered somewhere in Westmount, but I'm not sure where. Maybe someone else on the board has more details...

            1. I love CH!! thx everyone, that's great info. I'll study all this sippin' a glass of wine!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chocolatine

                I have taken Nick Hamilton’s courses and he certainly knows his stuff.

                The courses are in his home on St-Denis Street, near Beaubien

                His teaching style is very matter of fact, all business and when the course is done its time to get out, no time for chit chat.

                This may rub some folks the wrong way for those who are looking to learn and enjoy the social side of wine.

                A good idea is to contact the city’s wine agencies as they often organize wine tastings and courses at very reasonable rates. Their goal is not to make money on these activities but to build their brand and following.