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Cocktail Culture

W.I.N.O: Wine and Class

The Wine Institute of New Orleans marries a New York sensibility with NOLA’s unaffected love of fine beverage. This post-space-age establishment allows you to taste any of 120 different wines by one, two, or four ounces at a time, and features wines running the gamut from Tuscany to Marlborough, Vin de Pays to Grand Cru, and German Riesling to California Cab. It’s a welcome way to be introduced to higher-end wines without shelling out big money, and it’s also a great way to learn more about the often-aloof world of wine, as the staff is knowledgeable and unpretentious. Their unparalleled selection is a great opportunity for experienced wine-drinkers to expand their palettes, and for the uninitiated or intermediate, W.I.N.O. offers classes to expand your tasting vocabulary.


W.I.N.O. does have a small learning curve, but much like riding a bike, once you get it, there’s no going back; unlike riding a bike, W.I.N.O. involves an electronic tasting card and machines built in Tuscany. Here’s a quick procedural rundown for your maiden voyage– when you walk in, go talk to one of the lovely ladies at the front desk to get your card; then you’re going to grab a glass from the rack, walk to one of the 15 modules, stick your card in, and taste away. That was easy.

When it’s not raining in New Orleans this summer, you’re going to need a way to beat the heat. So a quick recommendation (aka my current aperitif of choice) is the Anne Amie Pinot Gris. It’s light-bodied, and its stone fruit and lemon components make it a good way to get your mind off the heat of the day. Ask the staff for some help and they’ll be sure to provide you with more insight tailored to your taste.

Debbie Does Doberge

W.I.N.O. also has cheese plates, an incredibly reasonable lunch menu, and an assortment of other small plates from which to choose. Plus if you’re in the mood for dessert, W.I.N.O. features Doberge cupcakes from Debbie Does Doberge. Debbie has taken New Orleans’ standard layered cake and turned it into an epically sweet, cupcake-sized, pyramidal confection. She features more than just the standard Chocolate, with Watermelon, Root Beer Float, and Peanut Butter Scotch being just a few of her creations. Try my personal favorite, Pistachio, as it perfectly concludes your time at W.I.N.O.

So that’s that, if you like wine, cheese, cupcakes, or fun– go to W.I.N.O. It combines the enjoyment and love of wine with an appreciation of the right way to do things.

610 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 324-8000

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