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Raise a Glass: Best New Orleans Wine Tastings

Find some of the best local wine tastings and pairings in New Orleans.

Enjoy wine tastings at the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience this spring (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

The clinking of glassware is as synonymous with the holiday season in New Orleans as a garland-dressed streetcar. From Reveillon dinners to house parties, wine and Champagne are an essential part of any celebration. Wine tastings are offered at many New Orleans wine stores all over the city, making for a fun night out and a great way to narrow down some delicious holiday wine picks (or gifts!). So raise a glass to family, friends, and the coming New Year by sampling some fantastic wines at these local shops. You’ll walk away pleasantly buzzed and possibly a little more wine-savvy!

St. James Cheese Company (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

St. James Cheese Co.  

I consider cheese and wine to be major food groups. Luckily, St. James Cheese Co. agrees and hosts happy hour specials including $10 three-item cheese boards, $1 off wines and beer by the glass, and $4 off wine bottles. For cheese lovers who want to learn more about fromages,  St. James offers regular cheese classes with topics ranging from “cheese, chocolate and champagne” to “formaggio italiano” to “honey and cheese pairings” to “beer and cheese with local brewers”. Check the website for upcoming classes and tickets. St. James Cheese Company now has two locations!

Swirl 

Located on Ponce de Leon near the Fairgrounds, this quaint wine shop has something going on nearly every day of the week. Check out their 6-8 p.m. “Friday Free For All” where guests are able to sample four carefully chosen wines from Swirl’s impressive selection and nosh on tapas-style plates prepared by local chefs. Need a hump day treat? On Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m. $15 gets you four 2 oz pours of select wines – who doesn’t love trying more vino for their money? And, lastly, don’t miss out on their Saturday Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. where all wines sold by the glass are half price. Sign up for their newsletter to get emails about upcoming tastings, events, and new, delicious and affordable wines being sold in the shop.

Faubourg Wines. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Faubourg Wines

This is your one stop shop for a relaxing, no fuss wine and dine evening in the Marigny/Bywater neighborhood. Free tastings occur every Wednesday, starting at 6 p.m., in addition to $5 glasses of wine and more than 100 bottles priced under $15. Food options include delicious cheeses from St. James Cheese Co. and the occasional food truck that parks outside. What makes Faubourg Wines unique is its’ affordable and eclectic assortment of wines including the largest selection of natural wines, and rare & allocated wines that are coveted by wine lovers, and difficult to find otherwise. This is wine at its best – both accessible and fun.

Martin Wine Cellar

This beloved local wine shop offers Free Friday Tastings every Friday, at every location from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Martin’s offer a variety of wines to taste, along with samples of their own gourmet food, catering & cheese. Here you’ll find a robust happy hour every Monday – Friday from 4 p.m.- 7p.m. at their Uptown and Metairie locations. You can find a good glass of wine for as low as $4. It’s hard to beat that.

W.I.N.O.

Have you always wanted to learn more about wine and the art of pairing it with food? Get a head start on your resolution with W.I.N.O.’s “Introduction to Wine” class on January 7 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Learn about flavor profiles, what to look for in quality wines, and the best wines to pair with food. The cost is $35 and a total of eight wines will be poured – four reds and four whites. Also, a food and wine including cheese pairing class will be held January 14 and 21, respectively. I’m personally excited for the “What’s it Worth To You?” class on January 28, which will discuss what makes an expensive wine worth splurging on and, most importantly, can you really taste the difference? You may be surprised by some of the less expensive finds!

Hopper’s Carte des Vins

This beautiful wine shop located on Magazine Street hosts a popular Saturday Happy Hour that begins at 2 p.m. and lasts until the wine runs out (usually around 5 p.m.). Three to five bottles are served, allowing guests to sip merrily while they peruse owner Ric Hopper’s extensive selection of wines. Headed out for a BYOB dinner? Carte des Vins has over 100 wines priced under $20. Saturday nights just got a whole lot better!

Emily Smith is a native New Orleanian and Uptowner who loves sharing her passion for food with others. When she’s not blogging about culinary adventures, she can be found checking out the newest restaurant or bar, taking long walks along Magazine Street, or hovering over a steaming hot bowl of phở at her favorite Vietnamese restaurant. Voted one of the Best New Orleans-based Instagrammers by Thrillist, Where Y'at Magazine, and Paste Magazine. Please follow her on Instagram at @fleurdelicious_nola and ask for food advice!

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