Thursday, July 17, 2014

Food and Wine Pairing Classes at Planet Grapes

Have you had problems wherein your colleagues are asking you what wine to get for dinner? Or have you hosted those cocktail nights but did not know what to prepare? I haven't. Haha. But I wanted to be ready. Given my age (mid 20's), I want to equip myself to be ready for such social events. I have searched high and low for a wine tasting class for beginners that do not break the budget. During the Tuscany Food Walk Tour, I was able to discover Planet Grapes and it was history from then on.

True to its motto, Planet Grapes offered us "Wine without the drama."
We had a FUN night!

Planet Grapes is located at G/F Bldg. 3 Tuscany at Mckinley Hill, Upper Mckinley Rd., Mckinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. They have store front parking but it can accommodate to only about 3-4 cars, but there is a nearby Tuscany parking that you can park at. They are open Monday to Saturday from 11:00am - 12:00am; and closed on Sundays. Since they are usually packed during weeknights, better ring them first before bringing a date, you can call them at (02) 551 3713. They have a website and a facebook page, do check them out for more information. 
Last July 11, 2014, my friends and I had a wine tasting and wine/food pairing class with Planet Grapes. It started 7 PM and ended close to 9 PM. We were privileged to have the presence of Ms Carla Santos as our wine educator for the night. Carla is currently the wine education manager for Wine Story (first Philippine luxury retail chain for fine and rare wines) and Planet Grapes. She is a WSET Certified Professional with a Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits and is one of the two WSET Educators in the Philippines. She has amazing wit and charm that made her a perfect educator; I can sense her passion for wine and it was emitted throughout the class. I love her! The class cost PHP1,200 per person and it included 5 types of wine and food. It was planet grapes who chose the wine and food as I was a noob. Tip, there are actually a lot of grape varieties out there and you can check Planet's Grapes Wine page to give you an idea of them. This just proves to me that getting a basic education in wine is a necessity.

Me and Carla -- I passed!
Our Menu for the night
Wines for the night
Food for the night

The class was actually very structured in terms of setup and execution. We had the whole second floor arranged into a conference style and there was a presentation projected. We were provided our own labelled wine glass sets (5 glasses), menu cards, and class manual w/ pen. Since we were 13 people all in all, we had the whole 5 bottles for just our group. Before the class started, they showed me the new bottles about to be opened. I will not be discussing the things I learned since its too many and its best experienced. 
Presentation ready
Onto the class proper, It started with a quick introduction of the Carla and the participants, and she went on what is wine and the different alcoholic drinks, then the different grape varieties. Here we went hands on, we were taught the 5 basic types of wine: 2 white wines and 3 red wines. We were taught the proper way on how to drink wine and distinguish them from one another. Drinking wine is as easy as 5S: See, Swirl, Smell, Sip, and Spit/Swallow. The 5 wines we tasted were Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. We experienced each one before we took a quick break and played a "smelling game" called "Le Nez Du Vin by Jean Lenoir". After that it was food pairing time, we had food menu served to us one dish at time. With each dish introduced and explained by Carla on what to pair it with and what traits to look for. After the class, we were all full and "tipsy". We had the rest of the night to chat and drink the remainder of the wine. It was a good night. I am really glad I did this.
Smelling Game! I am so poor at this.
How to drink your wine
Our whites for the night. Sauvignon Blanc proved to be a good partner.
Pinot Noir - a very subtle Red. a good pair for all types of food.
Our 2 other reds: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
To book an event with Planet Grapes give them a call or send an email at I sent them an email and we worked on a schedule, worked with Ms. Lhady Dizon (amazing woman). There are actually different kinds of classes you can take such as basic wine appreciation class, wine dinner, or the food and wine pairing class. Classes are usually scheduled Friday or Saturdays. With regards to making the event a private gathering, you only need a group of 10 people. With that, I hope you do not miss this opportunity and get your wine glasses out. Happy Tripping!

Before I end, let me give you another tip. Since wine is very acidic, make sure to grab a bite first before the class starts. This was our mistake. Make sure to eat something first before the class, as you can see below the food in Planet Grapes can be pricey.