Breweries, Wine, and Cheese Lifestyle

The Grapevine: Summer School for Wine Lovers

Summer is about the beach, cool drinks on the porch, the outdoors and, well, school—summer school!

The Asheville School of Wine @Metro Wines was established in 2014. Together with our director of education, Andy Hale, we developed original classes and established The Blind Tasting League, The Asheville Wine Focus Group and a YouTube channel with educational videos to review at your convenience. The Asheville School of Wine brings an educational component to events at the store and on Zoom as well as private events and has hosted dozens of wine tastings for non-profit auction winners.

In addition to education, The Asheville School of Wine advises on wines and beers for the many weddings we service throughout the year as well as serving as wine adviser to “Ciao Asheville,” the Italian cultural forum in Asheville. And The Asheville School of Wine selects and reviews the discounted wines for sale every Saturday at our shop, Metro North, in Reynolds Village.

Among the staff of The Asheville School of Wine, we have certified wine specialists and years of restaurant and retail experience from South Carolina to California. Book smarts and hands-on experience make for a comprehensive educational experience.

Our expertise has brought us to wine appreciation classes for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI ) through UNCA for more than four years. And Hale teaches students entering the service and hospitality professions at Asheville-Buncombe Technical College.

The Blind Tasting League meets monthly on Zoom until we can convene at the shop again. In meetings open to the public, Hale takes us through the process of deductive reasoning to determine what’s in your glass. This is a no-pressure approach and you leave having learned, laughed and built confidence in yourself.

The Asheville Wine Focus Group, with more than a year of gatherings, will commence once more monthly as soon as COVID restrictions permit. Also open to the public and free of charge, wine drinkers gather to review new wines for the shop. One of our distributors brings four wines, and unlike a blind tasting, tells us everything we need to know to make a decision except the price. The Focus Group has selected more than one wine that was later recommended in a national publication. And the Group has helped us to select wines that will appeal to most customers as well as set the price.

But the classes are our foundation for learning about wine. We have offered basic classes such as Wines Around the World as well as more targeted classes such as Much Maligned Grapes, The Dark Side of Wine and our legendary Mayhem, Money and Murder.

Our friendly, comfortable approach to learning about wine has been well received by customers and critics. Voted Number One in WNC five years in a row, we have also been quoted in Lettie Teague’s wine column in The Wall Street Journal five times, featured in Market Watch magazine and praised by SKYPE.

Follow us at and, and join us for Summer School.

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