fall events orlando

For those of us who love wine and even fancy ourselves budding aficionados, the idea of really diving deep into wine education can seem daunting and a little, well, intimidating. There is just SO much to know about wine. In fact, those who take the Introductory Sommelier course will take two full days of lessons before writing a lengthy exam.

But if you're like me and you just want to avoid looking like a novice with mispronunciations and contrasting food pairings, there are several ways to learn about wine in Orlando, most of which will only take an hour or two of your time.

Total Wine & More
This expansive wine stop with 3 local locations offers lots of free weekly wine tastings at its Tasting Table. You can also buy tickets for wine classes in Total Wine's ‘Learn about Wine' series, which offers a large array of themes to choose from. These classes are typically $20 per person and includes 8 wine selections.

For a full list of what they have to offer, click on the locations listed below. I've linked to each location's events calendar.

1. 2712 East Colonial Drive (Colonial Plaza), Orlando
2. 4625 Millenia Plaza Way (Millenia Plaza) Orlando
3. 160 E Altamonte Dr. (Marketplace at Altamonte), Altamonte Springs

Total Wine & More - Orlando (Colonial Plaza)
Total Wine & More – Orlando (Colonial Plaza)

Publix Aprons Cooking School
Whether you’re a beginner or a wine connoisseur, Publix Aprons Cooking School offers deliciously entertaining gourmet food and wine tastings. In addition to a slew of food-focused cooking classes, the school's monthly calendar always has at least a half-dozen wine-focused classes, such as the Wine & Dine Sonoma event and the Wine Pairing 101 class offered this month. Expect to pay around $45-$50 per person for these classes.

The Marketplace at Dr. Phillips – 7524 Dr. Phillips Blvd. Orlando

Tim’s Wine Market
For 20 years, Tim’s Wine Market down on Orange Avenue has happily supplied an education to any customer interested in hanging out for an enlightening chat. The staff here know their stuff. A good time to check out this local favorite is during the weekly Friday Night Wine Down (4-6pm) and every Saturday from 1-4pm when you can enjoy a free sampling of their weekly featured wines and latest best buys.

These free tastings are great but you'll also want to subscribe to Tim's email list so you'll be the first to know about classes and wine dinners hosted at or by Tim's 3 Orlando area locations.

For a full list of what they have to offer, click on the locations listed below. I've linked to each location's events calendar.

1. 1223 North Orange Ave, Orlando
2. 428 Main Street, Windermere
3. 5040 West State Road 46, Sanford

The Wine Barn
Located in Winter Park on Fairbanks, The Wine Barn is a unique place in that it’s a wholesale wine market and a restaurant offering delicious wood-fired pizzas. It's actually one of our favorite places to have an under $40 date night. Events are few and far between so it's best to subscribe to their mailing list to stay informed. For an impromptu lesson, wander in any time. There are so many unique wines on hand and anyone working there will be thrilled to chat about them.

959 W. Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park

The Wine Barn - dining room 1
The Wine Barn in Winter Park has hundreds of bottles of wine and also serves wood-fired pizza. There is no corkage fee for those who want to buy a bottle to enjoy with their feast.

Truffles and Trifles
Named one of the top five cooking schools in the country by the Food Network, Truffles and Trifles mixes in one or two wine-focused classes each month that are fun for couples or a girl's night out.  For example, in August T&T is offering a Gourmet Wine class. Classes are typically $55+ per person.

711 West Smith Street, Orlando

Quantum Leap Winery
This local urban winery partners with producers from the world’s premier wine-growing regions and then finishes the wine with those grapes at its Mills 50 location. From time to time, Quantum Leap likes to gather local wine experts together for their wine classes (such as the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Perfectly Paired event held every few months) but you can also enjoy some tutelage merely by visiting the tasting room during regular hours (Thursday 2-7pm, Friday 2-7pm, Saturday 12-6pm).

Another stellar opportunity to learn more or just have a fun night out is the monthly Friday Night Wine Down, which usually takes place on the second Friday of each month when you can listen to live music, try the wine and eat food truck fare. Quantum Leap charges no admission fee for these events.

1312 Wilfred Drive, Orlando

Quantum Leap Exterior
In addition to a sustainable wine making operation, Quantum Leap Winery features a tasting room, outdoor covered patio area and cask room for you to enjoy. (Photo courtesy of Quantum Leap Winery)

The Wine Room
There aren't any classes listed at the moment, but this much-loved Park Avenue wine bar has been known to offer them at various times throughout the year. Of course, simply loading up a card and going on a self-guided wine sampling is always fun. Each of the 156 self-serve bottles offers a short description you can read while you choose between the 1oz, 2.5oz or 5oz pour sizes. Join their mailing list to keep up-to-date on wine classes and events.

270 South Park Avenue, Winter Park

Lakeridge Winery
Situated among the picturesque rolling hills of Clermont, Lakeridge Winery offers complimentary winery tours and wine tastings seven days a week. Take the 40-minute drive and learn how wine is made in Florida. You can also attend scores of annual events, including the annual Harvest Grape Stomp (August 15th and 16th). Events fees are nominal, usually $2, which is donated to charity.

19239 N US Hwy 27, Clermont

august stomp 660
Get your feet wet (literally) during the annual August Stomp.

Vines Wines and Spirits
This little gem is not just another liquor store! Brought to you by the owners of Vines Grille and Wine Bar, this retail location first opened in 2009 and quickly expanded. Their cellar has been known to house several hundred collectible, rare and highly sought after wines.

The shop does a “Big Tasting” on the last Friday of every month from 6-8 pm and serves several wines with appetizers for $20 per person. Definitely sign up for Vines' email list so you'll know about upcoming wine events, classes and dinners.

7585 W Sand Lake Rd, Orlando

Whole Foods
Both the Winter Park and Orlando (Dr. Phillips) Whole Food locations love to lure in wine lovers with free tastings and paid educational events. For example, WP features the Friday Night Pour event when on select Fridays the wine department hosts a tasting and offers special discounts on multiple purchases.

For a full list of what they have to offer, click on the locations listed below. I've linked to each location's events calendar.

1. Philips Crossing: 8003 Turkey Lake Rd, Orlando
2. Winter Park Corners: 1989 Aloma Ave, Winter Park

Feature image credit: ccjsymposium.com