The Tampa Wine Institute at West Palm Wines


Daily we are asked questions such as, “what would you drink with this wine?” or “how long will this wine last?” Our job as wine merchants is as much instruction as it is sales. Basically, we are trying to help wine lovers feel confident they will enjoy their selections and return for more. That’s where the Tampa Wine Institute is so vital to changing the culture of how wine is appreciated and collected in the Tampa Bay area.

The Tampa Wine Institute offers an array of classes and tastings. Our President, Jim Sirna, has over 25 years of experience selling wines of the world in New York City. His expertise is always shared with a ’sense of humor and humility’.

All classes are limited to 20 students. We feature 6-8 wines at each class in a sit down , roundtable format. Fine cheese and Charcuterie are supplied by Beaune’s Wine Bar. Reservations are required.

Call Jim or Mark at (813) 241-8587 or send us a message to reserve your seat….The Tampa Wine Institute, Florida’s Only Wine School.

Whether you are a complete novice or an accomplished collector, the Tampa Wine Institute provides the forum for you.

Classes will resume when appropriate. Reserve your spot now.


Wine Regions of France


















Wine Regions of Italy




















Red Wine Varieties

Red wines are made from the fermented juice of dark colored grapes. The red and purple colors in the wine are derived not from the green flesh of the grape, but rather the dark pigments found in the skin. Red wines are fermented with the grape skins, allowing for extraction of colors, acids, and tannins.

Wines are generally named after either the variety of grape they are made from (Merlot, Chardonnay, Grenache), or the region where they are made (Bordeaux, Champagne).


Beaujolais

Beaujolais can refer to any wine made in a specific region of France. Although some white wines are made in the Province of Beaujolais, the majority is a light bodied red made from the Gamay grape. Beaujolais wines tend to have lower tannin concentrations, giving them a fruitier, fresher flavor.

Pair with: White meat, Fish, Vegetables

Bordeaux

The name Bordeaux can refer to any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. Bordeaux is the largest wine producing area in the country. The vast majority of Bordeaux wine is red, with blends consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot grapes being the most common. Bordeaux wines are known for tannic, full bodied, dark fruity flavors, and can also be referred to as 'clarets'.

Pair with: Red meat, Cheese

Burgundy

Burgundy wine is made in the Burgundy region of France. Wines referred to as Burgundies are usually dry red wines that are made using Pinot Noir grapes. These wines generally have full bodied, complex earthy flavors.

Pair with: Red meat, Fish, Cheese

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a very popular type of grape that is grown in regions around the world. Its origins have been traced to southern France in the 17th century. It produces a lighter red wine, with floral, fruity, and peppery flavors.

Pair with: Red meat, Fish, Vegetables

Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes is produced worldwide, and represents a large portion of all red wines sold everywhere. The grape is quite hardy and easy to grow, which has contributed to its popularity. Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have cherry and plum flavors, and sometimes cedar woodiness as well.

Pair with: Red meat, Vegetables, Cheese

Chianti

Chianti wine is produced in the Chianti region in Tuscany, Italy. Most Chianti wines are made with a blend of Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes. Chianti wines are known for dark cherry, and subtle spicy flavors.

Pair with: Red meat, White meat, Cheese

Grenache

Grenache is one of the most popular red wine grapes in the world. The grape is generally grown in warmer climates, and is believed to have originated in Spain. Grenache wine tends to be softer with berry and pepper flavors.

Pair with: Red meat, White meat, Cheese

Ice Wine

Ice wine is a very sweet wine that is made from grapes that were left to freeze while still on the vine. The freezing concentrates sugars in the grapes, which gives a smaller yield of much sweeter wine. Ice wines are made from a variety of grapes, including Riesling, Vidal, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. All ice wines are very sweet and are considered 'dessert wines'.

Pair with: Cheese, Desserts

Malbec

Malbec is red wine made from the grapes of the same name. Malbec grapes have a dark, purplish, inky color that leads to a strong, dark red or violet wine. The Malbec grape is believed to have originated in France, and is often used as a component in blended French wines such as Bordeaux. Malbec wine tends to have dark fruit flavors, reminiscent of berries or plums, along with floral undertones.

Pair with: Red meat, Cheese, Desserts

Merlot

Merlot is one of the most planted red wine grapes in the world. Merlot grapes tend to be a dark bluish color, with soft flesh. Merlot is an early ripener, which gives it a a softer character that is well suited to blending with higher tannin wines (such as Cabernet Sauvignon). The Merlot grape is originally from France, and is commonly used in blended French wines such as Bordeaux. Merlot wines tend to be soft and sweet, with plum and earthy flavors.

Pair with: Red meat, White meat, Fish, Vegetables

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is a red wine grape that originates from Italy. Due to the fact that Montepulciano grapes tend to ripen later than other varieties, they are generally only grown in more temperate climates such as those of central and southern Italy. Montepulciano wine tends to be smooth, with mild tannins and a deep, full bodied flavor.

Pair with: Red meat, Pasta, Cheese

Port

Port is a fortified red wine that originated in the Douro Valley region of northern Portugal. In some places wine labelled as 'Port' must only come from this specific region, but similar wines are now being made all over the world. The majority of Ports are very sweet, and Port is commonly served as a dessert wine. Port wine is sweet, rich and heavy, and generally has a higher alcohol percentage than other wines.

Pair with: Cheese, Desserts

Sangiovese

Sangiovese is the most popular variety of red wine grape to originate from Italy. Sangiovese grapes take longer to completely mature, so they are generally grown in warmer climates that are similar to that of central and southern Italy. Sangiovese grapes are commonly one of the most prevalent in many Italian blended wines, most notably Chianti. The wine of the Sangiovese grape is known for spicy strawberry and earthy flavors with a lighter body.

Pair with: Red meat, Fish, Pasta

Shiraz/Syrah

Shiraz (or Syrah) is a dark grape that is used to make red wines worldwide. Its initial origins have been traced to southeastern France, but it has been grown in regions around the world for decades and Shiraz is one of the most planted red wine grapes internationally. Shiraz wine is know to be full bodied, with jam and spicy licorice flavors, although the taste can vary depending on the climate of where the grapes were grown.

Pair with: Red meat, White meat, Desserts

Valpolicella

The name Valpolicella refers to wines made in the Valpolicella district of northeastern Italy. The majority of wines produced in the Valpolicella district are blended reds which generally consist of Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes in varying ratios. Wine has been made in this region for thousands of years, dating back to the time of ancient Greece. Most Valpolicellas are light bodied, with sour cherry flavors that are similar to French Beaujolais.

Pair with: Red meat, Fish, Desserts

Zinfandel

Zinfandel is is a black colored wine grape that is believed to originate from Croatia. The Zinfandel grape is now grown in regions around the world, but is particularly popular in California. Zinfandel wines tend to be robust and full bodied, with berry, spice and pepper flavors.

Pair with: Red meat, Vegetables, Desserts



White Wine Varieties

White wines are made using the light colored pulp found inside the skins of green/white, or red grapes. White wines tend to be drier than reds, and more aromatic and zesty.

Wines are generally named after either the variety of grape they are made from (Merlot, Chardonnay, Grenache), or the region where they are made (Bordeaux, Champagne).


Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a green grape variety that is used to make white wine worldwide. The Chardonnay grape originates from the Burgundy region of France, but is now grown anywhere in the world where wine is made.

The grape itself is somewhat neutral in flavor. As a result, many of the flavors found in Chardonnay wines are a result of how it was grown and processed. Chardonnay wines tend to be medium or light bodied, with acidic fruit flavors such as citrus and melon.

Pair with: White meat, Fish, Pasta

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is a white wine grape variety that is originally from the Loire region of France. The wine is now cultivated around the world, and is very commonly grown in South Africa. Due to the high acidity of Chenin Blanc grapes, they can be used to make a variety of wines ranging from very dry, to very sweet dessert style wines. Chenin Blancs are generally dry and acidic, with apple (and sometimes floral) flavors.

Pair with: Fish, Vegetables, Cheese

Gewurztraminer

Gewurztraminer is an aromatic, pinkish red grape that is used to make white wines. It is a very old variety that is believed to have originated in the area of Europe around Switzerland, Austria, and northern Italy. Gewurztraminer is now grown in suitable climates worldwide, mainly North America and Australia. Gewurztraminer wine is known to have floral flavors and aromas, particularly of rose, as well as a sweet, delicate taste.

Pair with: White meat, Vegetables, Cheese

Ice Wine

Ice wine is a very sweet wine that is made from grapes that were left to freeze while still on the vine. The freezing concentrates sugars in the grapes, which gives a smaller yield of much sweeter wine. Ice wines are made from a variety of grapes, including Riesling, Vidal, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. All ice wines are very sweet and are considered 'dessert wines'.

Pair with: Cheese, Desserts

Moscato/Muscat

The Moscato (or Muscat Blanc) grape is a white wine grape that arises from the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. This sweet grape is now commonly grown in the USA and Australia as well. Moscato wine is popular for it's light bodied, easily approachable sweetness. Wine made from Moscato grapes have floral, perfume-like fragrances, and tangy, fruity flavors.

Pair with: Fish, Desserts

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio wines are white or pink wines made using the Italian clone of the Pinot Gris grape. Pinot Grigio wines are known to be lighter bodied, floral, and fruity with peach flavors. They are far more popular than more robust Pinot Gris wines due to their pleasant, approachable drinkability.

Pair with: White meat, Fish, Vegetables, Pasta

Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris is a white wine grape variety originating from the Burgundy region of France. The Pinot Gris variety is know for its grey-blue color ('gris' in French means grey), and is believed to be an abnormal clone of the Pinot Noir grape. Wines made from Pinot Gris grapes grown in the French style are known as 'Pinot Gris' wines, whereas wines of the Italian clone are known as Pinot Grigio. Wines of the Pinot Gris style tend to be more full bodied and richer, with spicier flavors.

Pair with: White meat, Fish, Pasta

Riesling

Riesling is a white grape that originally comes from the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling grapes are now grown in a variety of climates worldwide, and remain the most grown grape in Germany. Riesling wines are generally sweeter and aromatic, with honey, citrus, and peachy flavors.

Pair with: Fish, Cheese, Desserts

Sauternes

Sauternes are a sweet white wine made in the Sauternais region of France. Sauternes wine is made from a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes. Due to the unusual climate of the area, the grapes are affected by a fungus known as 'noble rot' which causes the flavors and sugars in the grapes to become more concentrated. Sauternes wines are thick and sweet, with apricot, peach and floral flavors.

Pair with: Fish, Cheese, Desserts

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a green skinned white wine grape originally from the Bordeaux region of France. The Sauvignon Blanc grape is believed to be derived from a wild grape native to the south of France. The grape is now widely cultivated worldwide and is renowned for its refreshing, dry, and crisp wine. Sauvignon Blanc wines have distinctive grassy and pepper flavors, combined with fruity notes.

Pair with: Fish, Vegetables, Cheese

Semillon

Semillon is a yellow skinned white wine grape that was once one of the most cultivated wine grapes in the world. Now Semillon grapes are most commonly grown in Australia, France, and South Africa. Semillon wines are generally off dry and full bodied, with honey and citrus flavors.

Pair with: White meat, Fish, Vegetables