Learn Wine Through the Masters of Hip Hop

Some of Boston's best sommeliers are using unexpected means to teach wine appreciation.


From left: Theresa Paopao, General Manager and Wine Director of Ribelle, and Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, general manager of Island Creek Oyster Bar. Photo provided

Have you always wanted to learn more about more wine but were intimidated by the terminology and all that sipping and swirling? Well, how about a crash course on terroir explained through the medium of hip hop, or a choose-your-own-adventure game to demystify the hassle of wine pairings?

That’s the task that Theresa Paopao (general manager and wine director of Ribelle) and Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli (general manager and wine director of Island Creek Oyster Bar) set out for themselves when they created BTG, a two-day response to old-school pretense, and an innovative effort to change the way people choose, teach, drink, and think about wine. Through classes like Paopao’s “Lyrics + Liquids: Maps on Raps on Maps,” BTG will use unconventional means to get people interested in the wine community and encourage wine literacy.

Below is a look at the full schedule and a brief overview of each class:

Lyrics + Liquids: Maps on Raps on Maps
Presented by: Theresa Paopao (Ribelle)

“Theresa Paopao will break down and demystify the terrifying concept of terroir by using hip-hop as an analogy. Find out why Old World is Old Skool and why classics like Chianti and NWA have paved the way for fresh stars like Arianna Occhipinti and Kendrick Lamar.”

$25 per person, March 28, 10-11:30 a.m., Island Creek Oyster Bar, 500 Commonwealth Ave. Boston; eventbrite.com.

1+1 = 3
Presented by: Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli (Island Creek Oyster Bar)

“Working through wine pairings can be a daunting task at home or in the restaurant, we will look to remove the mystique and simplify the world of pairing. Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli will moderate a discussion of what Boston’s most innovative food and beverage minds believe are the keys to success in making one plus one equal three.”

$25 per person, March 28, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m., Island Creek Oyster Bar, 500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston; eventbrite.com

Wine, Personified
Presented by: Fanny Katz & Liz Vilardi (Central Bottle, Belly, The Blue Room)

“Through tasting, talking and a lively game of Taboo Liz Vilardi and Fanny Katz of Central Bottle, Belly and The Blue Room, hope to set your mind free and have you use words you’ve never thought to use to describe wine before. Whether you’re willing to admit it now, Loire Gamay can be ‘athletic,’ Alsatian Riesling is like ‘Catherine Deneuve’ and some Italian Maremma reminds us of a ‘bearded timberman.'”

$25 per person, March 28, 1:30-3 p.m., Island Creek Oyster Bar, 500 Commonwealth Ave. Boston; eventbrite.com.

Choose Your Own (Blind Wine) Adventure
Presented by: Theresa Paopao & Tim Maslow (Ribelle)

“Join us for a lively and interactive brunch in which wine pairings face-off in real time and YOU get to be the judge. BTG + Ribelle are serving up 3-courses on Sunday, March 29. Each course is paired with two different wines chosen by six of Boston’s beloved wine pros; you vote on your favorite pairings with each dish.”

$50 per person, March 29; noon reception, 12:30 p.m. brunch, Ribelle, 1665 Beacon St., Brookline; eventbrite.com