Have you paired potato chips with sparkling wine?
During hour-long wine tasting classes at Buckingham Valley Vineyards, groups of up to 20 will learn unique pairing options and more about the vineyards’ grapes, growing practices and have the chance to ask questions as part of a new experience.
The classes – which will be offered a few weekends per month beginning in April 2022 – pair five Buckingham dry wines with food accompaniments. Sessions will be led by Charlotte Adams, a Bucks County transplant who earned her master’s degree in Wine & Vineyard Sciences at the Institut des sciences de la vigne et du vin through the University of Bordeaux – one of the top wine schools in the world.
“The feeling is that wine is so intimidating,” said Adams, who hopes to reverse that thinking. “The wines at Buckingham Valley are already intentionally unfussy. (Owner and winemaker) Jerry Forest prides himself on making wines that are really accessible.”
For each wine, Adams will lead guests through the five S’s of wine tasting – see, swirl, sniff, sip, savor.
“The whole idea is when people are equipped with the vocabulary to speak about wine, it lends itself to a richer experience,” she said. “People walk away with kind of this empowerment to have the words to talk about wine a little bit better.”
She chose primarily dry wines because they are her favorite. Also, drier varieties “lend itself to a more organic pairing.”
To complement the 56-year-old winery’s wines made for everyday consumption, Adams has selected a specialized menu (including potato chips) that groups can enjoy during their wine tasting sessions.
The classes will be much more in-depth than typical tastings at the winery, which are offered as a pre-set wine flight, according to Forest.
“It should be interesting,” he said of the classes Adams will lead.
The partnership with Adams marks the winery’s first foray into group-focused offerings. Classes are designed for groups of six to 20.
“For a long time, Buckingham had not really had the capacity to accept bigger groups. This allows them to say yes to bigger groups,” Adams said. “It’s a nice win-win. I got to do something that I love to do.”
By day Adams works as a marketer for Vine Street Imports, which specializes on wine imports from Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. In her spare time, the amateur wine educator offers online wine classes, as well as those at Buckingham Valley Vineyard, through her business, Common Road Wine.
She first got a taste of wine tours while managing a French wine bar in Washington, D.C.
“That’s where I got very comfortable talking with people about wine,” she said.
Last year, while completing her internship and thesis at Galen Glen Winery in the Lehigh Valley, Adams became reacquainted with wine classes and talking about German wine varieties.
“Those both sold out,” she said. “I found those to be a blast. I want to find a way to keep doing this.”
Upon moving to Bucks County, Adams met the Forest family, who have owned and operated the 40-acre Buckingham Valley Vineyard since 1966.
“I really like them and wanted to keep working with them,” she said. “It was all very serendipitous to land in this area.”
Group wine classes will be held in Buckingham’s downstairs wine cellar.
“You feel like you’re in Europe,” Adams said of the space.
Charlotte Adams of Common Road Wine will offer hour-long wine tasting sessions for groups of six to 20 on select Saturdays at Buckingham Valley Vineyards, 1521 Durham Road in Buckingham. Cost is $35 per person and includes a wine tasting of five Buckingham wines paired with snacks. To reserve tickets, please visit https://www.commonroadwine.com/book.