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Wine Classes Keep the Pre-Wedding Celebration Classy

Palate Partners School of Wine & Spirits offers a chance for brides- and grooms-to-be to explore libations before (or instead of) a night on the town.

Photos contributed


Having alcohol at a bachelor or bachelorette party is nothing unusual, but there’s one way you can keep things classy while imbibing.

Palate Partners School of Wine & Spirits in Lawrenceville offers private tastings for bridal parties, stag parties and a variety of other events. Adam Knoerzer (himself a fairly newlywed) started there in March as the dean of drinking and certified sommelier, and he brings a wealth of knowledge for those looking to learn.

“Wine sort of suffers from a little bit of lack of approachability and a perceived stuffiness and exclusivity and I find that kind of to be an obstacle in making wine an everyday beverage for people the way beer might be,” he says. “What I want to do is keep wine fun, keep it approachable … You don’t have to know a lot about it to like it.”

Knoerzer, whose specialty is South African and Chilean wines, says he can customize the tastings around a theme or the bride or groom’s preferences.

“It really runs the gamut,” he says. “French wines or Italians, new versus old, all rosés, all sparklings. Oftentimes, we get a lot of folks who say, ‘We just like wine. We’ll let you choose what to do, because we don’t know a whole lot, and you’re the expert.’”

Knoerzer says bridal parties most frequently host a tasting as a prelude to a night out or as a get together with friends as a pre-wedding treat. He’s also had parents of the happy couple call and schedule a tasting as a gift.

“Saturday afternoon is quite popular,” he says. “Maybe they’ll do a two-hour tasting … with bread or cheese or an expanded antipasti. This is a good way to start that Saturday evening off.”

When Tiffany Yoder hosted her sister’s bachelorette celebration in April at Palate Partners, she chose to hold the tasting at the end of the festivities.


“A lot of the bridal party was from out of town, so we had dinner on Friday evening at another winery, Narcisi Winery, then we went to the Omni [William Penn Hotel] and stayed there and went out a little bit, and when we got up in the morning we went to the wine tasting,” she says. “I was looking for something a little bit different to do for a bachelorette party.”

She says her sister, Taylor Miller (pictured), enjoys sweeter wines, so Palate Partners offered several sweeter selections for them to taste.

“That worked out really well,” Yoder says. “It was a good amount to try, but it wasn’t overwhelming. We were able to bring in some food to have with the wine, and we had a great time; it was very casual and a lot of fun.”

Knoerzer brings his knowledge to a wealth of classes at the Lawrenceville site, from Greek wines to summer reds to celebrations of whites.


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