Bottoms up

“Good wine is a necessity of life for me,” said Thomas Jefferson, who was known sometimes to speak for all of us. Should you wish to brush up on your necessities, you may visit the Delta King riverboat hotel and restaurant, where wine school is in session as of January 10. Classes here are said to help students realize their New Year’s resolutions to “enjoy life more,” “learn something new” and “meet new friends.” And to do some serious drinking. But in a fun way. The school teaches you to taste wine like a professional. That there is such a thing as professional-level wine tasting might inspire inhibition, but even nonprofessionals understand what short work a little vino can make of inhibition.

Your certified wine instructor will be G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski, who has decades of wine-education experience and a nickname implying his agreeability to drinking games. With each class starting at 6:30 p.m. and running for two hours, the course continues for two more Tuesdays, through the 24th. The whole shebang goes for $99 (an optional fourth class, which includes a five-course gourmet meal, and a couple of wines paired with each course, will run you $85 more). Plus, all that single-vineyard, old-vine Lodi zinfandel you suddenly can’t live without won’t be cheap either.

But the palate wants what it wants. It’s an investment in life, remember. You’ll be parsing fruit bombs and new oak and partial malolactic before you know it. You’ll be declaring your preference for tart forwardness, supple body and a creamy mouthfeel without blushing. Except when that extra glass brings the color to your cheeks. Visit or call (916) 961-6080 for more information.