Wine Education

In addition to sharing our passion for wine with guests in our restaurants, Union Square Hospitality Group is excited to offer wine education and experiences outside the walls of our businesses. Our James Beard Award-winning Master Sommelier, John Ragan, along with our talented team of wine professionals, leads a range of custom wine education programs for personal enrichment, entertainment, and business skill development.

Understanding Wine | Private Wine Classes | Meet the Instructor: John Ragan, MS

Public Wine Class – Understanding Wine

An immersive, 10-week exploration of the world of wine.

Our popular ten-week wine class in New York City, led by USHG Master Sommelier John Ragan and offered in partnership with the Institute of Culinary Education, is based on the same insider wine education curriculum taught to all USHG sommeliers. In addition to an immersive, in-depth tour of the major wine regions of the world, accompanied by robust tastings, students learn about the winemaking industry, the influence of terroir, how to pair food and wine, tips for buying and collecting wine, and insights into how restaurants build and maintain their wine cellars.

Week 1: Wine Tasting Like a Pro
Week 2: From the Vineyard to the Table
Week 3: Wines from the New World
Week 4: Bordeaux vs. Burgundy
Week 5: France - Off the Beaten Path
Week 6: The World of Riesling - Alsace, Austria, & Germany
Week 7: Italian Holiday - Touring Italy from North to South
Week 8: Picks from the Peninsula - Spain & Portugal
Week 9: Sparkling Wine - Champagne & Beyond
Week 10: Mapping your Palate - Pairing Food & Wine

Private Wine Events and Education

USHG offers private wine education and experiences for corporate gatherings, leadership retreats, and more. Engagements are designed to align our insights and expertise with the particular interests of your group, whether your audience is capping off a day of workshops, or learning to navigate a wine list with confidence and skill for client entertainment scenarios. We have taught private wine programs for a range of industries, including finance, retail, and higher education. We look forward to working with you!

To learn more and book an engagement, email Helen Goodman at

Meet the Instructor

John Ragan, Master Sommelier and Union Square Hospitality Group’s Senior Director of Operations, has directed wine programs at acclaimed restaurants in Napa, San Francisco, and New York City, including Campton Place and Eleven Madison Park, where he earned a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service.

As Senior Director of Operations, John works with each of USHG’s restaurants to implement exceptional and distinctive wine programs, as well as employee education. In addition, John oversees internal beverage education, teaches classes for industry professionals and wine enthusiasts, and leads private wine events.

Committed to organizing charitable involvement within the wine community, John has spearheaded initiatives to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief and community-based food programs.

Interested in a career in wine? 

Join our team

See a day in the life of the Sommelier team at Maialino