But at the wine class at Terroir wine bar in Park Slope, students will hear a more user-friendly description: how pinot noir is like a certain troubled Hollywood starlet.
"[Pinot noir is the Lindsay Lohan of grapes...Exciting, thrilling, captivating, gorgeous, great when she is great, but boy can she have some bad days," reads the syllabus for the wine class, which Terroir launched recently on Saturday afternoons.
The goal of the classes is to teach people about wine in a casual, fun way without getting caught up in hoity-toity attitude, said Terroir's Allison Whittinghill.
"You don't have to be training to be a sommelier to appreciate wine," Whittinghill said. "We're not trying to be stuffy. We're not trying to show people what we know and what they don't know. Let's taste wine and not get weird about it."
The six-session class tackles the basics (the first class is called "What is Wine?") then moves on to explore how chardonnay "took over the world," and why riesling is "the word's greatest grape." The course will also delve into how cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc are the Capulets and the Montagues of viticulture.
Each session lasts 60 minutes and costs $20. Park Slopers were apparently thirsting for unpretentious wine knowledge — the classes sold out almost as soon as they were announced, so Terroir added a second round, which rapidly maxed out as well.
But students of wine shouldn't fret. Terroir will offer more classes at its Park Slope location on Fifth Avenue and First Street soon, and the Murray Hill Terroir will also be starting up a similar course, Whittinghill said.