James Suckling Masterclass Review 2022

This article “James Suckling Masterclass Review” will provide you with the opportunity to read an in-depth evaluation of James Suckling’s Masterclass, including information on how the lessons are presented, who the course is best suited for, the cost, what I enjoyed about it, etc.

When it comes to appreciating good wines, James Suckling is a world-renowned wine critic who can tell you just what to look for.

After tasting more than 200,000 different wines throughout his career, the internationally renowned wine reviewer and former magazine editor understand exactly what to look for when sipping, smelling, and savoring bottles that range from “table wine” to bucket list vintages and everything in between.

For those just beginning their journey into the world of wine and needing some guidance, James Suckling is an excellent resource.

He can help you learn how to properly appreciate the flavors you have in front of you, rather than spending money on rare bottles that cost the equivalent of your monthly mortgage payment.

If you want to be “prettified” about wine, “I can help you with that, too,” Suckling jokingly says in his MasterClass opening speech.

In an effort to teach his “students” about the fundamentals of viticulture and what makes great wines wonderful, a Tuscan-based, American wine critic plans to take them on a tour of the Italian vineyards.

Learn how to properly taste and talk about wine, how to buy “fifteen dollar bottles that taste like a hundred dollars,” and enhance your general confidence when it comes to enjoying wine in the James Suckling Teaches Wine Appreciation MasterClass.

Who Is James Suckling?

Who Is James Suckling

James Suckling is a former Senior Editor and European Bureau Chief of Wine Spectator and European Editor of Cigar Aficionado.

A seasoned critic of both wine and vintage cigars, Suckling enjoys widespread respect as one of the world’s most renowned wine writers.

Having said that, I’ll spare you the biography and instead highlight some of the most important points in my professional career:

  • James Suckling, formerly regarded as one of the most prominent wine critics in the United States and now recognized on a global scale, established his own wine media website in 2010.
  • Beginning his career at Wine Spectator as an Assistant Editor, he has since sampled close to 225,000 different wines and has three decades of experience under his belt.
  • In addition to hosting his own highly regarded wine tastings all around the world, he also operates his very own wine bar within the Euro-Korean restaurant that his wife owns and operates.

James Suckling has over 56,000 people following him on Twitter, so if you’re interested in what he has to share, you should definitely do so. You can also check out his website jamessuckling.com

What Is MasterClass?

What Exactly Is MasterClass

MasterClass is an online learning platform that was established in 2015 and currently offers more than 90 different classes.

The masterClass is unique among online education options since its instructors are well-known celebrities who are also subject matter experts.

Cooking classes are taught by Gordon Ramsay, leadership classes are taught by Anna Wintour, directing classes are taught by Martin Scorsese, and film score classes are taught by Hans Zimmer.

Keeping this information in mind, it should come as no surprise that MasterClass has emerged as the leader in online education.

However, as someone who has participated in a significant number of MasterClasses themselves, I can confidently declare that it is not for everybody.

Therefore, in this review of James Suckling MasterClass, I will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of taking the course in order to assist you in determining whether or not you should enroll.

Course Overview – James Suckling Masterclass Review

James Suckling Masterclass Course Summary

01 –  Introduction

James Suckling, who is known all over the world for his expertise in wine, will be your next professor. James will give you a tour of the Il Borro Cellars in Tuscany as part of the first class of your wine appreciation course. He will explain what you can expect to learn, why he is teaching it, and how it can improve your life.

02 – Tasting Techniques: Conducting a Blind Tasting (James Suckling Points)

James is of the opinion that blind tasting can reveal a great deal about a given wine. Develop your sense of taste and become familiar with the scale of one hundred points so you can evaluate the quality of a wine.

03 – Discerning Flavors and Aromas: Student Tasting Experience

In order to have any kind of appreciation for wine, you need to be able to taste it properly first. Discussing flavor, aroma, acidity, structure, texture, and balance can help you get a better understanding of the common traits shared by different varietals.

04 – Meet the Maker: An Introduction

There’s a tale behind every bottle. Get to know the maker behind the historic Marchesi Antinori, and find out more about the role that the winemaking family played in the development of the renowned Super Tuscan Tignanello.

05 – Appreciation on Location, Part 1: A Vertical Tasting

Both the soil and the climate are extremely important factors in the production of wine. Using a vertical tasting of Tignanello, James guides you through the process of discerning small differences between years of production.

06 – Appreciation on Location, Part 2: Barrel Tasting

When compared to tasting from a bottle, tasting from a barrel might produce very different results. Discover what characteristics to search for in the barrel and how to evaluate the future development of a wine.

07 – Primary Factors of Influence: In the Vineyard

The vineyard is where the production of every outstanding wine begins. James will teach you the fundamentals of viticulture as he explains the elements that contribute to the making of a great wine, including the significance of the soil, climate, varietals, and regions.

08 – Storing and Curating: A Home Cellar

James provides expert advice on how to construct and arrange a wine cellar in the comfort of one’s own home, how to safely store and mature essential bottles, and how to collect with self-assurance.

09 – Education and Etiquette: Reading a Wine List

The method of deciphering a wine list is explained in detail by James, who is joined in this endeavor by the illustrious winemaker Lamberto Frescobaldi. Acquire the skills and manners necessary to place orders in a restaurant in an appropriate manner and to appropriately share items from your personal collection.

10 – Breaking the Rules of Pairings: A Tuscan Luncheon

When it comes to experimenting with food and wine pairings, James believes that breaking the rules is a crucial part of the whole dining experience. Acquiring the knowledge of how to combine unusual foods and wines will allow you to discover and enjoy very original flavor combinations.

11 – Closing

James wraps up the night by reviewing the fundamentals of wine appreciation, which are as follows: Be curious, have passion, share with your family and friends, and above all else, don’t drink terrible wine!

Pros & Cons – James Suckling Masterclass Review


1. Remarkable Chance to Study with James Suckling

James Suckling is an esteemed authority on wine education thanks to his more than three decades of experience working in the wine industry as a journalist and critic. In point of fact, his career to this point has made him a well-known figure not just in the United States but also abroad.

This MasterClass is Suckling’s first attempt at teaching an online course, and as a result, it presents a unique and unparalleled learning experience.

The fact that he takes you on a tour of the vineyards in Tuscany, that he invites you to participate in a student tasting, and that he even holds his own wine-and-food tasting event with friends and family demonstrates that this course offers excellent value.

2. Outstanding Visuals and Demonstrations

Every video in this class includes important visuals including diagrams, charts, and definitions of terms from the glossary. These are displayed on-screen to supplement each session, and they are a wonderful way to break up the material being presented.

If you are someone who learns best through seeing things, you will probably find that this is helpful when it comes to recalling specifics. In addition, rather than merely hearing about the procedure, having visual demonstrations on screen makes a significant impact in the learning experience.

In addition, I discovered that this is an effective method for condensing difficult information into a style that is simple to understand. These illustrations are a great resource for enhancing your understanding of the material, and they may be found both in the Workbook and in the videos themselves.

3. Outstanding and Creative Workbook

Without the Workbook, I honestly do not believe that this class would have been able to deliver the same kind of punch. In addition to chapter summaries and a wine index, MasterClass has obviously made this resource use so that you can take charge of your own education.

It provides tasting questions, practice exercises, and illustrations that may be printed out and followed. Even though the course is a little over two hours long, you have access to a large number of materials that can extend your education beyond the courses.

4. Complete Delivery Method

Suckling isn’t like some of the other MasterClass professors who seem purposefully elusive in order to keep their “trade secrets” a secret.

Wine specialist Suckling has a wealth of knowledge on the subject, from discussing the effect of volcanic soil on wine to outlining the climatic contrasts between Burgundy and Bordeaux.

Many of his lectures, in fact, are presented in an almost documentary approach. The best way for him to demonstrate his knowledge is to take you across the Tuscan countryside and pour wine from the barrel for you to sample.

I took a lot of notes during the lesson, which I believe is a sign of how well-informed it was. It also provided me with a plethora of subtopics to investigate further on my own.


1. Most Wines Are Expensive

The fact that most of Suckling’s wines are priced at a premium is one of MasterClass’s more significant drawbacks. Even though he feels that everybody is capable of having a wine collection, he is adamant that one should not waste their time drinking inexpensive wine.

When I was looking for student feedback, I saw that a lot of viewers were dismayed by the fact that they were unable to purchase the wines listed in the index. It would have made the experience more approachable if at least some of the wines were priced affordably.

2. Documentary-based as opposed to lecture-based

As was previously indicated, Suckling’s MasterClass has the appearance and feel of a documentary. This is due to the fact that a significant portion of his teaching consists of film of him delivering live classes or having conversations about winemaking with other viticulturists.

Some people find that this is an excellent method of education. You are not merely exposed to Suckling’s commentary; rather, you are put in the middle of the winemaking process. The course gives the impression that you are getting a look at the wine world from behind someone else’s shoulder.

Even though this is a benefit for some students, if you prefer studying through lectures more than anything else, this might not be the right class for you. Although I believe that Suckling does his best to strike a balance in his teaching, it is important to point out that his lessons aren’t always delivered in a straightforward manner.

3. Less Attention Paid to Nose Training

I expected to learn more about how to train your nose while taking this course. I had hoped that Suckling would teach you how to detect and differentiate between different qualities of a song’s melody.

Unfortunately, this course lacked the resources necessary for many students. You’ll start with a blind tasting and then move on to a student session, where everyone has a basic understanding of wine.

The student session was more like a discussion than a class. However, Suckling does not go into detail about how his students can actually detect what he is seeing.

The students appear to be more knowledgeable than the average beginner. It seemed to me that Suckling had previously instructed the students in the fundamentals of wine-tasting before this class.

4. A Course More at the Intermediate Level

As I previously stated, this class appears to be too advanced for new students. Suckling does not instruct you in the art of wine characterization. It’s unlikely that Suckling will be able to help you find an apricot in your Pinot Noir.

As a result, I’d classify this as an intermediate course. If you’re interested in winemaking, you’ll learn about the history of winemaking and pick up some new terms, but you won’t be able to discern the aromas in a wine.

In addition to having difficulty deciphering the terms, you would not have the Workbook at your disposal. Most of the words used in the video are defined below the video, but Suckling uses jargon that may be unfamiliar to you.

Who Should Take This Course?

The best candidate for Suckling’s MasterClass, in my opinion, is:

  • Becoming familiar with even the most basic terms for describing wines
  • In the mood to learn more about wine from an authority?
  • With an interest in winemaking’s origins and processes.
  • They are eager to learn more about wine kinds.

Someone with some prior understanding of wine would benefit the most from taking this course. If you’ve taken a taster session, you may want to advance your language skills. You might also want to learn more about the various types of wine and the people who have made them.

When it comes to beginners, this course may not be enough. Basics are not going to be discussed. When it comes to honing your sense of smell, though, the course is significantly less sophisticated.

Plans & Pricing – James Suckling Masterclass Review

At the time of this writing, a subscription to MasterClass costs $180 a year, which breaks down to $15 per month. If you purchase a subscription, you will have access to all of MasterClass’s more than 90 different classes.

The fantastic aspect of this is that the effective cost of each class will decrease proportionately to the number of lessons that are taken.

For instance, if you are able to locate at least four to six classes that you are interested in taking, this indicates that your average cost per class is between thirty and forty-five dollars. ($180 / 6 lessons = $30).

When you consider that these lectures are presented by renowned industry professionals, the price is an incredible deal. It’s a kind of educational shortcut if you will.

In the event that you are not satisfied with your purchase, MasterClass will return your money within the first thirty days.

There is a method available for you to purchase the course on an individual basis; however, this method is not as straightforward as the others.

You can give yourself a gift of learning by purchasing a single MasterClass and giving it to someone else as a present. This location charges a price of $90. On the other hand, one could argue that purchasing an All-Access pass offers the best value.

Alternatives Courses – James Suckling Masterclass Review

The sole class on MasterClass that focuses on wine is the one taught by James Suckling. Having stated that there are still further classes available in the category of Food and Drinks:

  • Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana – Mixology
  • Gabriela Camara – Mexican Cooking
  • Thomas Keller – Cooking Techniques
  • Massimo Bottura – Modern Italian Cooking
  • Aaron Franklin – Texas-Style BBQ
  • Dominique Ansel – French Pastry Fundamentals
  • Gordon Ramsay – Cooking
  • Alice Waters – The Art of Home Cooking
  • Wolfgang Puck – Cooking
  • Apollonia Poilane – Bread Baking
  • Yotam Ottolenghi – Modern Middle Eastern Cooking

Although the objective of these courses is different from that of Suckling, they are nonetheless complementary. Additionally, if you purchase the all-access pass, you will be able to view each of these individual courses. This is a fantastic opportunity to obtain a well-rounded educational background.

Udemy’s Wine Tasting course is one option for those who don’t want to take the MasterClass route. Although this is more affordable, I do not believe it can match the level of experience offered by Suckling or the production values offered by MasterClass.

Final Decision?

When it comes to the depth and breadth of material covered, Suckling’s MasterClass more than lives up to its reputation. If, on the other hand, you are fine with learning how to taste wine on your own, a less expensive choice might be more suitable for you.

Having said that, if you are interested in taking at least one more class, I believe that the all-access ticket that MasterClass offers the most value for the money.

Users Review – James Suckling Masterclass Review

The purpose of this article is to provide a review of James Suckling’s MasterClass that is as objective and objective as possible. Therefore, it is beneficial to attract attention to the experiences of other people.

I found a variety of opinions when I searched for them on Reddit and other online communities. In terms of providing participants with the skills they required, the training did not live up to the standards set by certain participants:

Student Comment 1: “I had hopes of developing a deeper appreciation for wine as well as becoming more skilled in selecting wines that both I and my visitors will take pleasure in drinking. Despite the fact that the session was mildly enjoyable and that Suckling is undeniably an authority on the subject matter, the seminar did not provide me with the tools that I desired at this time. It was a wonderful way to get started, but I wish there had been more of a focus on how to do things.

Student Comment 2: “I felt like the session went into more advanced material than was appropriate for beginners without covering some of the fundamentals (why is he sipping white wine before red? An evaluation of the target demographic for this class appears to be the source of the issue. James is clueless about how to communicate with newcomers, so during tastings, he just rambles on in his usual manner, which does not result in a successful landing.

Student Comment 3: Some people criticize James Suckling (and a lot of other critics in general) for giving wines artificially high ratings, but I believe that critics like him are fantastic because they help promote passion and love for wine. One example of this can be found here.

Student Comment 4: “I felt as though I was sitting at James’ dinner table and I absolutely adored this class. It was a really private and memorable occasion. Both my spouse and I have a passion for wine, and he also enjoys collecting it. It was a great experience all around, and I would recommend it to anyone who is passionate about wine and loves to celebrate with it.

Overall, MasterClasses have a tendency to split people. This class was a disappointment for students who were hoping to learn more about how to do things. Suckling’s goal is to make you enjoy wine more, and this session was a hit with students who were interested in winemaking and its history.

It all comes down to this:

The MasterClass of James Suckling encourages people to learn more about wine. It serves as a stepping stone to more in-depth study for me. This course will teach you everything you need to know about the history of wine. An introduction to wine-tasting, on the other hand, would be better served by taking another course.

Is Course Content Really Unique?

To put it simply, no.

Because winemaking and tasting is such a popular pastime, there appears to be an almost infinite amount of knowledge available on the subject. There is a plethora of internet resources, such as Wine Spectator, that have articles that provide insightful information regarding wines. Even YouTube can be used to find the information you need.

In spite of this, James Suckling, who is also a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, is a well-known wine critic who has a great deal of expertise under his belt. You will also enjoy the benefits of a well-structured lesson that has been developed especially with the needs of the student in mind when you sign up for MasterClass.

Therefore, despite the fact that the world of wine is not in any way a mysterious industry, this seminar is a unique opportunity to get knowledge directly from James Suckling. Suckling does not have any publications that cover wine in its entirety, and I was unable to locate him talking wine on the same level as he did in his MasterClass.

Because of this, I believe that this change is one that is valuable, and in addition, you receive a far broader perspective on wine than you would from taking a course that focuses solely on wine tasting.

James Suckling Masterclass Review: Is It Worth It?

This MasterClass is probably going to be right up your alley if the world of wine criticism or James Suckling is something that interests you.

If you’re interested in learning more about regional wines and the history of famous vintages, you’ll find this to be an especially intriguing read.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a step-by-step instruction manual on how to taste wine, this class is probably not for you.


If you thought what you saw in the trailer was interesting and you have at least a passing fascination with the process of making and appreciating wine, I believe you will get something out of this.

James Suckling is a well-known authority in his field, and both the MasterClass and the workbook that goes along with it are packed with informative demos and resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the James Suckling MasterClass?

The length of James Suckling’s MasterClass is two hours and twenty-two minutes, and it is comprised of eleven videos.

How much does James Suckling’s MasterClass cost?

An all-access pass to MasterClass can be purchased for $180 per year (or $15 per month). This grants you access to more than ninety different courses, one of which is James Suckling’s MasterClass.

Can I get a refund if I don’t like the James Suckling MasterClass?

If you make your purchase directly with MasterClass, you are eligible for a refund within the first 30 days after your purchase. If you make purchases through other providers, you may be subject to the return policy of those providers.

Can you get the James Suckling MasterClass for free?

The MasterClass by James Suckling is not, however, available for free download or streaming. However, MasterClass provides a number of different purchase alternatives, and if you aren’t satisfied with the service, you may get your money back.

Is there a masterclass on wine?

James Suckling is a wine educator who teaches classes. Flavor, fragrance and structure— Wine expert James Suckling will teach you to understand the stories contained in each bottle of wine as he guides you through his lessons.

Is Masterclass worth it?

If you’re interested in learning from leading professionals in a wide range of creative fields, Masterclass is a worthwhile investment. If you aren’t interested in their subject matter or would rather study from a different set of instructors, this might not be the best fit for you.

How’s the course quality of the Masterclass?

Every aspect of creating a Masterclass course is given meticulous consideration. The course material and the learning experience will most likely be excellent; but, there is always the chance that you won’t like a particular class.

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