Somm Insider Vol. 14 ~ Food & Wine Pairing Classes

Somm Insider: Volume 14
What: Food & Wine Pairing Classes
Where: LDV Winery, 6951 E. 1st Street, Scottsdale
By: Darla Hoffmann

The epicure in me is what truly makes me love my work and embrace life’s offerings. To me, there is nothing more gratifying than trying out a new recipe and pairing it with a great wine. Happily, myself and Jennifer Johnson, an international chef of 30 years and owner of Witnessing Nature in Food, host food and wine pairing classes at LDV Winery in Scottsdale.

Jen has traveled all over the world in order to bring gastronomic memories to the table while keeping a careful mindset of her goals to create healthy dishes that are locally sourced.

“I enjoy watching people be happy and satisfied with food,” she says. “Too many times we see great food and find it tastes mediocre at best. I love providing a total sensory experience.”

She started her business in October of 2015 and does catering, food preparation for families, and holds healthy cooking classes at various locations. Jen wants people to feel energetic after eating, so she is diligent about providing natural ingredients.

“If you start with great ingredients,” she says, “it is easier to provide delicious and nutritious meals. I know how to cook many different types of cuisine and keep them nutritious. My style of cooking is French and Italian influenced American food.”

As a Sommelier, I understand the way wine complements food. Personally, it would never crosses my mind to have dinner without a glass of wine. I’ve done my share of traveling as well and constantly interact with people in the industry all over the globe in order to incorporate new ideas into my classes. I am inspired by different cultures and how we can learn from each other’s influences. Like they say in Italy, ‘Wine is Food’.

I own a wine education and marketing business called ‘About Wine’ and have done quite a bit of work at LDV Winery where some of our classes are held. It’s a great venue for this type of class, with a cozy environment in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. Our upcoming class is going to be held on Sunday, June 24th from 11am-1pm and will be a hands-on grilling class, teaching techniques and skills to bring out the best flavors in the food and the wine. We will feature Rhone style wines from the South of France with the mastery of LDV’s approach. After eating your own hand-prepared, grilled skewers, you’ll enjoy a delectable apple tartine.

Our classes are fun and interactive, yet give you just the right amount of space to learn and channel your own creative juices. Two wine-obsessed, dangerously absorbed gourmands at work is not something you will want to miss. Check out Chef Jennifer’s website and mine at to learn more about wine and cooking and all that you can learn by coming to one of our classes.

Register for the Lets get Cooking: Grilling and Wine Class on LDV Winery’s Facebook page HERE or by calling (480) 664-4822 to reserve your spot, as seating is limited. The price of the class is $45 per person; payment due at the time of registration. Due to liquor laws, the wine must be purchased separately after the class. The flight of three wines for the class is $8. Glasses will be available at happy hour prices which is $2 off, and bottles will be available for purchase as well. LDV Winery is located at, AZ 85251.

Darla Hoffmann, passed both her Sommelier Level 1 and Certified Level 2 exams with the highest score in her class, earning the esteemed “Walter Clore Scholarship”. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine and Hospitality Beverage under the Society of Wine Educators, and a member of The Wine Century Club. She works in the tasting room of Scottsdale’s LDV Wine Gallery, has written for City Sun Times, MYnewsMesa, and The Society of Wine Educators’ website. Darla is the sole proprietor of About Wine, which focuses on wine education and marketing through means of tastings, classes, and promotions. She conducts customized classes at various restaurants and events in Phoenix. For more info, visit:

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