Meet Joseph Quintela, Assistant General Manager and Beverage Director at Toro NYC. Find him hosting Master Class on Mondays from 6-7pm giving wine and spirit focused knowledge for an intimate group of 8. Each week by his side are featured guests that make this learning experience much more barroom than classroom.
Master Class is on hiatus for August, but Joseph will be kicking off again mid-September with Del Maguey, and a stellar line up to follow. The Master Class is just $10 per person most Mondays, email firstname.lastname@example.org for details and reservations. In the meantime, here’s what he has to say about how he fell into a love affair with wine, his favorite Master Class’s so far, and what to expect each Monday at the Plancha Bar at Toro NYC.
What is Master Class?
On Mondays we invite an expert in one of a kind wine or spirits to host an informal hour with 8 guests at our plancha bar. They pour generous tastes and we eat meats and cheeses, and it’s a great combination between a social experience and a classroom experience. One thing it’s definitely not - is stuffy. Despite using the term master class it’s very light and convivial.
What have some of your favorite Master Classes been?
Recently we did Cava versus Champagne, where we tasted in three different styles, comparing the two. Champagne and cava are made the same way, they are just from a very different terroir, so it makes a fascinating comparison.
We did a mezcal tasting where we had a number of different single-village mezcals from Del Maguey. Somms fall very hard for mezcal because it’s very terroir-driven; and created via an artisan process.
There was one on Spanish spirits like Orujo and Hierbas and Spanish brandy, Spanish vermouth. All things that a great spanish bar like ours is stocked with but you might not know much about.
What should guests expect to take away?
I think most often they take away the memory of a fun experience. A memory of when they were introduced to a wine or spirit that they might have a broader knowledge of moving forward. I think that’s what we do here: make memories.
How did you get into the industry?
When I left school in Madison, Wisconsin in the early 2000s and was looking for a job, I walked into a serving job at a really nice French restaurant. I suddenly had expendable income and I started going to wine bars in Madison, buying a bottle and sharing it with people at the bar. (Laughs) I kind of offered a reverse Master Class, where I provided the wine and hoped people would provide me with expertise.
What are you drinking at home these days?
I don’t drink at home very often, my wife and I have a two-year-old and are pretty focused parents. We’ll drink Brooklyn Defender on the rare occasion we have a beer.