Things To Do

Drink Your Way Through Jewish Museum's History of Beer and Wine Program

A funny guy talking about fine wines as you nibble on cheese and chocolate: What more could you ask for? Florida International University's Jewish Museum of Florida has created an evening of just that with enophile Dr. Patrick Cassidy, where he blends the history of wine, beer, and liquor as you sip and nosh away. 

The event will feature a selection of red and white wines, some kosher and some not, while FIU Professor Patrick Cassidy discusses topics, from the origins of water to beer and wine and their significance from ancient Egypt to the present. Cassidy, or Chip, as he likes to call himself, didn't create the program, but he teaches wine and beverage classes in the "wine lab" at FIU's hospitality school.

Chip tries to cover the aspects of wine and spirits that most people would never guess. He spilled a few fun tidbits, like the fact that beer used to be a form of money in the Egyptian world, and the reason why someone tasted a wine before it was poured around the table was to ensure it wasn't poisonous, because most wines were laced with arsenic in the 19th Century. 

"People just think these beverages just popped up," Chip says. "But it really goes back over 10,000 years. It's pretty much a tasty history lesson."

Chip's journey through beverages began more than 40 years ago when he worked in a wine shop in New York during college. He's now the wine buyer for Crown Wine & Spirits and teaches regularly. Besides being a wine lover, Chip is also quite a character. He's a decorated Vietnam War veteran, avid reader, and passionate fisherman. He met the folks at JMOF after a dinner curated by chef Allen Susser in 2014, and the rest is in the books. 
The first Wine With Chip was held last summer, and because of its success, JMOF decided to bring it back. Marketing and programs director Gita Shonek describes the night as perfect for anyone unfamiliar with the backstory of wines. "Chip explains the taste profile and flavor nuances," Shonek says. "It's a great educational program for someone who does not know that much about wine or for someone who enjoys quality wines in the unique setting of a museum."

The event will be held this Thursday at 7 p.m. in the museum. Tickets are available at

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Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor, with her work appearing in print and digital titles worldwide.
Contact: Clarissa Buch