Wine Away the Winter Days

The Day Sipper offers private wine-education classes

The world of wine can seem daunting to the uninitiated. That’s why when many people pick out a wine to have with dinner or at the end of a long day, they stick with old standbys like chardonnays and cabernets rather than branch out, according to certified sommelier (a trained wine professional) Jamie Day. 

“Knowing your palate and knowing how to pair that on a wine menu can be really interesting – and really challenging,” Day said. “I think people fall back on what they know.” 

But knowing a little more about wine can make a big difference in how people enjoy it. That’s one reason Day started The Day Sipper, a business that brings wine, glassware, food pairings and one sommelier’s expertise to clients’ homes for private group classes. And because Day doesn’t sell wine herself, there’s no push for a sale at the end of the sessions; instead, her goal is to get her students to better understand and appreciate what went into the wine they’re sipping on.

The Day Sipper’s class offerings include the following: 

  • Rosé All Day. Rosé wine, according to Day, is “not just for ladies, it’s not just for daytime and it’s not just for summer.” During these classes, Day teaches students what food to pair with various rosés and helps them discover which region is their favorite for this wine.
  • A Sparkle Kind of Day. Students in this class will examine a champagne, a cava and a prosecco side-by-side and try to guess which one is which after learning about each. 
  • Day Notes. During this red-wine aroma class, guests taste different wines and guess the primary, secondary and tertiary aromas before learning what the winemaker has noted in the wine. 

Day created this class because, while working through sommelier classwork, she struggled to pick out the notes she was supposed to be able to smell in various wines.

“It would say, ‘you should be smelling asparagus or green pepper in this glass of wine,’” Day said. “I would smell it and I just wasn’t getting it.” 

So she would get the food the wine was supposed to smell like and sniff the two side-by-side. This helped Day so much that when putting together the Day Notes class, she decided to make aroma boards, which allow her own students to see or taste the flavors they might be struggling to pick out in their own glass. 

While some Day Sipper students are wine connoisseurs, many others are total beginners, according to Day. She adjusts her “curriculum” – and her menu – according to the experience level of each group. 

A group learns about wine during a Day Sipper class. Photo courtesy of Jamie Day.

“I literally have not done the same lineup twice,” not even for repeat customers, Day said. 

The Birth of the Business

It was Day’s long-standing interest in wine – and a few vineyard-owning friends who gave her the inside scoop on the wine-making process – that inspired her to get educated as a sommelier after retiring.

Having been certified through global certification organization Wine and Spirit Education Trust, Day is now on the second of four levels (introductory sommelier, certified sommelier, advanced sommelier and master sommelier.)

The certification process involved online coursework and tests, with Day learning about where and how grapes are grown, what a winemaker does with them and how the environment is impacted by the process. Level 2 sommeliers like Day also have to learn the ins and outs of 50 to 70 different types of grapes out of the over 10,000 that are used in wines around the world. 

Day finished level one of her training near the end of December 2022, and while she enjoyed what she learned, she realized her new knowledge would fade over time if she didn’t put it into practice. Thus, The Day Sipper was born in early 2023. Day spent the first few months of last year doing trial runs of her wine classes with family and friends and opened things up to the public in March, meaning  2024 will mark the first Door County winter Day’s business has been fully operational. Business has slowed down in the off-season, but Day splits her time between Madison and Fish Creek, offering classes at both locations.

For Day, the business is a perfect combination of three different interests.

“I’m bringing together my education background, my love of bringing people together at events and my love of wine,” Day said. 
Ready to get your wine on? Text 608.513.4945, email [email protected] or message The Day Sipper on Facebook or Instagram (@thedaysipperexperience) to set up a private class for up to six or up to twelve people. For more information, visit