WINE – this post is completely about wine, my best friend/nemesis at times, and something I crave on a daily Olivia Pope kind of basis. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take an intensive 3-day introductory wine course at the International Wine Guild, and it has completely changed the way I think about wine. I’ll start by saying I LOVE wine – red wine that is. If I could, I would pair it with my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and maybe some snacks (I assure you, I don’t have a problem). Usually when I go to the store, I choose my wine by walking into the California cab section, opening up the vivino app on my phone, and scan wines until I find something in the 4.0 range. Not anymore!! This course has broadened my horizons, and I’m no longer scared to walk into other sections and find what I like!
Do you see all this wine?!?! We tasted all this and more – and by the end I could tell you with just a taste how aged the bottle was, and how much longer it needed to be at prime drinking :). Pretty cool right?!
I was very curious before I took the class, about what types of people would be there – wine industry professionals? Wine enthusiasts? Winos like me who set up with a glass of red most nights to watch my shows? I had no idea, but it was such a pleasant surprise when I arrived to see what everyone’s backgrounds were. From professionals in the industry, to bloggers, to software sales, to retirees – people from all walks of life were enrolled to spend our next three nights together drinking and talking about something we all feel so passionate about. When I asked our instructor the general course enrollment stats, he said it was about 80/20 enthusiasts to professionals – I loved this fact. Such a large number of people just taking this class in their spare time because it is something they love and want to learn more about – (it makes for a great gift people… hint, hint, and they have locations in 9 different states!!!).
Brad (the guy below, and a software sales professional) was given this class as a gift from his lovely wife – about a week after the class, he took his Level I certification and passed! I think it is so great when people make investments like this in their hobbies – it’s important to make time for our passions and the things that make us happy!
Everyone taking the class had a love for wine and food in some capacity, and all were there to soak up whatever knowledge was thrown at us. This is something I really want to stress about taking this course – if you simply have the passion for wine, this is an incredible investment to make. Not only was it a great networking opportunity, but I got the chance to learn more about something, and actually broaden my horizons on the topic. Yes, I love wine, but I will be the first person to admit besides a California cab, there isn’t too much I actually know. What can I say, I grew up with a dad who has frequent wine club subscriptions to every good cab around!
Our instructor Daniel was one of the reasons I think I loved this course so much. As much as I LOVED learning about wine, there was so much more to the course than simply that. It was an amazing history lesson of the world on how and why certain regions grow and drink different types of wine, why certain types of grapes grow where they do, how wine has shaped so much of history, and much more– it was completely fascinating. Daniel has been teaching since 2010 with the guild, and the thing that is so great about him is no matter if you are beginner or intermediate, he brings everyone on the same level right away.
We learned about everything from the growing of the grapes, to pressing them, and on to other details like fermentation and storage. One of my favorite aspects of the class was of course, the tasting :). We did so many tastings I cannot even give you the number, and by the end I could even give you those silly descriptions of what I think the wine smells like (grandma’s closet, old lipstick, cat pee…. you get the idea). It definitely took me a while to start to pick out different notes that I recognized, but by the end I was flying! The key to this part is confidence – you can say your wine smells like a freshly opened can of tennis balls for all anyone cares, but if you say it confidently, it will pass.
Other important things to note that you will walk away from after this class:
- New vs. old world wine knowledge
- The new wine culture in the U.S. and how it evolved
- The history of all the wine growing regions
- The effect weather and region has on grapes
- Wine aging
- Wine making
- Key terms and concepts
- Warm weather wines vs. cold weather
- Descriptive/Comparative evaluations of wine
- Serving details
- Wine classification systems
- Tasting notes (acidity of wine, how to tell how aged it is, what region it comes from, etc.)
I can’t describe how much good taking this class did for me – not just because I am a serious wine freak, but also because it was so fascinating. I really never expected to learn even ¼ of what I did, especially when it came to all the history which I found to be so interesting. I cannot wait to sign up for the food & wine pairing course they offer, and maybe even another class, who knows :).
If you love wine (or you just want to give the best gift ever to someone), be sure to check out The International Wine Guild. They were founded in 1998, voted top wine school in the country in 2009, and will broaden your horizons on something that may even just slightly interest you. Offering several different levels of wine seminars, along with spirits and sake classes, there is sure to be something for everyone! They also have at least 8 different locations in the United States, and are continuing to grow, including trips abroad.
Other reasons to attend a class at the Wine guild:
- They offer job placement assistance
- It’s an International school – they have graduates in 50 states and at least 10 other countries.
- There is a broad range of classes offered
- The International Wine & Spirits Guild is the only vocational wine school that offers more than 24 different professional seminars and courses. Each is an unparalleled experience covering a specific topic in the wine industry.
- Flexible diploma programs – Not everyone who is interested in wine desires to become a Sommelier. The Guild has certification and diploma programs for four specific areas of the industry: merchants, managers, chefs and sommeliers.