Conference Highlights 2017: Teaching and Tasting

We had a wonderful time at the 41st Annual Conference of the Society of Wine Educators, held August 10-12, 2016 at the lovely Red Lion Hotel on the River, located on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon. Below you will find some pictures, presentations, and handouts provided by our wonderful speakers – the next best thing to being there!

Tim Gaiser, MS

Tim Gaiser, MS

Insight: Best Practices for Teaching Professional Tasting—presented by Tim Gaiser, MS:  On Friday morning, Tim Gaiser, MS shared the results of his recent survey on the best practices for teaching and coaching students in professional-level wine tasting. The session began with a discussion of best practices in teaching a tasting grid. Some of the advice (paraphrased) was as follows: use repetition until the “grid” becomes second nature, use “PRAT” (pace, rhythm, and timing), and to record one’s self going through the exercise.

The session moved on to a conversation about improving memory of specific aromas, tastes, flavors,  structural elements, and faults. Best practices for teaching these elements included the following (paraphrased as): start with extreme examples and work towards the middle, use an internal visual scale, and experience the basic fruits (cherry, apple, plum) at various stages (fresh, cut, dried, bruised, stewed).

For more details, including the actual quotations and their attributions, see Tim’s presentation: Insight-Best Practices for Teaching Professional Tasting-presented by Tim Gaiser, MS

Mike Cohen, CWE

Mike Cohen, CWE

The Chemistry of Wine Tasting—presented by Mike Cohen, CWE: On Saturday morning, Mike Cohen, CWE presented a detailed class about the chemistry and physiology of wine tasting. To start things off, there was a discussion of the chemical properties of wine, such as acids, sugars, alcohols, and polyphenols.

Next, the physiology of sensory perception in sight, smell, and taste was discussed. Finally, the session covered the brain’s role in sensory perception and the various factors—including the physical, chemical, biological, and psychological—that influence the sensory perception of wine. For more information, see Mike’s presentation: The Chemistry of Wine Tasting-presented by Mike Cohen, CWE

We will be posting many more conference recaps in the days to come, and will create a permanent record of them here.


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One Response to Conference Highlights 2017: Teaching and Tasting

  1. Lynn says:

    Attended Tim’s session, fabulous, a great speaker and presenter, and engaging with the audience. Hope you bring him back!

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