And the Lembeck Award goes to…

Bill and Harriet Lembeck with the Lembeck Award

Bill and Harriet Lembeck with the Lembeck Award

Last August, at SWE’s 41st Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon, a new tradition was begun. Barry Wiss CWE, the President of SWE, inaugurated a new annual award—to be known as the Lembeck Award. The Lembeck Award is intended to serve as a lifetime achievement award, presented annually to a person (or persons) for service to the wine and spirits industry and specifically, for outstanding support of the goals and programs of SWE.

It was a wonderful moment, at our conference luncheon on Thursday, August 10, 2017 when Barry presented the Lembeck Award to its first recipients—who after all, are the namesake of the award itself—Bill and Harriet Lembeck. In order to mark this occasion, I asked both Bill and Harriet to share a bit of their thoughts on the award, and to tell us about their involvement with the Society over the years.

Harriet’s journey in the wine and spirits field began with a part-time job at Hammacher-Schlemmer in New York City. One day a new product—a wine thermometer—arrived and she needed to research the proper service temperature of wines to create a list to be packaged with the thermometer. Harriet says, “I remembered that there was a book called ‘Grossman’s Guide to Wines, Beers and Spirits’ that listed wine service temperatures, and I went to the NY Public Library to look them up. By a quirk of fate, I met the late Harold Grossman at the library, and he told me the answers to my question! Then he told me to take his wine course. I did. Then he asked me to work for him. I did. That’s the class that I’ve been teaching for the past 40 years. I also wrote the 6th and 7th editions of ‘Grossman’s Guide to Wines, Beers and Spirits’ after Harold’s death.”

Harriet Lembeck presenting her "Moonshine" session at SWE's 2015 Conference

Harriet Lembeck presenting her “Moonshine” session at SWE’s 2015 Conference

Harriet’s story continues, “One day I got a call from Bob Levine, who had a textbook publishing company, and who ran a school for engineering professionals. He was the Education Director of the American Wine Society. They had been called by the California Wine Institute, saying that the Wine Institute wanted to start a group consisting of wine educators. The AWS contacted Bob, who contacted me, and told me that there was going to be a new group, and that I should write bylaws. I didn’t even know what bylaws were, but I found a sample set in the back of my Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, and I wrote some makeshift bylaws (heavily edited over the years).”

Not long thereafter, Harriet and Bill Lembeck attended the first-ever meeting of the Society of Wine Educators, held at UC Davis, along with 160 other wine educators. Bob Levine was elected as the first President. Harriet describes that first meeting, “I recall looking around the auditorium at our first meeting, and thinking that these were ‘my people’. We all loved wine and we loved explaining it to others. We cared about teaching techniques. Education and Wine—all rolled up together. What could be better? Eventually we included fine spirits, which was a hard sell to some of our members in the beginning, but, fortunately, not anymore.”

At that first meeting, Harriet volunteered for and subsequently served on the inaugural Admissions, Certifications, and Awards Committees for the Society of Wine Educators. In the following years, she held a number of terms on the Board of Directors, presented at numerous conferences, and continues to be a frequent guest contributor to Wine, Wit, and Wisdom—the Society’s blog.

SWE President Barry Wiss presenting the Lembeck Award along with SWE Past Presidents Robin Kelly O'Connor, Sharron McCarthy, and Edward Korry

SWE President Barry Wiss presenting the Lembeck Award along with SWE Past Presidents Robin Kelly O’Connor, Sharron McCarthy, and Edward Korry

In addition to the Society of Wine Educators, Harriet remains active in the wine and spirits industry through the New York Wine and Food Society, Les Dames d’Escoffier, and the American Wine Society (where she earned an Award of Merit). She is also a frequent judge at wine competitions and has served as the Wine & Spirits Director for the New School University, a visiting Wine Lecturer for Florida International University–Chaplin School of Hospitality, and as Chairman of the New York Wine Press, an organization of wine journalists.

Harriet sums up her thoughts on this award by saying, “I like to think that this new Lembeck Award, which honored Bill Lembeck and me firstly by its name—which traditionally goes to the first recipient—but secondly, with the recognition of our demonstrable love of the Society of Wine Educators, which we have always professed.  We think of it as noting our service to the Society, which we hope will inspire others to follow. It goes without saying that we appreciate SWE President Barry Wiss’ idea of a kind of ‘long-term service, love of Society’ award, which he had produced so beautifully. We are totally surprised and honored!”

Bill and Harriet Lembeck and SWE President Barry Wiss along with SWE Past Presidents

Bill and Harriet Lembeck and SWE President Barry Wiss along with SWE Past Presidents

Along with Harriet, Bill Lembeck is quite possibly the only person to have attended every one of SWE’s 41 conferences. Bill has a background in engineering and business (design, finance, and administration), and is a former instructor at New York University Medical Center, specializing in prosthetics and orthotics. His first experience in the world of wine and spirits found him contributing to Harriet’s edition of “Grossman’s Guide.” Through this project, Bill developed an expertise in drawing wine maps, which eventually led to the production of maps and diagrams for wine and spirits areas around the world—which he gifted to the Society of use in SWE Study Guides and Conferences—all at no charge.

Bill describes his involvement with SWE this way, “I have been a member of the Finance Committee from the very beginning of the Society. Eventually, I became the Society’s Treasurer and fulfilled that position for two separate terms. In the early years, the Society was almost always in financial difficulty. While in my second term as Treasurer, SWE’s certification program had been successfully developed and was up and running. Soon thereafter, we were finally in a position of financial well-being after carefully investing the earnings from our programs. After finishing my second term as Treasurer, I was designated a Director Emeritus and have continued to offer my advice, both financially and administratively.

Bill and Harriet Lembeck presenting on Rum at SWE's 2015 Conference

Bill and Harriet Lembeck presenting on Rum at SWE’s 2015 Conference

“One of my favorite accomplishments was the purchase of 8,000 wine glasses for conference use. The reason for the purchase was that it became exceedingly difficult to rent glasses locally, especially in that quantity for the annual conferences. This glass purchase has provided a substantial saving in all our tasting sessions.

“Over the forty years of our Society’s existence, it is the numerous small details, many of which Harriet and I have initiated and performed, that has helped the Society to grow and prosper. We like to think that this service is what inspired President Barry Wiss to create this award, and to make us the first recipients.” Well said, Bill!

Please join me in saying a hearty “Congratulations” to Bill and Harriet Lembeck, the first recipients of SWE’s new annual Lembeck Award. Congratulations, Harriet and Bill!

Post authored by Jane A. Nickles, CSE, CWE – your blog administrator

Guest Post: CWE Boot Camp—Are You Ready to Pass the Exam?

.

.

Today we have a guest post from Elizabeth Yabrudy, CSS, CSW. Elizabeth tells us about her experience at CWE Boot Camp!

CWE Boot Camp: are you ready to pass the exam?

Officially called Preview Seminar, CWE Boot Camp is a special training designed for those people who want to take the Certified Wine Educator exam. One might wonder: “if I feel confident, why should I attend it?” I will answer this question from my personal experience.

I registered for Boot Camp this year, in the context of the Society of wine Educators Annual Conference. I wanted to know how prepared—or not prepared at all—I was to take the exam.

One of the many reasons this experience was important for me is because I wanted to get as much information as I could—particularly as related to the theory/written component. There is not too much time in a one-day workshop to go depth in terms of theory, and that is obviously something you have to study by yourself. However, Jane Nickles, SWE’s Director of Education and Certification and the leader of this seminar as well, gave the attendees not only some study tips but also exam strategies, including logical thinking tools.

.

.

And then there’s the essay. You know the material, you feel ready to be tested, but do you really know how to express your ideas coherently in an essay? During this seminar, you exercise how to schematize your ideas, breaking them in three main parts: introduction, key points and conclusion. Practice, practice, practice!

Tasting is the other component of the exam. Blind tasting is a challenge for most people. As you probably know, during the CWE Exam you have two identification portions: Varietal and Appellation and Faults/Imbalances. As wine professionals, we are tasting wines very often. But what are you tasting and what will show up during the exam? The CWE Preview Exam confers you the opportunity to know the dynamic around the Varietal and Appellation wine identification through an amazing tasting of four flights of six wines each, followed by a two mock exams. By the end of this section, you’ll know exactly whether or not you are ready for the exam.

Going back to the point I am trying to make here: maybe you could feel you are ready, but suddenly you are in front of some wines you have never tasted before… Or you thought you could clearly distinguish between an Oregon Pinot Noir and a red Burgundy, but during Boot Camp you realize you are not that good.

.

.

Something similar can happens to you during the Faults/Imbalances wine identification. If you are not familiar with them (that is, if you have not practiced with the SWE Wine Fault Kit before), you will be surprised. The good news is that, during Boot Camp, the instructor explains how this portion of the exam works and additionally unveils some “tricks” for selecting the correct answer. However, you have to practice and sharpen your senses to do a good job.

Why should you take to CWE Preview Seminar? Two answers: if you—like me—want to get a personal and closer look to the different components of the exam in order to measure how ready or not you are, this is the most valuable chance you will have. On the other hand, if you are confident you are ready, you can pre-test yourself during this event, especially in the Varietal and Appellation and Faults/Imbalances components of the exam. If you do great, take the next step. If you don’t, breathe deeply and continue practicing. You will do better next time.

After my experience, I truly believe that being part of the CWE Preview Seminar gives you a great opportunity to be part of the reduced amount of people who pass the entire CWE Exam in their first-time. Don’t you want to be in that 12%? I do!

Elizabeth Yabrudy, CSS, CSW

Elizabeth Yabrudy, CSS, CSW

Keep studying, continue practicing, taste as much wines as you can, but overall, have fun during the whole experience. And, of course, register yourself for the next CWE Boot Camp.

Cheers!

About the author: Elizabeth Yabrudy is a sommelier and journalist residing in Venezuela. She stays busy teaching and writing about wine and spirits, as well as leading tastings and service training. In addition to her CSS and CSW credentials, Elizabeth has a Master’s Degree in Electronic Publishing from City University in London. You can find her online at ElizabethYabrudy.wordpress.com.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger or a guest SWEbinar presenter for SWE?  Click here for more information!

Conference Highlights 2017: Focus on Pinot Noir

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!

Eric Hemer, CWE, MS. MW

Eric Hemer, CWE, MS. MW

International Pinot Noir Styles, a Comparative Blind Tasting—presented by Eric Hemer, CWE, MS, MW: This session started off with a brief history of Pinot Noir—since its earliest written mention in 1375 by Duc Philippe le Hardi of Burgundy to its current status as the world’s tenth most planted variety (at 290,000 acres worldwide). Next, its physical characteristics were discussed—small, tight, bunches and thin-skinned berries with lower levels of phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins and tannin.

Next, the lesion included a lesson on the primary growing regions of Pinot Noir—France (76,000 acres (32,000 acres in Champagne, 26,000 in Burgundy, 16,000 in Côte d’Or), the United States (74,000 acres (38,000 in California, 14,500 in Willamette Valley), Germany (29,000 acres), New Zealand: (11,000 acres), Italy (10,000 acres), and Australia (8,700 acres).

A blind tasting of paired wines followed. The wines included world-class Pinot Noir from Savoie (France), New York’s Finger Lakes, Alto Adige (Italy), Marlborough (New Zealand), Alsace (France), Santa Maria Valley (California), Gevry-Chambertin (Burgundy, France), and the Dundee Hills or Oregon. For more information on the session and the wines, download Eric’s presentation: International Pinot Noir Styles, a Comparative Blind Tasting—presented by Eric Hemer

John Reilly, CSS, CE

John Reilly, CSS, CE

Oregon Pinot Noir via Burgundy, California, and back again—presented by John Rielly CSW, CSS: On Thursday afternoon, John Reilly offered a blind tasting of Pinot Noir concentrating on wines with a sense of place from Burgundy, California, and Oregon.

Wines from France included Château de Marsannay Gevrey-Chambertin and Château du Marsannay “Grand Vin de Bourgogne” Marsannay. California wines included Rochioli Vineyards Pinot Noir—Russian River Vineyard and Sanford Winery “La Rinconada” Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Oregon was represented by Maison Roy & Files “Petite Incline” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Westrey Reserve Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. For more information on the wines, the wineries, and the growing regions, see John’s presentation: Oregon Pinot Noir via Burgundy, California, and back again—presented by John Rielly

Click here to see more session recaps from SWE’s 2017 Conference. 

Conference Highlights 2017: Piedmont History and Valpolicella Ripasso  

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!

Suzanne Hoffman

Suzanne Hoffman

A Taste of History: Piemonte Wines, Families, and the Historic Women behind them—presented by Valerie Caruso, CWE, FWS, and Suzanne Hoffman: This session was based, in part, on the stories and photography of the historic wine making families of Piedmont, as documented by Suzanne Hoffman in her book “Labor of Love: Wine Family Women of Piedmont.” Throughout the session attendees were delighted to hear Suzanne read some of the stories from her book, accompanied by delicious wines—as well as wine information and commentary from Valerie Caruso.

The families and wine estates discussed included Deltetto (and their Spumante Brut Reserve produced using Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir), Matteo Correggia (and their Roero Arneis), and Marenco (and their 100% Albarossa produced under the Piemonte DOC). For more information on the wines presented click here: Wines and Producers – A Taste of Piedmont History – Suzanne Hoffman and Valerie Caruso

Nora Favelukes

Nora Favelukes

Valpolicella Ripasso: A Fresh Look at this Unique Style—This session, presented by Nora Favelukes on Saturday afternoon, began with an overview of the Valpolicella Region. The area contains three distinct zones: Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Valpantena, and Valpolicella Orientali (sometimes referred to simply as “Valpolicella”). The area has 18,770 acres of vineyards and 2,347 grape growers.

The distinct “ripasso” style of Valpolicella is produced using a second fermentation (a “ripasso” or “re-pass”) of a newly-fermented Valpolicella wine on a bed of pomace left over from the fermentation of a Valpolicella wine that will become Recioto or Amarone. This unique style of wine received DOC (PDO) designation in 2010.

Further information on the grapes, terroir, and wine styles of the region was interspersed with tastings of Valpolicella Ripasso, which included such diverse wines as Cesari “Mara” 2015, Corte Figaretto “Acini Ameni” 2015, and Remo Fari “Montecornoa” 2014. For more information, see Nora’s presentation: Valpolicella Ripasso A Fresh Look at this Unique Style – presented by Nora Favelukes

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

Conference Highlights 2017: Focus on New York State

Kathy Falbo

Kathy Falbo

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!

You had me at Merlot—presented by Kathy Falbo, CSW: This session began with an overview of both the Merlot grape variety (its name is French for “little black bird” and it is the most widely planted grape in Bordeaux) and the Long Island Wine Region. Key facts about Long Island include its maritime climate, impressive size (118 miles long by 23 miles wide), diverse soils, and prime location at 43°N latitude.

All of this information was interspersed with comparative tastings the placed Merlot-based wines from Long Island against wines from of the world’s most impressive Merlot, including wines from Saint-Émilion, Columbia Valley, Sonoma County, and Green Valley (Solano County).  For more information, see Kathy’s presentation: You had me at Merlot – presented by Kathy Falbo

Bob Madill

Bob Madill, CS

The Finger Lakes on the Wild Side—presented by Lorraine Hems, CS, CWE, and Bob Madill, CS: On Friday morning, Lorraine and Bob began their session by describing the location, history, and terroir of the Finger Lakes wine region of New York. Many attendees were interested to learn that there are actually 11 Finger Lakes and that they vary quite a bit in depth, topography, and the soils that surround them.

One interesting factor in the climate—particularly around the deeper lakes such as Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake—is the influence of the “lake effect.” The lake effect (which can be “calculated” based on the distance from a Great Lake [Lake Ontario], the distance from a Finger Lake and the rise in elevation) helps moderate the potential extremes of the area’s mostly continent climate.

The Finger Lakes AVA currently has 9,500 acres of vines and more than 130 wineries. Only about 23% of the vines are planted to vinifera grapes—but of those, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir are among the leaders.  The session concluded with a tasting of some of the Finger Lakes finest wines, including a dry rosé from Billsboro Winery, a sparkling wine from Dr. Konstantin Frank, Bellangelo barrel-fermented Bench Riesling, and Red Newt Cellars “Limited Engagement” Gewürztraminer, among others. For more information, see Lorraine and Bob’s presentation: The Finger Lakes on the Wild Side—presented by Lorraine Hems and Bob Madill

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

 

 

Conference Highlights: Oregon, South Africa, and Alto-Adige

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!

Carrie Kalscheur, CWE

Carrie Kalscheur, CWE

What Makes Oregon So Special—presented by Carrie Kalscheuer, CWE: On Saturday morning, Carrie Kalscheur, CWE led a session on the people, places, and things that make Oregon so special. The session began with a discussion of the various wine growing regions located throughout the state, which can be grouped as follows: border regions, north Willamette Valley, south Willamette Valley, Rogue Valley and Umpqua Valley.

This was followed by a discussion of the leading grape varieties of Oregon—Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Syrah. These grapes are well-known in Oregon, but wine students might be surprised to learn that a total of 72 wine grape varieties are grown in Oregon!

The class then moved onto the unique, geological history of Oregon—beginning with the time period when Oregon was still part of the sea, moving through the Missoula floods and a time of active volcanoes. All of these forces contributed to the loess, volcanic, and marine sedimentary soils that dominate the vineyards of Oregon today. For more information, see the session presentation: What Makes Oregon Special-presented by Carrie Kalscheuer

Jim Clarke

Jim Clarke

Chenin Blanc – South Africa’s Flagship Grape?—presented by Jim Clarke: Jim Clarke, Marketing Manager for Wines of South Africa (WOSA) began this fascinating session with a discussion of the role of Chenin Blanc in the wines of South Africa. Chenin Blanc is both a historical grape variety and a leading grape in South Africa’s modern wine industry. South Africa has more plantings of Chenin Blanc than any other country in the world, and it accounts for over 18% of present vineyard plantings in SA.

Next, the class moved to a discussion of the “Wine of Origin” scheme for geographical indications in South Africa, which are designated as regions, districts, wards, estates, and single vineyards. This was followed by the tastings. Selections included Chenin Blanc-based blends such as Mullineux White Blend 2015 (74% Chenin Blanc) and Momento Chenin Blanc-Verdelho 2015. This was followed by a discussion of the Chenin Blanc Association’s six recognized styles of Chenin Blanc: fresh & fruity, rich & ripe (unwooded), rich & ripe (wooded), rich & ripe (slightly sweet), sweet, and sparkling. The session concluded with a tasting of more South African Chenin, including L’Avenir Single block Chenin Blanc 2015, and Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2016. For more information, see Jim’s presentation: Chenin Blanc – South Africa’s Flagship Grape—presented by Jim Clarke

May Matta-Aliah

May Matta-Aliah

The Wines of Alto Adige—a Trifecta of Pure Pinot Perfection—presented by May Matta-Aliah, DWS, CWE: May’s session began with an overview of the Alto Adige/ Südtirol (South Tyrol) region. Many attendees were surprised to learn that the region was once a part of Austria, then it was annexed by Italy, and that in 1939 the inhabitants were given the choice to either become part of Italy or Germany!

Despite the tumultuous history, wine has been produced in the region for thousands of years—by some estimates since 500 BCE. These days, the area boasts over 13,000 acres of vineyards and 5,000 wine growers. The area enjoys 300 sunny days a year, a mix of soils, a large diurnal temperature variance and vineyards planted as high as 3,300 feet above sea level.

The tasting included three wines based on Pinot Bianco, three wines based on Pinot Grigio, and three wines based on Pinot Nero—a true trifecta! For more information, see May’s presentation: Alto Adige-Trifecta of Pure Pinot Perfection-presesnted by May Matta-Aliah

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

 

Conference Highlights 2017: Focus on Bordeaux

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!

Linda Lawry and Mary Gorman

Linda Lawry, DWS, CWE and Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW

Understanding and Comparing Recent Bordeaux Vintages—presented by Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW and Linda Lawry, DWS, CWE: Friday morning’s class on the recent Bordeaux vintages gave attendees the rare opportunity to compare and contrast wines from three Châteaux— Château Brown (Pessac-Léognan), Château Lafon-Rochet (4th Growth Saint-Estèphe), and Clos de l’Oratoire (Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé)—across three vintages (2010, 2012, and 2014).

Mary and Linda led the class through the details of each vintage as pertains to the character of the growing season (rain, temperatures, vegetative cycle) and how those characteristics may have impacted with vines (large bunches vs. small bunches, degree of concentration, ripeness). Finally, it was revealed how the vintage conditions (along with winemaking, of course) could impact the wines, and the class was invited to “taste along” and see if they could detect the vintage character in the wines.  For more information on the vintages and the wines, see the session presentation: Understanding and Comparing Recent Bordeaux Vintages—presented by Mary Gorman-McAdams and Linda Lawry

Navigating the Changeable Bordeaux Classifications—presented by Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW and Linda Lawry, DWS, CWE: Thursday afternoon’s class on the classifications of Bordeaux began with an overview of the main versions—including the 1855 Classification of Médoc & Sauternes, the 1953 Graves Classification (updated in 1955), Saint Émilion Classification (1955), the Crus Bourgeois de Médoc, and the Crus Artisans du Médoc. Of these lofty groupings, the Saint Émilion Classification and the Crus Bourgeois de Médoc have the requirement to be updated at regular intervals. To a serious wine student, this sounds suspiciously like “it changes all the time!”

There is certainly some truth to that, but Mary and Linda spent the next hour or so discussing the history and philosophy behind these ever-changing classifications. The most recent changes were discussed in detail, and a tasting of representative wines accompanied the class. For all of the latest information on these ever-evolving classifications, as well as a list of the wines tasted, please see the presentation slides: Navigating the Changeable Bordeaux Classifications—presented by Mary Gorman-McAdams and Linda Lawry

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

Conference Highlights 2017: All about Lodi

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!

Stuart Spencer

Stuart Spencer

100 Varieties of Lodi and Growing—presented by Stuart Spencer: This session began with an overview of Lodi grape growers, which today include over 85 wineries and 750 growers farming over 100 varieties of vinifera grapes on more than 110,000 acres of vineyards. The reasons that Lodi is able to grow so many difference grape varieties successfully include its Mediterranean Climate, its diverse soils, support for polyculture (diversity of agriculture),  and the innovative spirit of the growers.  The session next turned to a study and tasting of some of the more unique grapes of Lodi, including Vermentino, Picpoul Blanc, Kerner, Albariño, Cinsaut, Graciano, and Toreldego (among others). For more information, see Stuart’s presentation here: 100 Varieties of Lodi and Counting-presented by Stuart Spencer and the Lodi Winegrape Commission

Lodi Native—presented by Stuart Spencer: The Lodi Native project is a collaborative project of six winegrowers of like mind, living and working in the Lodi AVA—particularly Lodi’s historic Mokelumne River sub-AVA.  Their mission is to turn the spotlight on the region’s heritage plantings—many of them dating back to the late 1800s—through sensible viticulture and minimalist winemaking practices. The focus is on Zinfandel, but on the taste of vineyards rather than varietal character or brand.

The detailed list of winemaking protocols is intended to keep the focus on sensible viticulture and minimalist winemaking practices, and include the following: native yeast fermentation, no acidification or de-acidification, no use of oak amendments (such as dust, chips, or staves), no new oak, no use of Mega-purple, and no tannin additions (among many others). For more information, see Stuart’s presentation here: Lodi Native-presented by Stuart Spencer and the Lodi Winegrape Commission

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

Conference Highlights 2017: Rosé, Sparklers, and the Nectar of the Gods!

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!

Rosé, Brosé, Frosé class

Rosé, Brosé, Frosé class

Rosé, Brosé, Frosé!!! New to rosé? Get Familiar with some of the Basics—presented by Sharron McCarthy, CSW: On Saturday morning, Sharron McCarthy, CSW presented a session highlighting high-quality rosé wines from around the world. The session started with the facts and stats that prove that rosé is clearly positioned as a segment leader and a growing market. For instance, as concerns rosé, according to Nielsen, rosé outpaces the overall wine category for the summer of 2017, and the trend is predicted to extend well beyond the summer.

As for brosé, according to columnist Richard Whitman, “Despite rumors to the contrary, manly men drink rosé!” And who can resist frozen rosé—frosé—the hottest new drink of the season!

The discussion moved to the many ways rosé is produced, including maceration, vin gris, saignée, and blending; as well as a discussion of some of the many leading rosé-producing regions of the world. The tasting included a variety of rosé wines produced using a range of grape varieties and production methods, and included rosés from all over the world. For a list of the wines and more information, see Sharron’s presentation: Rose, Brose, Frose – presented by Sharron McCarthy, CSW

The line-up of New Wave California Boutique Sparkling Wines

The line-up of New Wave California Boutique Sparkling Wines

The New Wave of Boutique California Sparkling Wines—presented by David Glancy, MS: Friday afternoon, David Glancy, MS gave a fascinating session on the “new wave” of boutique sparkling wines being produced in California. The session started with a history of sparkling wine in California, which began (amazingly enough) with Agostin Haraszthy, who built California’s first ʺChampagne Cavesʺ in Sonoma County 1862, and Paul Masson, who was known as the “Champagne King of California” beginning in 1905.

The discussion then turned to the wave of French investment in California sparkling wines with such examples of Moët & Chandon (Chandon based in California), G.H. Mumm & Co (Mumm Napa), Louis Roederer (Roederer Estate), and Taittinger (Domaine Carneros). Historic California “born and bred” sparkling wine producers—still producing outstanding wines—include Schramsberg, Iron Horse, and Scharffenberger.

The tasting portion of the class included some unique wines—a sparkling Tempranillo from  Capay Valley Vineyards (located in Yolo County’s Capay Valley AVA) and Flying Goat Crémant 2014 Brut (known as “Goat Bubbles) from Santa Maria Valley in San Luis Obispo County. Other outstanding wines included   Riverbench Blanc de Blancs Brut (Santa Maria Valley) 2014 produced using 100% Chardonnay, and Sea Smoke Blanc de Noirs Brut (Sta. Rita Hills) 2013 produced using 100% Pinot Noir. For more details on the session and the wines, see David’s presentation: The New Wave of California Boutique Sparkling Wines – presented by David Glancy

Ed Korry, CHE, CWE, CSS

Ed Korry, CHE, CWE, CSS

Dessert Wines: Nectar of the Gods—presented by Ed Korry, CHE, CWE, CSS:  On Saturday afternoon, Ed Korry, CHE, CWE, CSS presented a fascinating session on dessert wines. Starting with a discussion of the various production styles that produce dessert wines—including late harvest, dosage, arresting fermentation, ice wine, botrytis, and others—the session then moved on to a tasting and discussion of nine dessert wines. The first wine, Czar de José Duarte DOP Pico Vinho Licoroso 2009 Superior Meio Doce, was introduced by a discussion on the Pico DOP and the definition of vihho licoroso (as produced in the Pico DOP).

The next wine, Domaine Monemvassia PDO Malvasia Monemvassia-Malvasia 2010 (Greece) was preceded by a discussion on the history and progreny of the Malvasia grape variety. With just over 9,000 total bottles of the wine produced, this was a special tasting indeed.

The session continued on with the tasting of several Malvasia-based wines, including examples from Lipari (Italy) and Sitges (Spain). Other tastings and areas of discussion included Madeira and the sweet wines of the Roussillon. For more information, see Ed’s presentation: Nectar of the Gods-presented by Ed Korry

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

Conference Highlights 2017: Sicily, Alsace, and the Côte d’Or

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!

Paul Poux, CSW

Paul Poux, CSW

Sicily: Past, Present, and Future—presented by Paul Poux, CSW: Paul’s Saturday morning session began with the history of Sicily, from the Romans through the Byzantines and the Bourbons and all the way up to the Kingdom of Italy. Wine production, of course, was a part of all of this history, and this has resulted in Sicily as a leader in Italian wine production—the fourth-largest producer of wine in all of Italy’s twenty regions.

After this introduction, the wine tasting portion of the session began, starting with a selection of delightful white wines made from mostly local white grapes, including Catarratto, Grillo, Zibibbo, and Carricante. Geographical indications included the Sicily (Sicilia) DOC and Contea di Sclafani DOC as well as several IGTs.  The next wines, mostly reds, included those made from the following interesting grapes: Frappato, Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, and Perricone. The red tasting included wines from the Sicily (Sicilia), Noto, and Etna Rosso DOCs.

For more details on the presentation and the wines, see Paul’s presentation here: Sicily-Past Present and Future-presented by Paul Poux

Michael Schafer, CSW

Michael Schafer, CSW

Amazing Alsace—presented by Michael Schafer, CSW: Bright and early Friday morning, Michael Schafer, CSW presented a session on the Amazing wines of Alsace. The session began with the story of the history of the Alsace area, from the “golden age” of 1600s, through the tumultuous times surrounding the World Wars, to liberation and the present day. The story of the wines of Alsace—the vineyards, the wine route, the terroir, and the AOCs—followed. Next, the specific styles of wine produced in Alsace—from Alsace AOC, Crémant d’Alsace, Vendage Tardive,  and Sélection de Grains Nobles (SGN) to Alsace Grand Cru. For more information, as well as a listing of the spectacular wines, see Michael’s presentation: Amazing Alsace-presented by Michael Schafer, CSW

Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE

Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE

Exploring the Backroads of the Côte d’Or (part 2)—presented by Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE: Back by popular demand, Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE brought us another installment of his journey along the “backroads” of the wine and regions of the Côte d’Or. Don led the class on a tour that began in the village of Monthélie, located somewhat between Meursault and Volnay. The next stops included Auxey-Duresses (often described as a “junior Meursault”), Saint-Aubin (bordering both Puligny- and Chassagne-Montrachet), and Santenay (one of the Côte d’Or’s southernmost wine villages).

For more details, including information on the wines and producers featured in this session, see Don’s presentation: The Backroads of la Cote d’Or – presented by Don Kinnan

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