Sommelier 101 – The Adventure Begins

25 Oct

          After weeks of anticipation, we had our first class last night.  I think I’m going to love it.  It’s funny how we make assumptions about things without really even realizing it.  The class is smaller than I expected, only 14.  We come from a wide array of backgrounds and ages.  Our respective goals in taking the class include becoming more educated as a wine consumer, preparation for a career in the wine service industry and education to enhance other wine related business opportunities.  For an introductory level class, my classmates seem far better prepared than I expected.  Many seem to have much to contribute to the learning experience.  Also, lucky for me, I have 2 friends sitting on my row:  my brother-in-law, Matt and my mah jongg friend, Suzie.

            We meet from 4-11 every Monday for 12 weeks.  7 hours is a long time and it’s been a long time since I was a student.  I was a little nervous about how it would feel.  But the class, at least the first day, had nice rhythm.  We had about an hour of lecture, followed by a couple of hours of structured tasting.  We have a break for dinner, then repeat.  I really liked the group interaction as we tasted.  We have tasting sheets which provide a methodology designed to quantify, to the extent possible, a purely qualitative analysis.  This has obvious benefits when it comes time to compare results between different wines tasted at different times.  But to me as a student, the sheets have a second advantage.  They structure my taste experience and guide me to be disciplined and intentional about each element that my senses can perceive about each wine.

     We blind tasted flights of wine independently and filled out our sheets.  Then we shared our notes.  Our teacher guided our discussion.  Each person’s impressions were valued, but she gently provided feedback about which perceptions are common markers for the wine being discussed and which were more unique to the individual taster.  My ego felt a little bruised when I realized that many of my classmates are more facile in identifying aromas and tastes than I am.  I felt very experienced when I walked into the class and now I feel like a real beginner.  But beginner or not, I love what I’m learning and am ready to embrace the experience and see where it leads.


One Response to “Sommelier 101 – The Adventure Begins”

  1. Joanne Geiler October 26, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Can’t wait to hear more. What a great adventure!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: