Back to Wine School
Now that the kids have headed back to school, let’s chat about how the adults have changed the way they learn about wine, especially with online courses. It’s a virtual world of wine learning at your fingertips.
Here with her tips is Natalie MacLean who offers Canada’s most popular online wine classes at nataliemaclean.com.
Great to be here!
First, tell us why online wine courses have become so popular?
Online courses offer the best of both worlds: they’re accessible to everyone no matter where you live, they’re more comprehensive than a one-off class, but not as technical and time-consuming as college courses.
Plus, there’s no drinking, then driving home, finding a babysitter and parking. Many of my students take my courses together with a spouse or partner and treat it like date night at home, no parking.
What if we want to learn about just one type of wine?
You can start with one-off classes offered online by local liquor stores or restaurants.
So for example, you might focus on the differences between two Cabernets, like these two I have with me today, one from the Okanagan and the other from Niagara:
Hester Creek Cabernet Sauvignon from the Okanagan is a rich, full-bodied red with aromas of fleshy ripe blackberry and smoke.
Hester Creek Estate Winery Terra Unica Cabernet Sauvignon
Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada
Peller Reserve Cabernet Merlot is from Niagara, and it’s also robust with dark fruit aromas.
Peller Estates Family Reserve Cabernet Merlot
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
They’d both pair beautifully with hard cheeses, like cheddar, or prime rib.
What would you suggest if we want to learn about food and wine pairing?
Then you want to look for a more in-depth course like the one I offer, The Wine Smart Course: A Full-Bodied Framework to Taste, Pair and Buy Wine Like a Pro.
I’m online with my students via video, guiding them through the tasting and pairings, we have “live” interaction and the students also get to know wine lovers from around the world.
Plus there are lots of templates and checklists for every possible wine and food match you can imagine, from fast food favourites and spicy dishes to multiple courses you’d serve at a dinner party.
So for example, we might dive into two California wines like these, and look at juicy, mouth-watering pairings.
Stave & Steel Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon
California, United States
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, California, United States
They go really well with grilled chicken or beef bourguignon.
3. What if you want to get really serious about wine and become a sommelier for example?
If you dream of working in the wine industry, you’ll want a more comprehensive program.
These courses are often full-time and take years to complete, such as the Master of Wine program. Those starting on that journey may want to warm up their palate first with a course like the one I offer and then continue on with advanced studies.
In such a course, you would be looking at the differences between two iconic wine-producing countries, with wines like these:
Torres Celeste Crianza 2017
Ribera del Duero D.O., Spain
Rabl Langenlois Grüner Veltliner
Kamptal D.A.C., Austria