Mise en Place Culinary Center will offer two more wine and food pairing classes this fall.Photo by Jay Paul
Like studying a musical instrument or developing an exercise regimen, learning about wine takes practice and motivation, says Genevelyn Steele, a Richmond-based wine specialist certified through the Society of Wine Educators.
"If I were going to tell someone how to learn more about wine, I'd suggest for them to do it on their own with a reading list, a case of wine, a kitchen timer and some material downloaded from the Internet," says Steele, who is also a food writer (and contributor to Richmond magazine's Dine section this month) and has completed the introductory level in The Court of Master Sommeliers. She suggests the Windows on the World Complete Wine Course by Kevin Zraly as a good jumping-off point. "This is how most people I know who have advanced certifications acquired them, by practicing at home at a set time," daily or weekly.
Steele also recommends going to lots of wine-shop tastings — most local stores offer free sampling every week — and attending wine-related events. Those who want to get serious about their wine studies should also visit the websites for The Court of Master Sommeliers, the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and the Society of Wine Educators she says.
If you're looking for opportunities to hear from experts in person and connect with other wine enthusiasts, you may want to check out these learning experiences.
The Mise en Place Culinary Center in Shockoe Slip will offer a three-session Wine Lovers Appreciation Class in October and November. Taught by sommelier Carol Colby of Republic National Distributing Co., the first class covers how wine is made and how to properly taste and savor wine; the second looks at the world's major wine regions (with a tasting of wine from each); and the third involves tasting eight wines with a variety of food to understand the principles of food and wine pairing. The series will be offered at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 16, 23 and 30; and Nov. 13, 20 and 27. The cost is $165 for three classes or $60 each. For more information, call 249-1332 or visit miseenplaceshockoe.com .
The University of Richmond's Center for Culinary Arts (at 9722 Gayton Road, part of UR's School of Professional and Continuing Studies) is also planning a Food and Wine Pairing class taught by wine expert Thom Horsey on Nov. 29. The 6 to 9 p.m. session is designed to help participants make thoughtful pairing decisions. Registration is required, and the fee is $99. For more information, call 422-2665 or visit spcs.richmond.edu/personal/culinary/index.html .