Wine Studies Level 1- Italy

I love Italian wines, if you look back at past posts you probably already know this because I almost never write about anything else, so coming up with something else to say about them is a bit tricky. Italy is one of the oldest sites of winemaking, where the tradition reaches back at least 4000 years. The Greeks were also prolific producers of wine back in the day. They brought their technology with them into Southern Italy when they colonized the area. The Etruscans, who were native in the Italian peninsula, had already been making wine, however their methods were a bit more organic, if you will, than the Greek methods. Continue reading

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Wine Studies Level 1- France

French wines have served as a model for the rest of the fine wines of Europe. Most people, especially in the United states associate the term “fine wine” with French wines due to their long tradition of traditionally making world class wines. Recently, however, the French wine export market has decreased somewhat substantially due partly it’s difficulty to understand. French wine law, although it has served as a model for the EU and other areas in the world, is rather confusing for the average consumer since it authenticates not only wines that originate from places that are stated on the label, but that they also satisfy a whole range of various criteria. Continue reading

Wine Studies Level 1- USA

Compared to European countries, the United States does not have a very long tradition of winemaking. What many might be surprised to learn, however, is that wine was actually made here in the US as early a the 1600s. Most of these early vineyards were planted in New York, Virginia, Michigan, and even Ohio (a fact which makes Ohio ever so slightly more exciting). Many of the indigenous grape varieties that existed in North America were not necessarily making the best wine so of course settlers tried to plant vinifera grape varietals from Europe. While those were suffering at the hands of phylloxera they were able to create hybrids from local varieties and the vinifera varieties. Nothing came easy in colonial America, apparently.   Continue reading

Wine Studies Level 1- Grape Varieties

The second class focused mainly on the different grape varieties. Not all the different varietals because there are thousands, of course, but the most well known and distinctive. All of the grapes covered are known as Vitis vinifera grape varieties. Vitis vinifera is actually the genus and species name of these grapes. For those of you interested in etymology, vitis is the latin word for vine. Vinifera is a bit more interesting as it is a combination of two words, vinum meaning wine and ferus meaning wild or untamed. Just by looking at the breakdown of these two words you can understand what exactly a Vitis vinifera grape is, one of the indigenous species of grapes that were growing prior to any sort of cultivation in Europe. Among this illustrious classification are many favorites: Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, and one of my personal favorites Sangiovese.  Continue reading

Wine Studies Level 1-A Little Bit of Everything

In my quest to learn more about the world of wine I have started taking the Wine Studies courses offered in the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center at Boston University. Since I am currently working on my Master’s in Gastronomy I can actually take these classes for credit, which makes a lot of people I know pretty jealous. As fun as it sounds to take a class where you get to try a bunch of wine, these classes are quite intensive and very educational. So, I have decided to start a new blog series where I will chronicle my experiences class by class. Continue reading