Best Classroom Evah!

In my humble quest for greater food-and-wine knowledge, I recently attended a wine-appreciation class through the Sydney Wine Academy (they had me at the name!) at Ryde College. The program came highly recommended from winemaker friend Dan Binet at Ballabourneen in the Hunter Valley. Given how much I enjoyed the class and how much I learned in such a short period, I hope to continue my wine studies there indefinitely. My love of wine is great; my ability to speak (and write!) intelligently about that love … well, there’s always room for editing.

I met my fellow wine appreciators—about 14 in all, an intimate group—in the school’s lounge area, where we were told that the class would be taught in the wine lab. Now, I am a woman of words; science has never been my strong suit. But a wine lab? This was a scientific discipline I could get behind—even excel at! Bring on the experiments!

The lab did not disappoint. Though test tubes, flasks, and safety goggles were still in evidence (and as chill inducing as ever), so, too, were rows upon rows of wine glasses, casks, vineyard soil samples, and corks. And wine! Lots and lots of wine. This was a happy place. In fact, unlike my Year 12 Physics lab, from which I often ran screaming, I was sooo comfortable in the wine lab that I had to be kicked out by the cleaning people 15 minutes after the class had officially concluded.

Taught by French-born Aussie wine lecturer Jean-Claude Ferrier, the first night of class took us through a more in-depth approach to sensory evaluation (flavours, taste, mouthfeel, the influence of the vineyard), the winemaking process, Australian wines and wine regions, varietal characteristics, and finally, a sampling of 10 white wines (again, primarily Australian). (On a side note, though my palate is indeed becoming more discerning with practice, I must admit that I’m baffled by such aroma descriptors as gooseberry and mulberry. I don’t even know what they would smell like on their own, let alone as part of the complexity of a wine.)

The following week, we tackled the reds, as well as wine faults, climatic effects, the impact of oak and barrels, wine maturation, decanting, and cellaring.

I would recommend the class to anyone who wants to learn more about evaluating a nice drop or who wants to take their casual appreciation of wine to the next level.

Now, armed with my TAFE statement in Wine Appreciation and my pre-existing love of the fermented grape, I’m off to do homework in the wine bars of Sydney. Next stop: Tapavino on Bulletin Place to match some Spanish wines with some of the spot’s lovely tapas. Gotta love higher education!

9 thoughts on “Best Classroom Evah!”

    1. balde abdoulaye dit :Felicitation a l equipe de la cote d ivoire j ai un grand regret de ce qui c est passe au stade Leopold Seghor.les Senegalais doivent faire preuve de patience l equipe natoinale est a reconstruire cette demarche demande baucoup temps nous avons des jeunes joueurs engages et respectueux;donnons le la chance merci a vous tous le senegal et la cote d ivoire sont deux peuple frere que personne peut nuire restons calme et unnissons nous et bonne parcours pour les elephants a la can

    2. Oye te ha fallado el subconsciente, no habrás querido sexualidad y no sexo… Hay picaruelooooo… en que estarás pensando. Posdata: tomo yo el papel de corregir a los que se equivocan, ya que cuando están de acuerdo con el observatorio, este no dice nada.

    3. You are indeed a very lucky lady to have friends who send you such amazing duds. I love the towel maxi, it's very unique. I have only seen Pucci ones lately which are super expensive. Those dresses should be with you, you wear them well. In this post I can see why people mistake you for Cher.

  1. Hello Kasey!
    Great articles here thank you!
    I was taught wine by Jean-Claude!! It was from here that my love of cheese developed and the rest as they say, is history.

  2. G’day Kasey,
    You seemed to have settled into Aussie life really well. Love your blog. There are lot’s of great wineries very close to you in the Hunter region so as you explore these areas please provide tips on your discoveries. It’s hard to stay up on the Aussie wine scene from Denver.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.