Diving Into the Barrel

I am inspired to learn more about wine, so last month I attended a class at The Wine & Spirit Archive (WSA) called Grape to Glass. WSA is a school and resource center located in Oregon and Washington State. I had so much fun I decided I had to do more, and today I began their Introduction to Wine Series.

I didn’t really get into wine until my thirties. An acquaintance of mine was working at Argyle Winery and suggested I might enjoy working there, as part of the weekend staff, in order to get me out of the house a bit. So after a visit to their tasting room, I was sold on the idea.

My stint at Argyle lasted for a year. I went out twice per month and spent the day pouring wine for eager customers. But the real fun was when the winemaker would host staff tastings or classes after hours. Here I learned that some wines can taste like diesel or bandage. (But I can’t remember why.) I also learned what you are really supposed to be doing when a waiter offers you the cork to smell. (Also don’t remember.) For the past ten years since I left Argyle, I have explored Many a bottle of wine. I know just enough to be able to buy something I will Probably enjoy, and would love to know more.

Today was a lot of fun. This session focused on the big seven varieties, as well as the fundamentals of tasting. We learned how to identify the characteristics of aroma, sweetness, acidity, body, and tannins.


We tasted some wine that I really enjoyed (a Riesling from Mosel) and some that I really didn’t enjoy (a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley) and several that were interesting but just okay. I learned something that completely changes the way I will talk about wine. Whenever I taste a wine that has a ton of tannins and really sucks all the moisture out of my mouth, I have always called that “dry”. But “dry” actually means that a wine has little or no sugar. I also learned that it helps to smell the wine before you swirl, and then again after. That way the characteristics of the bouquet are more apparent.


I’m really looking forward to the next session of this class. What do you like about wine? Would you like to know more?


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