Wine tasting is a critical element of our California Wine Appellation Specialist program. Program participation includes tasting, or having access to, at least 16 California wines. Students are required to report on two wines per week. Because online students are located in different geographic locations, it is not reasonable to assume everyone will have access to the same California wines. Therefore, and in order to maximize your learning experience, here are some guidelines for selecting wines, which may be done weekly or all at once, even in advance of the course commencement.

Wines may vary dependent upon selection, location, and availability. A great resource to find wines through retail worldwide is www.wine-searcher.com. Full bottle purchases could cost up to $400 in total. This total is based on an assumed average of $25 per bottle. You may be able to find some wines at closer to $10 a bottle but some regions covered will average more. Purchases by the glass or half bottle are recommended when available. Tasting groups are encouraged so students can pool resources to taste the same number of wines for less money.

Wines are legally required to have the origin of the grapes on the label. For purposes of this class, they could be labeled as “California”, by any of the state’s 58 counties or by any of the state’s 100+ American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).

During each weeklong course, you will be asked to taste and report on 2 different wines originating from the covered region as shown below. The origins must be listed on the label of the bottle. If you live in an area that does not have access to wines with the Specific Origins / AVAs listed, you may select a wine from the list of Alternate, Less Specific Origins.

 

CWAS 01 – Mendocino

Mendocino is within the North Coast AVA and has 11 AVAs within it. Students will be required to taste and report on two wines from different origins within this region.

Specific Origins / AVAs: Anderson Valley, Cole Ranch, Covelo, Dos Rios, McDowell Valley, Mendocino, Mendocino Ridge, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley or Yorkville Highlands

Alternate, Less Specific Origins: Mendocino County, North Coast AVA or California (with portion of grapes from Mendocino) 

 

CWAS 02 – Napa

Napa is within the North Coast AVA and has 17 AVAs within it. Students will be required to taste and report on two wines from different origins within this region.

Specific Origins / AVAs: Atlas Peak, Calistoga, Carneros, Chiles Valley, Coombsville, Diamond Mountain, Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, Oakville, Oak Knoll, Rutherford, Spring Mountain, St. Helena, Stag’s Leap, Wild Horse or Yountville

Alternate, Less Specific Origins: Napa County, North Coast AVA or California (with portion of grapes from Napa)

 

CWAS 03 – Lake County & the Sierra

Lake is within the North Coast AVA and has 5 AVAs within it. Students will be required to taste and report on one wine from within this region.

Specific Origins / AVAs: Benmore, Clear Lake, Guenoc, High Valley or Red Hills


Alternate, Less Specific Origins: Lake County, North Coast AVA or California (with portion of grapes from Lake)

 

The Sierra Foothills AVA contains 8 counties and there are 5 AVAs within it. Students will be required to taste and report on one wine from within this region.

Specific Origins / AVAs: Benmore Valley, Clear Lake, Guenoc, High Valley or Red Hills

Alternate, Less Specific Origins: Sierra Foothills AVA, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolumne or Yuba county, or California (with portion of grapes from the Sierra)

 

CWAS 04 – Sonoma

Sonoma is within the North Coast AVA and has 15 AVAs within it. Students will be required to taste and report on two wines from different origins within this region.

Specific Origins / AVAs: Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, Carneros, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek, Fort Ross-Seaview, Green Valley, Knights Valley, Northern Sonoma, Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak, Rockpile, Russian River, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain or Sonoma Valley

Alternate, Less Specific Origins: Sonoma County, North Coast AVA or California (with portion of grapes from Sonoma)

 

CWAS 05 – SF Bay, Santa Cruz & the Delta

The San Francisco Bay AVA contains 5 counties and has 1 AVA within it. Santa Cruz County is within both the Central Coast AVA and the San Francisco Bay AVA and has 3 AVAs within it. The Delta does not fall within any regional AVA but has a handful of AVAs within it. Students will be required to taste and report on two wines from different origins within these regions.

Specific Origins / AVAs: San Francisco Bay AVA, Livermore Valley AVA, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo or Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, Ben Lomond AVA, Santa Clara Valley AVA, Clarksburg AVA or Lodi AVA (& its sub-AVAs).

Alternate, Less Specific Origins: Central Coast AVA or California (with portion of grapes from San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz, the Delta or Central Valley)

 

CWAS 06 – Monterey & San Benito

Monterey and San Benito are both within the Central Coast AVA and have 16 AVAs between them. Students will be required to taste and report on two wines from different origins within this region.

Specific Origins / AVAs: San Benito, Cienega Valley, Lime Kiln Valley, Paicines, Mount Harlan, Pacheco Pass, Chalone, Arroyo Seco, Carmel Valley, Hames Valley, Monterey, San Antonio Valley, San Bernabe, San Lucas, Santa Lucia Highlands

Alternate, Less Specific Origins: Monterey County, San Benito County, Central Coast AVA or California (with portion of grapes from Monterey or San Benito)  

 

 

CWAS 07 – Paso Robles & the Rest of San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo is within the Central Coast AVA and has 4 AVAs within it. Students will be required to taste and report on two wines from different origins within this region.


Specific Origins / AVAs: Paso Robles, York Mountain, Edna Valley or Arroyo Grande


Alternate Less Specific Origins: San Luis Obsipo County, Central Coast AVA or California (with portion of grapes from San Luis Obispo) 

 

CWAS 08 – Santa Barbara & Beyond

Santa Barbara is within the Central Coast AVA and has 4 AVAs within it. Students will be required to taste and report on two wines from different origins within this region.


Specific Origins / AVAs: Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills or Happy Canyon

Alternate, Less Specific Origins: Santa Barbara County, South Coast AVA (or any of its sub-AVAs), Central Coast AVA or California (with portion of grapes from Santa Barbara)

ABOUT

San Francisco Wine School strives to open up the world of wine to serious students and enthusiasts everywhere while helping people of all levels break into the wine industry, advance their career, or simply pursue their passions. Founded by Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator David Glancy, San Francisco Wine School is the largest wine school in the U.S., offering the most thoughtful approach to wine study. Classes are taught in our state of the art wine education center and our cutting edge virtual classroom by industry-leading instructors from all major educational disciplines.

San Francisco Wine School’s curriculum features the best content in the business: expert course materials, carefully conceived wine flights, and in-depth blind tasting exercises designed to engage students, illuminate course content and enhance learning. Our brand new sunlight-filled Wine Education Center is conveniently located just 5 minutes from San Francisco International Airport. It boasts 16-ft high coved ceilings, eight 12-ft tall arched windows, and gorgeous 180 degree views of the San Bruno Mountains, South San Francisco City Hall and the San Francisco Bay, making it the perfect place to enjoy classes, industry seminars and tastings and host a wide variety of private events.

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