Our blog is a place for instructors, food & wine professionals and San Francisco Wine School students to discuss news, interesting people and events as well as their thoughts about wine, spirits, the industry, and careers.
We’re always looking for guest authors!
Up to four submissions each month will be published. We accept a wide range of formats from blogs to photography and beyond. Topics range from travel to industry news and everything in between. Please email submissions to email@example.com with your name, contact information, a little bit about you, and your piece.
Explore the Wines of Alentejo
Portugal sits quietly in the Iberian southwest of Europe, a country just 575 miles long by 138 miles wide, the equal to the US state of Indiana, Yet in this diminutive reality, winewise, she’s a champ - being the 9th largest vineyard acreage in the world and first in total production.
Randy Caparoso is a multi-award winning wine journalist who lives in Lodi, California. He is Editor-at-Large and the Bottom Line columnist for The SOMM Journal, and currently blogs and does social media work for Lodi Winegrape Commission’s lodiwine.com. He also pens wine columns and contributes editorial to The Tasting Panel magazine; and in the past, he has bylined a biweekly wine column for his hometown newspaper (The Honolulu Advertiser, from 1981 to 2002). In a prior incarnation (1988 to 2001), he was a founding partner of the Roy’s family of restaurants, where he was VP/Corporate Wine Director, opening 28 restaurants from Hawai`i to New York. As a restaurateur, he was named Santé’s first Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year (1988) and Restaurant Wine’s Wine Marketer of the Year (1992 and 1998).
Like all good things, it starts with a biker bar. Lagorio's in Farmington, CA was the perfect pit-stop for our Friday evening full moon travels up to Murphys, CA last weekend for our San Francisco Wine School staff retreat.
Alexandre Lalas is the editor of the Brazilian wine magazine "Gula", writer for the Portuguese magazine "Wine - A Essência do Vinho" and also an instructor for masterclasses about Portuguese wines directed to Brazilian professionals and opinion makers.
In the last few years he has also collaborated with "Enciclopédia Britânica", "Jornal do Brasil", "Gazeta Mercantil", "Diário Lance", "Sport Press" or "Revista do Flamengo". Currently he participates as a judge and speaker in several wine and gastronomic competitions and congresses.
He lived in the United States (in New York) for two years, where he studied, possessing a deep knowledge of the American market. He visits Portugal very frequently, maintaining relationships with many producers and winemakers.
Master Sommelier John Szabo was the first Canadian to add the “MS” after his name in 2004. He’s seen the hospitality business from all sides including cooking and washing dishes, serving and sommellerie, importing, teaching, writing, and speaking, consulting and judging internationally. He was listed as “Canada’s best-known sommelier” in Meininger’s Wine Business International. Today, John continues to teach and consult, but his day job is as partner and principal critic for WineAlign.com, Canada’s largest wine publication. He writes occasionally for US-based Wine & Spirits Magazine, and has published or held columns in dozens of other magazines and newspapers. He is the author of Pairing Food and Wine For Dummies (Wiley, 2012), and Sommelier Management, and his latest book, Volcanic Wines, Salt, Grit and Power (Jacquie Small, 2016, UK) hit shelves in October 2016, winning the André Simon Award and making the top drinks books of 2016 in The Guardian, Forbes Magazine, Decanter, Globe & Mail and JancisRobinson.com. It has also earned him the distinction of being "one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject” according to Drinks Business Magazine.
Closer to the land, he is a partner in the small J&J Eger vineyard in Hungary. And as a third degree black belt in Goju-Ryu Karate-do, his grapes are well protected, too.
Student Spotlight: Getting to Know Alison Louis dit Alleaume
From Spanish and Malagasy origins, Alison Louis dit Alleaume grew up in Switzerland and graduated from the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne where she discovered her passion for wine! After a year working in Bangkok in marketing and communications for the luxury food and beverage industry, she realized that she wanted to focus on the wine sector and discover American wines! Alison choose to move to San Francisco and build her wine education with classes at the San Francisco Wine School.
Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, the leading wine and spirits distributor in the US, has chosen the San Francisco Wine School to be an external education provider in California, with the first training program yielding record-breaking results.
Wilbert Herrera is an enthusiastic member of the San Francisco Wine School family. He's taken Intro to Blind Tasting, and successfully completed the Somm Essentials Intensive. His passion for wine and eagerness to grow in his career are contagious and inspiring. We sat down with him to learn a bit about his experience and how his wine studies are bringing him closer to his goals.
Pushing the Limit of Cool Climates: Exploring Nova Scotia, Part Two
David Furer chats with some of Nova Scotia's notable wineries: Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards, Blomidon, Gaspereau Vineyards, Planters Ridge, Benjamin Bridge, Domaine de Grand Pré, Avondale Sky, Luckett Vineyards, & L'Acadie Vineyards.
Having previously known of Nova Scotia only from tales told me of Cape Breton 30 years ago by a friend who summered often there, it newly piqued my interest upon meeting in England its wine association’s representative, Gillian Mainguy, at May’s International Cool Climate Wine Symposium.
What an opportunity!! We gathered this past Sunday to taste an amazing line-up from the most prestigious wine estate in Spain - Vega Sicilia. Hosted by Europvin USA and Golden State Wine Company, the day included a seated seminar and Q&A with Diana Kelley, Vega Sicilia's Regional Manager for the Americas.
Good Luck to Our Newest Class of California Wine Appellation Specialist® Candidates!!
This past weekend, we dove into a concentrated three days of learning with a great group of enthusiastic students with our California Wine Appellation Specialist® Intensive program - one of our most beloved courses.
On November 18, 2016, The French American Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco conducted the finals of the “Best Wine Students of La Soiree” at The Village on Market Street in San Francisco.
San Francisco Wine School Does SommCon 2016!
We had an amazing weekend in San Diego with luminaries from every facet of the industry as we convened on a cutting edge line-up of topics with speakers and educators from across the globe. We learned, tasted, ate, drank, and enjoyed meeting with old friends and new!
On Thursday, November 10th, 17 candidates from four different Bay Area wine business programs competed in the 2016 Best Wine Student of La Soirée wine tasting competition in Sonoma!
Saturday marked the one year anniversary of our Wine Education & Events Center and five years of growing to become the largest wine school in the country! It was a fabulous celebration of our beautiful home and our vision which is constantly re-energized by our extended family of students past, present and future!
The Journey to Brick & Mortar: Part Three - Grand Opening Recap
Check out videos from pre-demolition, through construction, all the way to our momentous Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening!
Few wines have a history as distinguished as that of Vega Sicilia. Founded in 1864, its top cuvee, Unico, was Spain's first great wine and until recent decades, the only Spanish wine collected and coveted throughout the world.
The Journey to Brick & Mortar: Part Two - Two Weeks Until Opening
Check out videos from pre-demolition, through construction, all the way to our momentous Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening!
The Journey to Brick & Mortar: Part One - Pre-Construction
Check out videos from pre-demolition, through construction, all the way to our momentous Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening!
San Francisco Wine School Celebrates Anniversary & Launches Glancy Wine Education Fund Saturday, November 5th
While San Francisco Wine School’s 5-year journey to becoming the largest wine school in the country has been filled with excitement and adventure, this event marks the very special 1-year anniversary of the grand opening of their beautiful Wine Education & Events Center in South San Francisco and the perfect occasion to launch the Glancy Wine Education Fund.
is the principal grape of Prosecco sparkling wine. Originally the grape was known as Prosecco (more precisely Prosecco Tondo). The variety has an unclear origin and an even more complicated ampelographic history due to the fact that several distinct varieties have been called “Prosecco-something” in northeast Italy since the 18th century.
Best Winery Tours and Tasting in California!
I am regularly asked what wineries are the best to visit in California. With over 3,800 wineries in the state and American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in 43 of the state’s 58 counties it can be hard to choose. Below are my picks for Napa and Sonoma with other regions to be discussed in future weeks.
San Francisco Wine School invites wine lovers back to school, the fun way! Fall Programs include respected certifications and credentials for every kind of student, from consumers and enthusiasts to the most advanced wine industry professionals. They are also offering over 75 workshops.
This summer’s heat dome has enveloped New York’s Finger Lakes as it has much of the US northeast. Here it’s ensured that vines are progressing slightly ahead of schedule with some water stress to contend with; growers are projecting the harvest of early-ripening whites as soon as early September.
The All New WSET Level 3 Certificate in Wine
This August, WSET will launch an all new Level 3 Certificate in Wine, and Grape Experience Wine & Spirit School will be among the first providers to implement the new course. The new Level 3 is the most dramatic and best revision of this sought after qualification I have ever seen in my 20 years as a student and WSET provider.
Eat Drink SF's signature Grand Tastings are a food lover's paradise.
They feature amazing flavors and one-of-a-kind experiences enjoyed under one roof on San Francisco Bay's waterfront. Watch renown chefs and bartenders do demonstrations on the main stage. Learn about wine in the San Francisco Wine School Beverage Classroom.
Don’t Take Wine Program Management… Unless You Want Your Wine Program to Make Money
Make your wine program both passionate and profitable. San Francisco Wine School’s Wine Program Management course covers marketing, staff training, customer service, beverage law, vendor relations and more.
The summer's first Foodie Friday, Foods & Wines of France, was a huge success. This wine "playing" dinner brought together students, wine enthusiasts, and professionals to celebrate all that France has to offer with a knock-out menu from our Award-Winning Resident Chef, Danae McLaughlin, and wine pairings by Master Sommelier David Glancy.
The San Francisco Wine School has become a favorite of South San Francisco’s newest Grand Avenue business’ and there is a great buzz around town from those who have checked out this great addition to our City.
Insider Interviews with David Furer - Presenting Dr. José Vouillamoz
Dr. José Vouillamoz is one of the world’s few, and leading, authorities on the origin and parentage of grape varieties through DNA profiling. The Swiss grape geneticist trained with Prof. Carole Meredith at UC-Davis and co-authored with British Masters of Wine Jancis Robinson and Julia Harding the award-winning book ‘Wine Grapes’.
Insider Interviews by David Furer - Presenting Jean-Nicolas Méo and Jay Boberg
The latest entry into the expanding number of French - especially Burgundian - vignerons into Oregon is that of Jean-Nicolas Méo of Méo-Camuzet and music entrepreneur Jay Boberg with their Yamhill-Carlton AVA Nicolas-Jay vineyard & winery.
Today, the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas welcomes three new members: David Keck of Camerata of Paulie’s in Houston, Texas; Kyungmoon Kim of The Modern in New York, New York; and Jim Rollston of Manresa in Los Gatos, California.
San Francisco Wine School invites wine lovers to pump up their wine savvy this summer, with a series of events offering a more casual take on wine education. Bring your friends, relax and enjoy as you taste and learn through the summer months.
Insider Interviews with David Furer - Presenting Alejandro Fernandez
I first encountered the wines of Ribera del Duero in 1992 through Pesquera winery, then the only winery of the region with any recognition beyond that of the historic Vega Sicilia. Its founder, Alejandro Fernandez, is justifiably credited with having created the situation from which now exists an internationally renowned denomination, Ribera del Duero whereas before Pesquera’s commercial existence there was none.
Another Successful CWAS 3-Day Intensive
While we offer a ton of great class formats for our various curricula, there's nothing quite like our California Wine Appellation Specialist® Intensive program. This past weekend, we closed the book on another concentrated three days of learning with a great group of enthusiastic students.
Our COO and fearless leader, Kristin Campbell, attended the second annual Women of the Vine Conference in Napa Valley. The three day event brought together 650 women from every corner of the wine industry and offered sessions focusing on leadership and business skills development while fostering innovative ideas and partnerships between like-minded women. With our new partnership, Members of the Women of the Vine Alliance will receive 10% discount on all full programs offered.
Bubblyfest Pop-Up San Francisco!
Bubblyfest Pop-Up San Francisco descended on our space last weekend and was a roaring success. We celebrated one of our favorite fermented bevvies with almost 300 guests!
Finger Lakes Pt. 1
Michigan’s ‘2 Peninsulas’ is a firm second place but for cool climate, aromatic whites no US region beats New York's Finger Lakes (FLX)--with its sparkling wines and Cabernet Francs also to be reckoned with.
And the winner is: Awards season is here -- and we're not talking Golden Globes or Oscars. Wineries in the East Bay, South Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains scored big time, earning more than 200 medals at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the biggest wine competition in North America. A record-breaking 7,162 wines were submitted from across the country.
THE DOTS ON THE MAP ON THE WALL "The First Dot" (An intern story) By Michelle R. Carlín - Part 2
And my mentor was right...I'd never forget those lessons after perceiving the scent of that vineyard at the lavender field that was my first contact with a winery from inside, the books are amazing but they never show the magnificent of the reality, they never show that, the music in your ears perceived when you arrive in the morning on your day off to take the brix in a silent winery, that sound is the living being that your mentors mentioned about, it is changing, growing, transforming itself…
THE DOTS ON THE MAP ON THE WALL "A Dream of Lavender Fields" (An intern story) By Michelle R. Carlín - Part 1
If I can transport myself to a decisive moment in my life, when everything changes it would be for sure the moment when I was leaving Argentina in 2007. After a failed attempt to make a wine career, tears of the sudden realization that I should find another way to learn about wine blurred my vision.
No single characteristic of a wine lover proves more important in the long run than curiosity. If you love wine, but aren't curious, you'll never truly experience the wonders of what the wine world has to offer. If, on the other hand, you like nothing more than trying new things, not only will you never get bored with wine, you'll be continually rewarded with pleasure.
Insider Interviews with David Furer - Presenting Dr. Patrick Hunt
Stanford University’s Dr. Patrick Hunt will be one of the featured speakers at the Origins of Wine Civilization event. "When working and living in that part of the world it’s inescapable to find the influence of wine. I look to Biblical and other methods, which have countless comments about wine. There are countless exhortations about consumption. The documentation doesn’t have to be expansive though there’s enough tying it into the archaeological evidence. It’s extensive."
Welcome Wine-Two-Five listeners! Thank you so much for joining us for Episode 47! I’m Steph, and today Val and I are chatting with our special guest David Glancy, Master Sommelier.
The 300 year-old family credited with revolutionizing glassware for the enjoyment of wine, announces an exclusive partnership with the San Francisco Wine School. Inaugurated in November 2015, the partnership names Riedel Crystal as the sole glassware provider to the school, which will use Riedel’s varietal specific stemware for all events, tastings and testing purposes.
Dr. Pat (Patrick McGovern) is the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia. He is often referred to as the world’s leading archeologist of fermented beverage, a career path my high school counselor failed to mention. When he’s not in his office at the University of Pennsylvania he is often wandering the Caucasus from Russia to the Middle East, or exploring a tomb in Egypt or a new dig in some remote mountain in China.
Daniel O’Donnell and I met when I was the token Yank tacked onto a group of esteemed British writers, some possessing MWs. Halfway into what now constitutes a decade residing half-time in Turkey, the Napa/Sonoma winemaker was charged by the nascent Wines of Turkey with providing its honored guests with our initial, immersive education into the modern state of Turkish viticulture and enology.
Insider Interviews with David Furer - Presenting Bartholomew Broadbent
Since its inception in 1996, US importer Bartholomew Broadbent’s eponymous company has been at the forefront of a few trends in the US wine business. His association to Chateau Musar, begun long before when coming upon it at a British wine fair with his father Michael, is the basis for his being a panel member at next month’s Cradle of Wine Civilization conference at the San Francisco Wine School.
On Sunday, March 13th from 10am to 5:30pm, San Francisco Wine School will open the doors of its new Wine Education Center for the first of its kind event exploring these ancient wines and their modern expressions with The Cradle of Wine Civilization.
San Francisco, California (Oct. 14, 2015) Since 2011, San Francisco Wine School has been helping people of all levels break into the wine industry, advance their career or simply pursue their passion. With the opening of its new space San Francisco Wine School is now the largest wine school in the U.S.
Pouring out a passion for learning: South San Francisco school educates community about wine
(From the front page of The Daily Journal) For all those who want to know more about the wine poured in their glass, the ideal institution just opened in South San Francisco to quench that thirst for knowledge.
No education in wine is complete, even founded well, without time spent learning from the writings of England’s Hugh Johnson. Like many before and since my first encounters with his work stemmed from his historical and encyclopedic books and a video series which were essential to my early understanding of wine.
Since 1964 Steven Spurrier’s work on behalf of his favorite beverage has been a somewhat circuitous one, having led him for the past few years in developing his Bride Valley vineyard & winery at his Dorset England home. His international stature was assured in 1976 when self-employed as a Paris wine merchant, he organized and led the ‘Judgement of Paris’ (JoP), a blind tasting for the French trade and media pairing some of the best Bordeaux and Burgundy along side California Cabernet sauvignons and Chardonnays.
San Francisco, California (Dec 11, 2015) With a successful Grand Opening under its belt, San Francisco Wine School is now the largest wine school in the United States. 2016 brings its biggest line-up ever of wine-related certification programs,workshops, online classes, intensives, corporate training, and public and private events that span a diversity of topics within the wine and beverage industries.
Meet Javier Zaccagnini - Spanish Viticulturist
Upon leaving work auto-related businesses Javier Zaccagnini’s career has careened through some of the more savory developments in Spain, and mostly in Ribera del Duero. The Valladolid resident had the good fortune in the 1990s to help steer the region through a period of unprecedented growth in both the number of vineyards & wineries and that of quality spearheading the marketing & promotions of its Consejo Regulador.
It's Official... San Francisco Wine School is Open, Open, Open!
When planning our Grand Opening Extravaganza, we thought big. From November 6th through 12th, our Wine Education Center was filled with people checking out the beautiful new space for the first time, tasting, learning, networking, and celebrating.
If anyone is qualified to open and own the San Francisco Wine School, it’s David Glancy. A Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator, David shares his title with only eleven others in the world. He is a true credential junkie also holding the Certified Specialist of Spirits, French Wine Scholar and Italian Wine Professional certifications to boot.
Garnachas de Gredos, Part Two
Despite being 60-90mins. by car or rail to/from Madrid, compared to most of Spain’s known quality wine regions the ‘Garnacha de Gredos’ area remains unknown to the US wine pro. Its establishment as a modern wine-producing dating only to the 1990s, the recent economic difficulties beginning in 2008 which crippled nascent efforts, the occasional infighting and inability or unwillingness to embrace contemporary marketing methods, a lack of an identifiable Denomination of Origin or dynamic independent body to organize group efforts have kept the hard-working and visionary growers and bodegas from the recognition their unique situation and wines deserve.
With the opening of its new space San Francisco Wine School is now the largest wine school in the U.S. After months of careful planning and renovations, the 4,000 sq ft, top floor Wine Education Center at 415 Grand Avenue in downtown South San Francisco is now ready for the public.
Wine education is pursued for a multitude of reasons, ranging from personal enjoyment to career advancement. Formal wine training can be achieved and applied at a number of levels in a number of arenas. For the ambitious few with their sights set on the highest level of education in the industry, there are two paramount credentials often equated as the 'PhDs of Wine Academia': Master Sommelier and Master of Wine.
Alicia Cuadra-Cutler began her love of wine in 2010 while living in Santa Cruz and tasting through the Santa Cruz Mountains. Soon after, she took a position as Tasting Room Associate at Sycamore Creek Vineyards, a small winery in the Santa Clara Valley. Spending most of her time in the Cellar sparked even more interest in wine and winemaking.
Nu-Beer is the restaurant manager at M.Y. China, a modern Chinese restaurant located at Westfield San Francisco Centre in the heart of downtown San Francisco. M.Y. China is lead by Chef Yong Dong (Tony) Wu, who represents the new generation of talented Chinese chefs. He is part of the vanguard of chefs who bring a dynamic and innovative approach to traditional Chinese cooking, experimenting with both new ingredients and cooking methods.
Meet Karl Storchmann - Wine Economist
Karl Storchmann came to my attention in 2005 when I received a notification through the Circle of Wine Writers when serving upon its executive committee that the New York City-based German and others had formed the American Association of Wine Economists.
It’s not a misspelling of 'credos' or clever mispronunciation of ’Speedos', rather a breathtakingly scenic mountainous area 1.5 hrs. drive west of Madrid called Sierra de Gredos. This recently emerged trend is based on old vine Garnacha and the local white Albillo Real fashioned, mostly by a younger crowd taking over from pensioners, often with organic growing, used large oak barrels along with the ancient style clay jars called ‘tinajas’, and no added yeasts into a niche that has caught on fire in Spain and a bit with geekier segments of the US/UK wine crowd.
My first, and to date only, visit to Malta occurred this past February when I accepted an invitation from its NYC-based US tourism representative. As most of its produce is consumed in situ by its denizens and numerous tourists, Maltese wines’ exposure and availability to its neighboring fellow EU member countries is very limited, far more so to those of us in the US.
Professor Greg Jones and I first encountered one another at the first of Spain's three Climate Change & Wine conferences developed a decade ago by Pancho Campo and the Wine Academy of Spain. The Barcelona gathering was a watershed for us both--his is touched upon in the interview while mine is that it garnered me more bylines--six--from one story's reporting than any before or since.
Madeline Triffon has traversed the eddies of being not only a female pioneer in the until recently male-dominated US wine business, but more so in being the first Master Sommelier of her gender. When told in 1995 that I'd applied to pursue the Master of Wine she urged me to enter the MS program saying that "we're more fun than the MWs."
Wine Enthusiast: It's Getting Personal with Sommeliers
Virginie Boone discusses the need to simplify and personalize sommelier service, seeing the role as not of a tastemaker, but a matchmaker.
“You start by identifying the customer’s needs,” says David Glancy, MS, founder of the San Francisco Wine School. “The best sommeliers know that you can’t sell the same thing to every customer. I’ve always taught that you need to understand wine-and-food pairing principals, but taste is very personal. Reading the customer and listening to them are critical skills.”
Prof. Monika Christmann and I met in Chicago soon after she'd completed her time working on Simi Winery's winemaking team having begun as Department Head for both Oenology & Wine Technology and the Winery at her native Germany's Geisenheim Research Institute.
If anyone on this website hasn't heard and read of Tom Stevenson then they've grossly misstepped. Worth noting is that after a trying time interviewing a previous subject via email I balked at doing so with Tom. He insisted, subsequently putting to rest my fear of any brevity on his part. So take a deep breath, wipe any flotsam from your eyes, pour yourself a large one, and let's go!
SOMM Journal February/March 2015: Somm Essentials: Exercising our palates at San Francisco Wine School
With one sniff, M. turns up her nose. “Smells like a fish tank.” I’d have said mineral, seashell, with some green apple thrown in. And briny oyster. But “fish tank?” That stopped me in my tracks. This telling exercise is part of what we do, twice a day for two weeks, in San Francisco Wine School’s Somm Essentials course.
The ‘Flying Vine Doctor’ Richard Smart has been involved with worldwide viticulture since the mid 1960s dating to time spent at Roseworthy College in his native Australia where he once served as its Faculty Dean for Oenology, later as Government Viticultural Scientist in New Zealand where he helped to lay the groundwork for its quality-oriented and internationally competitive wine industry.
Wine Enthusiast: 6 Expert Tips for Traveling with Wine
Wine Enthusiast tapped a seasoned road warrior, David Glancy—master sommelier and CEO of the San Francisco Wine School—and our editors for packing solutions, tips and tricks at a variety of price points. Here’s to bringing a coveted bottle back safe and sound.
Understanding Rioja is as easy as one, two, three.
1) There are three wine-growing regions—Rioja Alta, Alavesa, and Rioja Baja; three types of wine—white or “blanco,” rosé or “rosado,” and red or “tinto.”
A life in theatre didn't prove daunting enough for the Viennese Willi Klinger, now the Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board filling in his spare time moonlighting as a lecturer at the University of Natural Resources & Applied Life Sciences for the University of Salzburg, the Austrian Wine Academy, and the Institute of Masters of Wine.
Wine Industry Advisor May 2015: The Value of a Wine Education
“Wine education won’t necessarily sell wine, but it gives you a reference to sell wine.” So says Rick Toyota, the Director of Hospitality and Sales at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, California.
San Francisco, Calif. (May 28, 2015) San Francisco Wine School invites wine lovers to pump up their wine savvy this summer, with a series of relaxed and enjoyable wine tasting workshops that also include some serious learning.
Greece is home to some of the world’s most interesting grape varieties, yet the wines they produce have never received much fanfare. Even visitors to the country may not venture beyond a simple local white with a dish of freshly caught fish on a warm afternoon—or realize that there’s a diverse and serious industry here.
Beltrán Domecq y Williams has had an illustrious career. His studies included time at UC-Davis with the illustrious Professor Maynard Amerine, training that later led to Domecq co-authoring with Jaime Sanchez-Briñas and Professor Luis Perez of Cadiz University a seminal treatise on fractional blending and the solera system while working at Bodegas Domecq.
Winemakers around the globe look to France as the benchmark; Burgundy for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Rhone Valley for Syrah, Bordeaux for Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, the Loire Valley for Sauvignon Blanc, and Champagne. France encompasses an extraordinary range of terrain and weather patterns.
Beverage Media April 2015: Somm-Thing New?
Sommelier?! The issue of what a sommelier is, or is not—who shall carry that lofty title and what the moniker actually means, if anything—is not going away. If anything, it is becoming more muddled, fractured, debatable.
Meet Patrick Spencer - Insider Interviews by David Furer
After many years working in restaurant management, later some with a winery near his Oregon home, Patrick Spencer set his sights on a related niche which had at the time been the cause of much hand-wringing--cork. Since 2008 his Cork Forest Conservation Alliance (CFCA) has worked to dispel or recalibrate the understanding what for wine professionals continues, even in the face of competition from plastics and metals, as the traditional bottle closure.
Somms of the East Coast get ready; serious California wine education is hopping coasts to cater to the thriving restaurant scene in Washington DC. David Glancy of San Francisco Wine School proposes that these this powerful immersion into California wine “may change the course of your wine career, or make your team significantly more effective at what they do.”
Finca Sandoval owner and journalist Victor de la Serna and Carlos Falcó Fernandez de Córdova, Marquis de Griñon, presented a selection of two white and six red single estate wines last month at Absinthe in San Francisco that was well-attended by Bay area wine trade and media.
Somms of the East Coast get ready; serious California wine education is hopping coasts to cater to the thriving restaurant scene in Washington DC. David Glancy of San Francisco Wine School proposes that these this powerful immersion into California wine “may change the course of your wine career, or make your team significantly more effective at what they do.”
Between officing at home and Quixote Winery where his own label, Pott Wines, are vinified, native Californian Aaron Pott looks to the interests of mostly Napa Valley clients who cherish his ability to nurture some of the best out of their mostly Cabernet Sauvignon vines & wines. Upon graduating from UC-Davis and stints at Opus One, Newton, and Kongsgaard, he went to Bordeaux to work at Château Troplong-Mondot, later becoming head winemaker at Château La Tour Figeac, returned to the US to head international winemaking for Beringer Wine Estates and later accepted the position of GM/winemaker at Quintessa.
A select group of sommeliers, wine merchants and journalists were invited to a presentation recently at St. Vincent Tavern & Wine Merchant in San Francisco honoring “The Ladies of Vino Nobile,” Virginie Saverys, the new owner of Avignonesi, and her winemaker Ashleigh Seymour.
San Francisco, Calif. (March 26, 2015) Busy wine professionals don't always think about formal wine education but two new programs from San Francisco Wine School were designed just for them. Just five days long and extremely targeted, the School’s new Advanced Tasting and Advanced Service intensives were built by School founder and Master Sommelier David Glancy to help the best in the business quickly and expertly hone their professional skills and train for any upper-level tasting or service exam.
Owner/winemaker of his eponymous winery, Paul Hobbs's exposure to farming started as a child where in upstate New York his father presciently had young Paul taste apples of the same variety grown in orchards miles apart from one another. He cut his teeth working at Robert Mondavi Winery earning kudos for his development of its barrel program, but his greatest impact in the wine world has been as one of two innovative winemakers to influence the development of what is now a wine category unto itself, Argentine Malbec.
Xinomavro (Ksee no' ma vro) is the signature varietal of the Naoussa region of Greece. An indigenous Greek varietal known for it's distinctive flavors and aromas and long aging potential, Xinomavro is one of the most significant red varietals of Northern Greece and particularly Naoussa.
Pinot Noir, “peeno nwaahhr”, is a favorite of sommeliers and winemakers alike. Why? First of all, this noble red variety from France's Burgundy region makes an intensely flavored, complex, high acid wine with incredible longevity. As the climate gets warmer, the fruit becomes riper and more obvious, and the acid softens a bit.
Like contemporaries Terry Theise, Neil Empson, Kermit Lynch, all of whose full names grace the bottles of wines selected and marketed by them, Leonardo LoCascio's timing, business acumen, sense of purpose, and appreciation for and connection to the work of others allowed him opportunities to share with and expand the perception of what wine can be both to the US wine professional and consumer.
San Francisco, Calif. (March 5, 2015) - Play the slots, take in a show, and then spend a few days in Las Vegas tasting wine with San Francisco Wine School. Not what you expected for a trip to Sin City? David Glancy wagers that, if you join him, “What happens in Vegas just may change the course of your career.”
Making wine is all about passion, that is nothing new, but it is fascinating to see unparalleled devotion to making wine against all odds. While Martha’s Vineyard evokes vinous imagery, another island in the Atlantic, Nantucket, is becoming renowned for its unique wines. Farther out at sea and unprotected from its whims, Nantucket sits off the coast of Massachusetts.
Insider Interviews by David Furer - Presenting Jean Arnold-Sessions
Jean Arnold-Sessions' career has been greatly centered around wineries in northern California: Chateaux St. Jean and Montelena, J, Jordan, Chalk Hill, Williams Selyem, Laurel Glen, Rudd, and for those of you clued-in to the 'behind the scenes' aspect of the wine biz, Motto, Kryla, & Fisher--not too shabby a list. Starting in 1999 she became instrumental in the revitalization of Hanzell.
Wine and Dine Your Valentine
After New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day is the second worse night to dine out. Expectations are high, menus are fixed, everyone is rushed and stressed, and overall quality of food and experience is diminished. To make matters worse, this year it falls on a Saturday, already one of the busiest nights for many establishments.
Best known for her UC Davis research group's pioneering use of DNA typing in differentiating Vitis Vinifera varieties and elucidating their parentages, Carole Meredith's first career has helped in understanding much of what Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Zinfandel is…and was. Professor Emerita at its Dept. of Viticulture and Enology since her 2003 retirement from this August wine research facility, Meredith no sooner dove into winemaking with her husband Stephen Lagier, himself a veteran of the equally influential Robert Mondavi Winery, from and with their Lagier-Meredith estate vineyard in Mount Veeder.
San Francisco, Calif. (January 29, 2015) - With the addition of Master of Wine Adam Lapierre to the team and three brand new programs to the schedule, San Francisco Wine School now boasts top-level educators from, and coursework for, all four major wine credentialing bodies. The School’s elite group now comprises three Master Sommeliers (Court of Master Sommeliers), three with Diplomas in Wine & Spirits (Wine & Spirits Education Trust), three Certified Wine Educators (Society of Wine Educators) and one Master of Wine (Institute of Masters of Wine).
San Francisco, Calif. (January 29, 2015) With the addition of Master of Wine Adam Lapierre to the team and three brand new programs to the schedule, San Francisco Wine School now boasts top-level educators from, and coursework for, all four major wine credentialing bodies. The School’s elite group now comprises three Master Sommeliers (Court of Master Sommeliers), three with Diplomas in Wine & Spirits (Wine & Spirits Education Trust), three Certified Wine Educators (Society of Wine Educators) and one Master of Wine (Institute of Masters of Wine).
The word “sommelier”, or wine waiter, may have stemmed from the old French words “sommerier”, “somier”, and “bête de somme”. In this old French language, a “bête de somme” was a “beast of burden” and the “sommelier” was its herdsman.
Retsina is often the brunt of the joke when it comes to Greek wine. Just recently I heard someone say, “Greek wine is great but don’t give me any retsina!” and I have to say I once used to agree!
Fred Swan Interviews SF Chronicle Wine Editor Jon Bonné
On Tuesday, December 9, I conducted an hour-long interview of Jon Bonné in front of a live audience for the Commonwealth Club. Bonné is the Wine Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, a two-time James Beard Award winner and the author of The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste.
Several years ago, while living and working in London, I attended a Spanish wine symposium at which I made the acquaintance of Professor Patrick McGovern. Upon chatting of the day’s presentations, I suggested we repair for a beer, soon doing so at one of my favorite Soho haunts.
Is this the year to take your wine expertise to the next level? San Francisco Wine School unveils eight winter/spring wine programs and over 40 workshops designed to do just that.
2014 was a busy year for wine law changes. Here are just a few of them.
Here are my top spirit picks for this holiday season into the New Year: USA Menage a Trois Berry Vodka 750 ml $29.95. This delicious, delicately raspberry-flavored vodka is a fine cocktail base or sipper with a splash of sparkling water.
There are no legal requirements for anyone to become credentialed to work as, or call themselves, a sommelier. However, many individuals decide to challenge themselves, demonstrate their knowledge and add initials to their resume.
Part of the bounty of Northern California is its plethora of artisanal cheeses, which are featured proudly alongside the traditional European choices in shops and farmer’s markets. You might see the parallel with our local wines. Are the local cheeses better?
One of the more confounding elements in wine is minerality. Even in the more comprehensive, advanced-level wine tasting classes I often see blank stares when it comes to this topic.
For more than 200 years, wine bottles have enabled easy transport, long-term cellaring and convenient service. Consumer and on-premise needs have evolved though. New technologies such as keg-on-tap wine, which address these requirements, are rising in popularity.
The Champagne Bureau’s annual trade tasting took place October 21, 2014 at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco’s Union Square. With 37 brands represented, it was important to get there early and taste quickly as an hour in the room was packed and the noise level was like that of a cocktail party.
Insider Interviews by David Furer - Presenting Dr. Liz Thach, MW
Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Thach, MW is a Professor of Management and Wine Business at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, areas of expertise including Wine Business Strategy, Human Resource Management, and Leadership Development. In addition she currently conducts research and does consulting with multiple wineries and other local businesses.
Insider Interviews by David Furer - Presenting Charles Banks
Long a wine consumer and collector while working for others in the capital management sector, the once ambitious amateur Charles Banks entered the wine industry in 2000 with the purchase of a former Santa Barbara County cattle ranch, planting vines on the property, and with his partnered acquisition of Screaming Eagle in 2006 signaling his no longer working for others. Following 14 years residing in Sta. Barbara, family matters back home in Georgia gave Charles and Ali Banks cause return to their Atlanta roots. "We get the best of both worlds now, and I still get to go to California twice a month.
Paso Robles was long the largest undivided AVA in California. That changed on October 9, 2014 when the TTB approved a proposal to create 11 nested AVAs.
San Francisco Wine School announces the debut of CSW Online, a brand new format for its much-lauded Certified Specialist of Wine credential preparation program. Developed by San Francisco Wine School founder and Master Sommelier, David Glancy, to prepare students for the notoriously difficult Certified Specialist of Wine exam, the new CSW Online format allows students to balance work and study by attending classes on their own schedule. The program runs November 17 through February 1.
On October 9, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Board [TTB] approved 12 new California AVAs. Today, our focus is the new Eagle Peak Mendocino County AVA. Next week, we’ll cover the other 11, all of which fall within the previously existing Paso Robles AVA.
San Francisco Wine School challenges the next generation of wine experts in the Los Angeles area with the first and only professional credential program on California wine: The California Wine Appellation Specialist® certification, CWAS® for short. Typically taught as a nine-week course in the San Francisco Bay Area, by popular demand, the California Wine Appellation Specialist® program will be presented in Pasadena as a 3-Day Intensive.
My first encounter with the work of Stuart Pigott was as a relative novice to the world of wine in the mid-'90s having read his entrancingly informative book on the Wines of Germany, written with the guidance of fellow Englishman Hugh Johnson. It so inspired me that I arranged a 3-month 'practicum' for myself in the Mosel and Rheingau.
In celebration of California Wine Month 2014, created by Wine Institute and recognized with a proclamation by Governor Brown, San Francisco Wine School has produced a series of educational videos featuring founder and Master Sommelier David Glancy. In his easy-going, friendly style, Glancy offers insights into the California’s signature grape varietals and wine regions, providing valuable tips for visitors from a wine insider, including the answers to these questions, and more: Which region gave birth to 80% of California’s Chardonnay wine?
Sassicaia is a wine known and loved the world over. From a beautiful coastal hamlet in Tuscany, this Super Tuscan blend is hands down Italy’s most famous wine.
Germany's first Master Sommelier, Frank Kämmer, and I first became acquainted during my elongated stay working in the Stuttgart area in 2002 soon after he'd left what was to be his final full-time restaurant position. He was expanding his horizons consulting to various individuals and businesses, traveling to discover the greater world of wines, and discovering his passion of educating wine consumers and professionals.
Fasten your seat belt low and tight across your lap. Make sure your seat is in the upright position.
Insider Interviews by David Furer – Presenting Alberto Antonini
Sometimes friendships develop under unusual circumstances. One such example for me was when I’d been invited to visit Armenia’s first modern winery, Zorah, by its owner, Zorik Gharibian. The affable Italian resident whom I’d earlier escorted around his first wine trade fair wisely acceded to my suggestion in also bringing my English friend writing for Decanter, Master of Wine Caroline Gilby, while allowing me the ‘scoop’ for the US. Gharibian said we’d be joined by his consulting winemaker and viticulturist.
Insider perspectives from our latest graduates. Somm Essentials celebrates its first round of graduates!
After a frenzy of new DOCG’s, many of them granted for less than serious wines in less than serious styles (think sweet, red and sparkling), Italy’s 74th DOCG, or Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, has been announced. Piedmont’s Nizza DOCG is official.
Partners in work and life, Lydia & Claude Bourguignon are the most heralded viti-soil scientists in the world with clients extending beyond their native France to include New Zealand, the US, and several European countries. Often based in the Cahors area when not at their Burgundy home, the past few years they’ve renovated their circa 1725 farmhouse winery along the Lot river, planting a site comprised of 5ha of Malbec and one of Sauvignon Blanc with their first harvest this autumn eagerly awaited.
San Francisco, Calif. (August 14, 2014) San Francisco Wine School in conjunction with Italian Wine Central, the most authoritative online source about Italian wine, announces a new program that provides a solid foundation in the wines of Italy for professionals and serious enthusiasts: the Italian Wine Professional (IWP) certification. San Francisco Wine School is the first West Coast school authorized to teach this comprehensive new program.
Livermore Valley was once one of California’s prime sources of grapes. In 1882, Charles Wetmore planted cuttings of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from Chateau d’Yquem in his Cresta Blanca Vineyard.
Leland Stanford planted vineyards at Vina in Tehama County in the mid 1800’s, but it wasn’t until August 1, 2014 that the area was recognized as an official American viticultural area. The new AVA, Manton Valley, east of Redding and Mt. Lassen and overlapping Tehama and Shasta counties in northern California’s eastern foothills, is 11,178 acres, 200 of which are currently planted to varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.
Santa Barbara County is one of California’s best and most diverse wine-growing regions. Among its five AVAs are climates ranging from cool “Region I” to St. Helena-like “Region III,” soils from deep sand to chalk to alluvial loam.
The 46 mile long and 8 mile wide Malibu Coast, with glitzy beachfront mansions and celebrity-filled Starbucks, is now an official American Viticultural Area, or American wine appellation. This is ironic in that the area is home to several low profile celebrity rehab facilities.
For lovers of Umbrian wines, the Sagrantino Umbrian Essence event, held on June 10th at San Francisco’s The Press Club, was a rare treat. Eight producers were on hand to showcase their wines, with an emphasis on the star of the region, Sagrantino di Montefalco.
San Francisco, Calif. ( July 8, 2014) — San Francisco Wine School challenges the next generation of wine experts with the first and only professional credential program on California wine: the California Wine Appellation Specialist® degree (CWAS® for short). San Francisco Wine School founder David Glancy is one of only twelve people in the world to hold both a revered Master Sommelier diploma and a Certified Wine Educator credential, and is a visionary for wine education.
Insider Interviews by David Furer – Presenting Debra Meiburg
Acquiring a Master of Wine accreditation doesn’t come easy. What was the most challenging part of your MW studies? The most rewarding?
Insider Interviews by David Furer – Presenting Kermit Lynch
Kermit Lynch is one of the most well-known and earliest importers of French wines into the US. He is also the author of Adventures on the Wine Route which was recently re-released.
Travel Log – FWS Alsace Immersion Trip
Greetings from Alsace, where the wines are as fascinating as the region. I was one of 15 wine professionals experiencing the French Wine Society’s first immersion trip here this week and the incredible hospitality of the regions finest producers.
“Service not Servitude.” – Charlie Trotter. These are words that resonate with me to this day. They describe the act of truly wanting to take care of people – on all levels.
As an expatriate Frenchwoman many years back, why set yourself up as an importer in the US?
When I came here in 1964 I started drinking California wines such as Beaulieu, Italian Swiss Colony, and others.
Clark Smith is one of the friendly curmudgeons of the winemaking scene. The technical consultant, teacher, and speaker makes wines himself while challenging preconceptions of commonly-applied techniques with an openness reflecting his ‘postmodern view of winemaking’.
Somm Essentials is a 2-week intensive program developed by Master Sommelier David Glancy to provide broad knowledge across multiple beverage categories for students starting out in the food & beverage industry or those looking to polish their skills or broaden their skill base. It offers students a unique convergence of industry and product knowledge with service and tasting skills that are critical to staying competitive in today’s hospitality industry.
San Francisco, Calif. (May 28, 2014) In San Francisco Wine School’s summer schedule, David Glancy unveils his newest certification, the highly anticipated Somm Essentials. This two-week intensive program combines industry and product knowledge with service and tasting skills – expertise critical to staying competitive in today’s hospitality industry.
Celebrating ten years, this weekend’s Zinfest kicked off with a casual outdoor dinner on the breezy shores of Lodi Lake. Wine lovers from as far as Vancouver and as near as Palo Alto and Sacramento and presenters including Fred Swan, Ellen Landis, and of course local Ambassador Randy Caparoso, joined local winemakers to honor the growers.
Mel Master’s illustrious wine career began when he and his wife Janey ensconced themselves in Spain’s Sanlucar de Barrameda. She befriended a mule, Tommy, while Mel became entranced with the local tipple of Sherry.
San Francisco, Calif. (May 13, 2014) David Glancy of San Francisco Wine School, one of only twelve people in the world to hold both a Master Sommelier diploma and the Certified Wine Educator credential, will bring “Taste Like a Pro”— a one hour version of his Blind Tasting Workshop, to the Ninth Annual Uncorked Wine Festival at San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square on May 17. Glancy’s engaging style and inspired content raise the bar in wine education and boost participants’ comprehension and enjoyment of wine.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 1, 2014 – Ready to invest in your passion for wine this summer with an educational vacation or stay-cation in San Francisco? David Glancy, MS, CWE, unveils San Francisco Wine School’s seven spring and summer wine programs and workshops, each designed to take participants—whether wine professional or serious enthusiast—to the next level.
How is wine best distinguished between being a commodity product or an artisan’s creation? The key is consistency and predictability.
First venturing into writing of wine with a 1988 book on Port, Andrew Jefford grew into one of the world’s most skilled and hailed communicator of it along with noted tangents into whiskey, tea, and other of life’s hedonistic pleasures. It was during his 2005 stint with BBC Radio’s Wine Programme that we grew acquainted when he ventured into a south London cellar to report upon where I stashed my bottles alongside that of my landlady a fellow wine writer.
In 2007 Meridith May had been serving as publisher/editor of California-based veteran Paterson’s Beverage Journal with Anthony Dias Blue, its ongoing columnist, when the two bought the name ‘Paterson’s The Tasting Panel’ and dropped ‘Paterson’s’ within a year. At 20,000 circulation focusing solely upon the California market, they immediately went national climbing to what is now 100,000 copies found in all major markets with major emphases upon New York, Florida, Texas, and of course California.
Dating from early Greek settlements here, Nero d’Avola is one of Italy’s top five grapes and the most noble of Sicily. It is still known as Calabrese, meaning “from Calabria”, or possibly even derived from its ancient vernacular name, Calaurisi, meaning “coming from Avola”.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 10, 2014 — An intensive, three-day wine education program in San Francisco, CA, April 26-28 delves into the intricacies of California’s wine and wine regions, and examines their impact on the world of wine. Upon successful completion, program participants will earn the California Wine Appellation Specialist® credential.
France’s bi-ennial Vinisud exhibition allowed me to watch Gérard Basset presenting a range of Mediterranean wines with fellow World Champion Sommelier Paolo Basso. Most of Basset’s working hours are consumed in the running, with wife Nina, of England’s Terravina hotel/restaurant located in Dorset’s enchanting-as-it-reads New Forest.
Temperatures rose quickly in the tent at the Hotel Vitale’s Americano Restaurant last month, and not just because of the unseasonably warm San Francisco weather. Women were swooning over the charming and dapper Patrick Leflaive, of Olivier Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet.
Read about Master Sommelier David Glancy’s Selections & Reasons. Two educational heavyweights went head-to-head at The Kitchen Door in Napa on March 20 to determine who could pair sake best with a non-Japanese multi-course meal.
The 13th annual Naples Winter Wine Festival Auction took place January 24-26 under the mild Florida sun, its 42 lots amounting to $12.5 million pledged which surpassed last year’s $9 million, all of which is earmarked for a range of children’s charities overseen by the Naples Children & Education Foundation.
The Chaine des Rotisseurs’ Young Sommelier Competition is well underway. Between February 11 and March 4, five of the eight regional competitions were completed. The first round of the competition was an online wine theory exam held in December. Two … Continue reading
San Francisco Wine School reached out to its friends from all sides of the wine industry to put together proven career advice from the pros. Breaking into the wine world can be tough, but these experts offer their best advice on landing your dream job, while shedding light on how they hire, what they look for in job candidates, and their own first-hand experiences.
Wine production, quality, and tourism are booming in the Okanagan Valley, Canada’s predominant wine district of the five contained within British Columbia; the other officially designated viticultural areas being Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and Gulf Islands. The boom enjoyed by its more than 240 wineries has been generated in great part by its geographic proximity to economically vibrant Vancouver and petrochemical and cattlerich Calgary thereby minimizing its need to sell to other parts of Canada or to its neighbor to the south.
I can hear a soulful Edith Piaf lamenting, “Mon Dieu”. With the French Paradox we learned that drinking wine in moderation, with even a rich meal, may be beneficial to our health and lower chances of coronary heart disease. With Mireille Giuliano’s book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, we learned that wine was not necessarily even fattening.
Learning that the French Alpine Skiing team had their final training for the Sochi Olympics in Monts Jura (Lélex-Crozet), it seemed like a great time to provide an update on the Jura wine region. France’s eastern Jura region boasts a surface vineyard at 4500 acres with its Arbois heartland topping 2000, 40% of which are planted to white varieties in the rolling hills SxSW of the quaint town.
The Inaugural California Wine Appellation Specialist® 3-Day in Santa Rosa. Which California AVA is the star in Mendocino for Pinot Noir and sparkling wine?
If you want to learn about wine in San Francisco, take advantage of the many resources at your fingertips, plus the miles of wine country just a short drive away. Here are some tips from San Francisco Wine School, plus some from Certified Sommelier Petra Polakovicova, Wine Director at Epic Roasthouse, and Certified Sommelier Jessica Eisenberg, Assistant General Manager at Puccini & Pinetti , that will make you smarter than ever when it comes to wine.
The second half of 2013 saw an upsurge in activities for women in wine in South America. In December at the Museo del Vino was the first meeting of the Asociación de Muejeres del Vino del Uruguay (AMVU), an initiative began by veteran marketer/saleswoman Fabiana Bracco and Rosita Moreno of Uruguay’s wine governing body INAVI who were joined at the rose-laden dais by Analia Lazaneo of Artesana Winery, Victoria Varela of Varela Zarranz Winery, freelance sommelier Cecilia Maqueir, and over 30 attendees.
San Francisco, CA, January 17, 2014 – San Francisco Wine School is offering the first and only formal credential relating to California wines to shape a new generation of industry-leading California wine experts: the California Wine Appellation Specialist® (CWAS) Program. Nick Frey, former President of Sonoma County Winegrowers, is very supportive.
California Wine Appellation Specialist ® Class 1: US/CA Wine Law and Mendocino County. The evening kicked off with a taste of Roederer Estate Brut Rose NV.
Since 2008, Alsace Rieslings have been obliged to be less than 9 g/l residual sugar, marking the interests of those who have long touted a preference for drier Rieslings. Vendanges Tardives (VT) and Sélection de Grains Nobles (SGN) are excluded from this regulation.
What anyone knew just five years ago is completely out of date in many areas. European Union Common Market Organization reforms that occurred 2008-2011 continue to create confusion with implementation of AOP/DOP/PDO wine regulations.
Have you tasted that amazing 98-point Cabernet from NextNewWinery? It was featured in Wine Speculator and Bob Park’s Wine No-Advertising.
On September 17th and again a week later, several of Chile’s prime agricultural zones were hit with severe frost, the worst in decades. The world will enjoy less of Chile’s fruit and wine as a result.
Champagne is going green. The CIVC has approved a new bottle (2 oz total weight) reducing the region’s CO2 output by 8,000 metric tons.
Cava is always a bargain, but the elegant, lemony and slightly yeasty Anna de Cordoniu Cava Brut nv $15 is especially a good deal. Ideal for showcasing delicate seafood and shellfish dishes, it also has the texture to match silky carpaccio.
Moon Mountain adds to the list of Sonoma’s AVAs, now making it 16. Born October 1, 2013, it may be a mere infant in terms of recognition but plenty of winemakers and viticulturists have long known that its terrain is special.
From the hot, dry, challenging 2012 vintage across Italy’s south and islands, look for success stories including the 2012 Cusamano Benuara Sicilia IGT $18, Nero d’Avola with 30% Syrah, a nice crossover style for glass pours and the holiday table. The 2012 De Lucia Falanghina Sannio DOC $22 from Campania, is a round, creamy, softly-textured and citrusy wine with hints of yellow rose and Strega.
San Francisco, CA, November 14, 2013 – The San Francisco Wine School, a provider of world-class wine education and professional development for successful careers in the wine industry, today announced that it has received recognition from the French Wine Society for its 100 percent pass rate on the rigorous French Wine Scholar exam.
Toast to another great year with the tart strawberry, lemon peel, and Campari-esque nv Scharffenberger Brut Rosé Excellence Mendocino County $18. Despite unusually cool weather throughout much of the North Coast in August, particularly in Napa Valley, 2013 is looking similar to 2012 in both quantity and quality.
As testament to its purportedly growing to 500 attendees, for the first time in its history TexSom scheduled concurrent sessions with four occurring at any given time. Leading off this edition was retired geologist Wayne Belding MS with his ‘Granite & Glacier, Fire & Ice’ session, asking that everyone sample a Snickers bite left at their seat to exemplify the differences of varying soil types and the phenomenon of weathering in likening the peanuts to rocks while delineating the link between a wine and the soil upon which it was grown.
Twelve semi-finalists from different countries competed in Wines of South Africa’s Second Sommelier World Cup held October 12 at Franschhoek’s Grande Hotel. Three finalists were chosen; Anna Sviridenko of St. Petersburg’s Stroganoff Steak House, Morgan Harris of New York City’s Cork Buzz, and Canada’s Will Predhomme, Senior Sommelier at Toronto’s Canoe restaurant.
A Look at the Newly Approved Ballard Canyon AVA, Santa Barbara County
The Ballard Canyon AVA was approved by the TTB on October 1, 2013. It is a small wine-growing region within Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley AVA. Though not yet a familiar name to most enthusiasts of California wine, it’s few vineyards are very high in quality. Some are strong brands on their own: Beckman Purisma Mountain, Stolpman, Larner and Jonata.
San Francisco, CA, October 21, 2013 – David Glancy, founder of San Francisco Wine School (SFWS), the Bay Area’s leading provider of wine education and certification programs, has added Roland Micu, MS to their esteemed team of instructors. Roland Micu is a graduate of the International Culinary Center’s Certified Sommelier program, founded by Glancy, and is currently one of the world’s youngest Master Sommeliers. In addition, he was named the TopNewSomm 2012, winning the Guild of Sommeliers’ annual competition for professionals under 30 years of age.
For many, the trip up Highway 29 ends at Calistoga. Yet if you continue about another 20 minutes up and over the grade, traversing Mt. St. Helena, you’ll end up in Middletown, at the base of Clear Lake.
I have never given even a moment’s thought to going to a motorcycle race. That is, until I was enticed by an invitation to hang out in the VIP/Media Lounge drinking Prosecco all day at Laguna Seca Racetrack in Monterey County on September 29.
Riesling Rendezvous – Part II
The New York Wine & Grape Foundation’s Jim Trezise introduced a national sampling done with consumers representing 90% of the those purchasing at $20+ per bottle identified themselves as Riesling fans showed a 5% decline in this sector’s consumption of Riesling, about 35% of which drink Riesling on a weekly basis, and mollified by an overall increase in all Riesling consumers.
Riesling Rendezvous – Part I
A mix of 150 wine trade members and consumers gathered July 16-18 in Seattle for the fourth Riesling Rendezvous. Opening remarks by event sponsor Chateau Ste. Michelle’s president Ted Baseler started with him thanking Australia’s Frankland Estate for being the furthest traveling to his city to attend RR.
Press Release: San Francisco Wine School CEO Elected to Society of Wine Educators’ Board of Directors
San Francisco, CA, August 29, 2013 – The membership of the Washington, DC based Society of Wine Educators has elected San Francisco Wine School’s founder and CEO, David Glancy, to their Board of Directors. Of their 15 Directors, two are now Master Sommeliers (including Glancy) and one is a Master of Wine.
Grape Variety Profile – Albariño
I like to say that Albariño is Miguel Migs. If you know music, you know this is the cool dude who mixes it up for the dance clubs in SoMa, San Francisco. With notes of apple, pear, lemon, lemon rind and toasted almond, tropical fruit, and occasionally, a vein of chalky minerality, this delicious, dry, hip, crisp and international white is best known as the wine of Rias Baixas, in Galicia, Spain. Rias Baixas is said to be it’s birthplace, and the grape thrives here, especially in vineyards with granite soil, where it produces wines of great structure.
Burgundy Storm Report – Gambal on Damage
The French government’s provisional damage estimate is between 1,700 and 2,000 hectares were affected, 35-40% percent of the Côte de Beaune’s vineyards in its recent storms. In an email note I received from American cum Bourgogne vigneron Alex Gambal there is no one ‘right’ number to apply to the storms that have recently damaged Burgundy’s vineyards, that there are a number of factors which have come to play such as vine orientation–N-S or E-W, whether the vines had recently been trimmed–if not then the canopies would have acted, at least in part, as shields, whether or not the vines been de-leafed for aeration–if so then there was greater exposure to the hail, and where in any village was the parcel was located as there is great variation in the damage due to specific location.
Which Wine is in Your NV Champagne Bottle?
Last year, I reported that wine critic Antonio Galloni would no longer be scoring non-vintage Champagne that didn’t list the disgorgement date on bottle. Consumers couldn’t be sure the wine they see in stores is the same as he wrote about. Similarly, shops, restaurants and collectors with multiple bottles have no way of telling bottles apart once they’re in the cellar.
The San Francisco Wine School is excited to announce the launch of its first online wine education program. The California Wine Appellation Specialist® This 9-week online certification program was developed by Master Sommelier, David Glancy.
Grape Variety Profile – Sauvignon Blanc
Along with Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc is a member of the Bordeaux blanc family. They complement each other when blended together, but also make great wines on their own.
Catalonia’s EspaiPriorat Tasting
The second biennial EspaiPriorat tasting of wines was held May 15 to commemorate the reconstruction of major portions of Catalonia’s Escaladei monastery. 50 sommeliers, educators, buyers, and journalists from as far as Japan and Singapore, Brazil and Canada, along with yours truly tasted over 150 wines from 36 Priorat wineries.
San Francisco Bay Area Summer Wine Events
Here are some of the hottest summer wine events taking place around the San Francisco Bay area:
San Francisco Wine School Offers New Program: The French Wine Scholar Program San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Wine School is excited to introduce a brand new program offering to their current curriculum. The French Wine Scholar Program, developed by the French Wine Society (FWS), is designed to provide current, accurate information on the wine regions of France and validate proficiency in the Wines of France.
The name Napa Valley AVA is somewhat misleading. Napa Valley is certainly dominant within the AVA but is far from the only valley. Some others are obvious by name or quick perusal of a map: Chiles Valley and Pope Valley for example.
I had the pleasure recently of joining the sommeliers of Redd, La Folie, and Boulevard, writers including Deborah Parker Wong of The Tasting Panel and Randy Caparoso of Sommelier Journal, and founders of a wine start-up, Block 122, at Lookout Ridge Winery, nestled atop the Mayacamas Mountains, for a sunset wine tasting. After twisting and turning up the mountain and driving on unpaved, rocky roads, I was yearning for the four-wheel drive SUV I used while working on vineyard mapping for Oz Clarke’s Wine Atlas.
San Francisco Wine School has partnered with BottleRock Napa Valley (May 9th-12th, 2013) to offer our students and alumni discounts on passes to the festival…you won’t want to miss this inaugural event!
Studying wine is endless. It is a rabbit hole with no end. Many people assume that passing the Master Sommelier (MS) or Master of Wine (MW) exam is the end of the journey. Once I passed the MS I gained the freedom to decide WHAT I wanted to study about wine, but never slowed down.
Sitting in a winery tasting room outside Fort Worth, Texas I perused the wine list. “What’s this Blanc du Bois?,” I asked. The name reminded me of Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire. “It’s Blanc du Bois,” she said helpfully.
I was a restaurant wine buyer for years before focusing exclusively on wine education. I also discuss the struggles and success of many of my friends who work in that capacity and to those who sell wholesale to them. From all of this I thought I had seen it all.
San Francisco Wine School, the Bay Area’s leading wine education and certification program has appointed Tracye Laun as COO and Co-Founder. Laun brings SFWS over twenty years of experience in education management with unique leadership in secondary, vocational, and higher education public and private sectors.
I do not buy wine hoping it will increase in value to re-sell later. I will not be recommending blue chip producers or bottlings to maximize your wine collecting return. Wine is for sharing with good friends, good food and good times. For me, it is not a commodity.
On February 2, 2013, hundreds of press, trade, and then consumers filled San Francisco’s Concourse Pavilion for the 22nd Annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) Festival. ZAP has other events, including one in Calgary in June, but this 4-day event in San Francisco is always their main event.
San Francisco, CA, January 17, 2013- The San Francisco Wine School now offers a comprehensive preparation course for the prestigious Certified Specialist of Wine examination. The Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) credential represents the Society of Wine Educators’ (SWE) recognition that the holder has attained a broad base of knowledge about wine, equivalent to a mid-level wine professional.
Fourteen grape varieties may be used in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.1 Many of them are bit players, used to add traces of spice or color or acidity, etc. But they also make that region’s wines more diverse and allow winemakers to compensate for difficult vintages.
Conventional wisdom says magnums of wine develop more slowly than 750ml bottles. The smaller the bottle, the more rapid aging is assumed to occur. We rarely test this theory in a completely objective manner though. Recently, I did.
Which Wine Credential is Best to Become a Sommelier? Many people are confused by what I call wine credential blur. This is further muddled by competing and sometimes misleading claims.
Press Release – San Francisco Wine School Adds Two New Wine Instructors
San Francisco Wine School has added two more wine instructors, Rebecca Chapa and DLynn Proctor, bolstering its faculty as it diversifies its curriculum and opens enrollment for its winter California Wine Appellation Specialist™ (CWAS™) and French Wine Scholar (FWS) wine programs.
A Year in Burgundy
In the past few years there have been many wine movies out there that have missed the mark, but every now and then one “wows” me. I think that wine being such a detailed and seemingly magical product it is a bit more difficult to appropriately convey via film or television.
This is a follow-up to our last blog about wax seals and my video is at the end. Most wines have corks with metal or plastic capsules over them and screw cap wines are on the rise.
Restaurant Service of Wax Sealed Wine Bottles
A small number of wines around the world are bottled with a wax seal over the cork. Some beers, meads and spirits are sealed this way, as well. There are many ways this can be done. The most common is a small wax seal on top of the cork instead of a plastic or metal capsule. Some other wax seals are thin and cover the very top of the neck.
I feel the need for something light hearted today. In fact, I use humor every time I teach about wine. Here are some of my favorites to inspire, instruct, shock or simply amuse.
Of the many topics addressed at the 2012 Society of Wine Educators conference held in San Mateo, Calif. in July, Master Sommelier David Glancy’s seminar “A Fast & Deep Dive into California’s Appellations” was popular with attendees who wanted more in-depth information on the distinct terroirs of California’s sub regions. “Most trade certifications spend precious little time on California,” said Iain Phillips, a WSET educator from Vancouver, B.C.
There is no better place to study French wines than the French Wine Society. This is a partially self-serving statement as San Francisco Wine School is the exclusive provider of their programs in the San Francisco area.
I am constantly being asked for tips to prepare for the Court of Master Sommeliers’ exams. Everyone is terrified by the blind tasting exams, and the studying required to pass any level of theory exams is also daunting. Those who have worked in restaurants for years often take the service exams for granted.
One of the first things taught during the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory Course is blind wine tasting, or more specifically the deductive tasting technique. They test blind tasting ability at the 2nd-4th levels of their exams (Certified, Advanced and Master Sommelier), but not at the Introductory. The Society of Wine Educators tests blind wine tasting for varietals and faults in their top exam, Certified Wine Educator (CWE).
Residing in France for the past four months has been an amazing, enlightening experience. Plenty of traveling, both in and out of France, has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible. My one complaint, if you will indulge me, has been the weather.
On July 24, 2012 the Society of Wine Educators (SWE) conducted their first Hospitality Beverage Specialist Exam at this year’s annual conference in San Mateo, CA. Eight of San Francisco Wine School’s recent graduates were among those tested and all of them passed! The Hospitality Beverage Specialist is an entry-level program designed for hospitality and culinary students, waiters, bartenders, cocktail servers and others looking for an introductory credential.
When thinking about selling wine to restaurants, try to remember who the customer is. In any sales position, good service goes a long way.
This is the third in a series of varietal profiles by Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, presented to aid students in preparing for blind tasting exams and gaining a global view of many of the important grapes. Malbec, one of the five varieties used in red Bordeaux, is thought to have originated in South West France, though in Cahors, the appellation it is most famous for today, the local name is Auxerrois, suggesting origins in Northern Burgundy.
How to Start a Career in the Wine Industry (or Not)
Many people are surprised to find out that the majority of my students over the last decade have been career changers. The next largest student segment has been 20-somethings entering the workforce for the first time or trying to turn a part-time job into a career.
If you think the perfect stemware is a must-have for your wine of choice, think again. Every day wines taste great in the park, or at the beach, places where ideal glassware is not usually at hand.
In the mid-1960’s, Oregon’s wine industry pioneers began planting grapes in the northern Willamette Valley. They focused on Pinot Noir, but also planted Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. Those varieties are still widely considered Oregon’s best, just as the Willamette Valley AVA remains the state’s best-known growing region.
This is the second in a series of varietal profiles by Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, presented to aid students in preparing for blind tasting exams and gaining a global view of many of the important grapes. Muscat is an aromatic, highly perfumed and exotic grape that is popular in still, sparkling and sweet versions. It is the world’s oldest known grape variety, and probably originated in Greece, where it is still cultivated today.
San Francisco Wine Shops That I Love by David Glancy
I thought I would share some love with my favorite San Francisco wine retailers and hopefully help some shoppers in the process. I buy wine many places but two shops are head and shoulders above the rest for me.
While all wine educators share a common goal, to convey information and assist in the learning process, each does so with a unique style. Wine education is of course no different. In over 20 years of sitting through both fascinating seminars and deathly boring lectures, I finally found my own style after attending the first-year Master of Wine residential seminar a few years ago. So What?
At the recent Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, I had the opportunity to talk quite a bit with Antonio Galloni of The Wine Advocate. He also agreed to a lengthy interview. He said on numerous occasions and in different ways that it is not his goal to be a taste-maker nor an agent of change for wine styles.