Wine Education Centre Up-Coming Courses

Hi everyone,

Since I’ve begun to settle into my new routine with my graduate studies, I’ve been back on the Wines of Western Australia’s website looking at their classes and courses for this year.

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Wine Basics

($90 for a 3 hour class 10am-1pm)

This class offers a basic introduction to wine tasting and appreciation. These classes can make for a fun weekend event with friends.

Upcoming Dates: 16 March 2013, 4 May 2013, 25 May 2013

Wine Essential Course

($295 for 4 weeks 6-8pm: includes 6 different wine tastings per week, three course meal in the final week and a private group tour of a winery)

This course is the one which I completed last year and my reviews of the wines I sampled in the course can be found in the links below. This course is good for people ranging from beginners to those like me who knew something about wine but wanted to refine and add to their wine knowledge repertoire. Overall I was impressed with the course and it’s value for money as well as the chance to meet with other wine enthusiasts in Perth. My final thoughts can be found in this blog post.

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Winery Tour

Upcoming Starting Dates: 6 March 2013, 3 April 2013, 8 May 2013

Wine Essentials Plus Course

($395 for the course, includes the textbook, A Taste of the World of Wine and the option of completing an industry certified, theoretical and sensory examination.)

This course is for those who want to learn about wine regions and the finer points of wine such as cellaring and faults. This course is aimed at people in the wine and hospitality industries, along with people who have acquired some wine knowledge already.

Upcoming Starting Dates: 7 May 2013

Wine Varietals Course – Combined or Individual Red and White Wine Courses

($265.00 each for the individual 4 week courses 6-8pm, or
$425.00 for the courses combined into an 8 week course 6-8pm)

This course focuses on using blind tastings to develop your wine palate and knowledge. Three of the four weeks in each of the courses is structured for a comparison and contrast between two different varietals, with the final class being a review of what has been learnt. This is the course I have been eyeing off since finishing the Wine Essential course last year, as did many of the people who were on the course with me.

Upcoming Starting Dates: 21 February 2013 (Wine Varietals White), 9 May 2013 (Wine Varietals White), 28 March 2013 (Wine Varietals Red)

If you have anymore questions or wish to book in to one of these courses you can contact the Wine Education Centre on (08) 9284 3355 or via email: WEC@winewa.asn.au

Until next time!

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Wino101: Winefolly.com

Hi everyone,

This post will be short and sweet and I’m quite busy with university at the start of the week. This post is featuring a website which is centered around wine and one which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading different posts on. I stumbled across winefolly.com a few weeks ago and loved their selection of articles as well as their posters. The blog is sectioned off into a beginners section and an advanced section, which contain numerous articles ranging across all the different facets of wine.

Below are two of their posters which I would buy in a heart beat if I had anywhere to hang them as they are not only funny but also the second one would really help me with my current Wine Century Challenge Project.

Different types of wine poster.

Different types of wine poster.

Ho to choose wine poster.

Ho to choose wine poster.

I would have to say so far my favourite post on the sight is titled ‘8 Signs You Might Be a Wine Geek’. If you have seen this website before or have checked it out since reading this post do share any interesting articles you find along the way as I am sure it would take me a long time to get through them all. Also feel free to share any of your favourite wine websites/blogs.

Until next time!

Wino101: Like This, Try That (second instalment)

Hi everyone,

You may remember one of my earlier posts on this blog where I suggested alternatives for common white wines. In this post I will hopefully make red wine varietals a little more approachable.

Like Shiraz, Try Zinfandel

When I say Zinfandel, I am referring to the robust style seen in Australia and not the one that many Americans will think of. Zinfandel in Australia is a red wine which ranges in its body and intensity of flavours depending upon the climate it was grown in as well as the winery producing it. Below is the description for the 2010 vintage Zinfandel from Cape Mentelle in Margaret River, Western Australia which has been described to me as the Holy Grail of Western Australian Zinfandels.

APPEARANCE: Dark crimson.

NOSE: Ripe plums with chocolate, allspice, maraschino cherries, juniper berries and aged tobacco.

PALATE: Ripe mulberry, rhubarb and summer pudding with cinnamon, dark chocolate and fleshy plums. The wine is opulent and rich with savoury spicy tannins balanced by fresh and vibrant red fruits. The sweet fruit carries the entire palate contributing to length of flavour.

Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Try Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a softer wine in comparison to a Cabernet Sauvignon, however it is a wine that can be overlooked if you are not aware of and looking for the finer, softer elements in a wine. Cabernet Francs are often listed as having, fine tannins, spicy aromas, peppery accents, violet nuances and an understated elegance plus lots of red and black berry (mainly blueberry, raspberry and sometimes plum) flavor.

 It is subtly fragrant and gently flirtatious rather than massively muscular and tough in youth. Because Cabernet Sauvignon has so much more of everything – body, tannin, alcohol, colour – it is often supposed to be necessarily superior, but I have a very soft spot indeed for its more charming and more aromatic relative, Cabernet Franc – Jancis Robinson

Like Pinot Noir, Try Merlot or Cabernet Merlot

Merlot is a grape varietal which bring sweetness into a red wine rather than tannins and spiciness as Cabernet and Shiraz do. If you are finding your Merlot’s too sweet as I did when I first started drinking red wine then a Cabernet Merlot may be a better wine for you to drink as your branch out in your red wine drinking.

Like Rose, Try Pinot Noir

Rose’s tend to be light bodied, fruity (think strawberries, rasberries and cherries) and can range from sweet to dry with their finish. Pinot Noir’s tend to have more body than a Rose however they are still a lighter bodied red than your Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignons. Pinot Noirs such as the Village Pinot Noir from Yering Station – review can be found in this blog – can also have similar fruity characteristics to a Rose.

NV_Yering_Village_PinNoir

Hope this post helps and if there are any other varietals you like to drink that wasn’t included in either post please let me know as there will be more of these entries in the future!

Until next time!

FeBREWary Beer Festival, Mindarie

Hi everyone,

I know this post is a little early but there is a month long beer festival being held in Mindarie at the Indi Brewery. Events include beer samples, live music, beer inspired meals, along with international and local beers that are being brought into the bar for tap and bottled ranges for this month long event. For those of you who live near to Mindarie there will be a Happy Hour running 5-6:30 every evening on weeknights across February. This event is definitely one for the beer lovers of Perth!

There will be 2 FeBREWary Festive Ales (new):

Indi Nekta 6.0%
Tasting Notes:
This Belgian Wheat Ale is pale orange in colour & is brewed using malted & unmalted wheat and malted barley. Unfiltered & served cloudy, yeast driven flavours are very pronounced with pineapple & mango esters being apparent. Fermented with a yeast strain acquired from a small Belgian Brewery that produces a fruity finish with traces of bubblegum

Indi Belgian Pale Ale 7.6%
Tasting Notes: This Belgian Style Pale Ale is deep amber in colour with a relatively full body for a beer of this alcoholic strength. Medium fruity esters are evident in aroma and flavour and low levels of phenolic spiciness from yeast by-products may also be perceived. Hop bitterness is low to medium, with hop flavour and aroma also in this range. Brewed with a light coloured Belgian Candy Sugar this beer is highly attenuated with a perceptively deceiving high alcoholic character. Flavours of imported Belgian Biscuit Malts blend well with a complex fruitiness that finishes with pineapple, banana and bubblegum when the beer is allowed to warm

There will also be 2 new English style ales to try, hand pumped in the main bar. Along with the launch of the new Indi  Fe-BREW-ary Ale, called Indi Kolsch. And lastly a selection of international guest beers available by the bottle to purchase throughout the week and free tastings on Sundays.

For those who love their food, as well as those who love beer inspired food:Indi Brewery Head Chef, Gill Lewkowicz, has also put together a unique, beer inspired ‘Brew Bites’ Menu for the month including mouthwatering dishes infused with the good old amber ale.

There will also be mid week brewery tours running in Febuary, tours will cost $20 per person.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Questions

Hi everyone,

I’ve had a few questions along the way while writing this blog and while I am still a novice when it comes to wine I thought I would give you the answers I have learnt or my views on the subject so that people can make up their own minds and have a starting point from which they can develop their own understandings towards wines.

Question 1: Where did you learn about wines from?

I have worked part-time in a bottle shop for just over two years and it has really been during this period that I came to have a love and appreciation for wine. I originally began working in a store which was in a more affluent part of Perth where people had income to spare on a more expensive bottle of wine and through discussions with them I began to learn little wine facts and opinions. I have since moved and worked across a variety of locations and along the way come across a variety of customers from all different cultures, socio-economic back grounds, wine and alcohol preferences, you name it. I have also through work been provided with some education on wines, however much of what I have learnt has come from tasting different wines and then discussing them with different people.

I have also travelled to Europe a few times, mainly at my expense and it has provided me with a love of Europe, their take on food, wine and life in general is one which I would love to adopt in the future. Travelling across Europe is something that I hope to do again in the near future so that I can not only have easier access to a wider range of grape varietals but also so that I can really try old-world wines and hopefully know enough about them to enjoy them.

So to answer the original question, I have learnt about wines from many different sources but by far my most knowledgeable moments have been when I have had the chance to sample different wines to develop my own understanding and preferences and secondly, discussing with other people both more and less knowledgeable about wine than myself.

Question 2: My sister says all Taylors wine is good. Would you agree?

Taylors is a wine label which is well known in Australia and is one which I often recommend to customers when they are looking for a gift and want something safe. Although I am yet to actually try this brand, besides their Gewürztraminer, which disappointed me more as a varietal than a label. My approach to wine is slightly different in that often I prefer either a few wines from a winery or I may prefer a grape varietal from across a single region.

For me the grape varietal and the region are more important than the producer, however when I am at work selling wines the opposite is often the case. Taylors does produces some good wines, don’t get me wrong but there are so many other smaller boutique wineries around the same price-point in bottle shops that I would love to try before getting to the big brands. This view does make it hard to recommend wines at work as I often try and enjoy wines that my store do not carry.

Taylors 2010 Shiraz however seems to have been an exceptional vintage as I have had exceptional reviews and recommendations from customers, fellow collegues and the few bottles that I have seen in some stores seem to carry quite a few trophies, gold and silver medals. I must try and get my hands on a bottle or two from this vintage to see what all the hype around it is, even though Shiraz is not my favourite red varietal.

Question 3: What’s the optimum temperature to serve red, and white wines (Bubbly too)?

Basic: Whites and Bubbly = chilled, Reds = room temperature.

More complex: Same as above however consider these temperatures to not be reflective of your current location but rather the ambient temperatures that continental Europe would have had a few centuries ago when the basic model above was coined.

This is a topic I have been meaning to cover in a Wino101 post and will hopefully do so in the near future.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Preservatives – allergies.

Hi everyone,

I’ve decided to continue on from yesterday’s post as it was a rather rushed little blog and wine allergies and preservatives is something that many people have spoken to me about from friends to customers at work. Wine allergies are not simple to pin point as there are many components in wine from which people can react to. Yesterday’s post was on sulphides, but there are all the refining products such as milk and eggs, along with yeast and the grapes themselves for people to have allergic reactions to.

Sulphides

As yesterday’s post explained sulphides are necessary for imported wines as well as Australian wines due to them being lower in acid than wine from cooler climates. And overall sulphides allow wine to not spoil as easily as it did in the past.

Sulphide reactions are often linked to asthma and this is the more serious concern as sulphides in wine can lead to reactions with histamine. Wines contain naturally occurring sulphides and therefore will always contain a small proportion of sulphides, what can be controlled is how much more sulphur is added to the wine during production and fermentation. Wine without added sulphides are hard to find in Australia when you’re looking in major wine retails shops, if you think this is a concern and would like to try low-sulphide or preservative-free wines then going to cellar door or building up a friendship with your local independent bottle shop is my best advice. However you will be restricted to quite a small section of the wine industry and market if you make this decision.

Another alternative is to add something to your wine which will cause a chemical reaction to occur forcing the sulphides to be released from the wine. I am not a fan of this method as the additive is bleach and if it is not fully consumed by the sulphides in the wine then it will remain in the wine and be consumed by yourself.

Personally my favourite method is to allow the wine the chance to breathe either in a decanter or in my glass and while this method perhaps does not remove all the sulphides it is the most natural method which allows me the ability to not be restricted in my wine drinking. Also drinking when eating allows the food to decreases the full effect of the wine on your stomach and insides in comparison to drinking on an empty stomach (something which I do not advocate either).

Phenols

Phenols in wine are naturally occurring chemical compounds which can be found generally in the wines skin. Therefore the percentage of phenols is higher in wines which have had increased contact with the skin, red wines and the more expensive generally the longer the time spent on skins. Phenols can also get into the wine through time spent in barrels and this again impacts upon only certain wines and more often red wine than white wines.

There is no products on the market for removing phenols like there is for wine. People who react to red wine have told me that drinking it over ice prevent it from occurring and I will have to ask my chemistry majoring friends about this as it is likely the lower temperature alters the ability for the reaction to proceed, but I will get back to you on that. The best advice if you fall in this category is to avoid oaked wine and wine which has spent a lot of time on skins.

Refining Products

Common refining products for wine are egg and milk. If you have an allergy to either of these products then the only solution is to avoid all wines with the product mentioned on the label. Due to allergic reaction is it a requirement for Australian wines to label if these products are used, so don’t be afraid to have a look at the back label.

Also if you are vegan than wines that uses refining products such as egg whites and milk are to be avoided. Yalumba Y Series is one range which I know is vegan friendly however there are many other on the market.

Yeast

Yeast allergies are noticeable when you feel fatigued after a glass of wine (or beer). Yeast allergies occur when the yeast is still alive in the wine and it is consumed by someone who is allergic to it. There is no solution to remove all traces of yeast from wine. Best solution is to avoid all drinks that use yeast in fermentation.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Wine Preservatives – Sulphides

Hey everyone,

Sorry for such a late and short post; I was without internet yesterday so it was hard to get the research done for this post. Just a quick intro into Sulphur Dioxide as a preservative and trying to demystify it. Preservatives are used to preserve the wines for transportation as well as shelf life, the preservatives do so by reducing spoilage of the wine through oxidisation and wild yeast continuing fermentation. The most commonly used additional preservative in Australian wine is Sulphur Dioxide/Preservative 220, however there is a few others which are also used less commonly.

Wine is alreay preserved by the acid, alcohol and tannins present in the wine. White wine lacks tannins and therefore looses out on it’s preserving features, the upside to this is that white wine often needs to be drunk in the short-term for the freshness of wine is a key part of a good white wine. While some white wines can be cellared for an extended period of time these wines are often higher in fruit flavour and often oaked. Preservation is also dependant upon many features of the wine from for example the grapes, alcohol, tannin and acid content, as well as the device in which wine is stored and it’s permeability.

Some people react badly to the sulphides or preservatives used in winemaking. There are products on the market which will release the sulphides from the wine such as SO2GO and pure wine, these are basically diluted hydrogen-peroxide aka bleach. I personally am not a fan of these additives as have studied chemistry in the past along with having bleached my hair the thought of adding hydrogen-peroxide even in a diluted form to my wine seems not only a sin but also not the smartest thing to do.

Sulphides however tend to me more present in white wine than red wine so when people say they are allergic to the sulphides in red wine they are more likely reacting to phenolics. I will put up a post in the future on phenolics as red wine allergies seem to be a common problem for many people I know and even I have from time to time felt a little rotten a while after a glass of red wine.

Until next time!