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The Mountain Winery University

An educational series, led by sommelier Juli DeAngelo...

MWU was developed in 2011 because our Sommeliers believed that there was a thirst for educational wine courses in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The concept has been met with the support of the local wine community, and we now host more than 10 courses a year. Below is a description of a few of the classes we have had in the past and plan to offer again in the future. Please feel free to contact us with questions regarding the course schedule, comments on your experience, or suggestions for future course content! We look forward to seeing you in the classroom.

 

The Mountain Winery University - Wine Tasting Basics: See, Sniff, Sip, Sense

Learn how to taste wine like Sommeliers do!

In less than two hours, students will learn a four-step approach to wine tasting. At the end of the course, they will know how to evaluate a wine based on its sight (SEE), aromas (SNIFF), flavors (SIP), and structure (SENSE). Students will also be given an introduction on how to identify wines in a blind tasting. They will test these newly acquired abilities on a flight of The Mountain Winery wine.

Course Outline:

  1. Presentation of tasting technique with interactive tasting of one Mountain Winery wine
  2. Exercise in tasting one Mountain Winery wine individually, applying the technique
  3. Blind Tasting of two Mountain Winery wines
  4. Discussion of the Blind Tasting

Recommended Prerequisite: Love of The Mountain Winery wines!
Duration: 1.75 Hours
Includes: a flight of four Mountain Winery wines and Class Handouts

The Mountain Winery University - Component Tasting

Students who have mastered Wine Tasting Basics are ready to delve deeper into wine evaluation.  In this highly interactive course, students will be given samples of herbs, fruits, and spices which will help them identify aromas and flavors present in the wines provided.  In addition, students will taste and discuss wines that are “spiked” with higher levels of acidity, tannin, and sweetness, and in doing so will learn to isolate these structural components.

Course Outline:

  1. Review aromas and flavors found in wine and their origins (grape characteristics, oak, etc.)
  2. Explanation on assessing a wine’s structure
  3. Instructions for Component Tasting
  4. Component Tasting Activity
  5. Discussion of the Component Tasting

Recommended Prerequisite: Wine Tasting Basics
Duration: 1.75 Hours
Includes: a flight of The Mountain Winery wines and course handouts

Exploring Pinot Noir

In this two hour class, students will sample and evaluate 5 different Pinot Noirs using the four-step approach to wine tasting - sight (SEE), aromas (SMELL), flavors (SIP), and structure (SENSE).

Students will be given an introduction on developing their individual markers for Pinot Noirs from different appellations.

 

Course Outline:

  1. Discussion about appellations. Why it is unique in wine making and viticulture?
  2. Introduction and history of the 5 distinctive AVAs.
  3. Examine the specific growing areas and suitable climates.
  4. Presentation of tasting techniques with an interactive, guided tasting of five Pinots.
  5. Exploration of the wines utilizing SEE, SMELL, SIP & SENSE.
  6. Discussion and assessment of the uniqueness of each wine and winemaker styles.
  7. Discussion of the developing markers for the varietal.

 

Recommended Prerequisite: Wine Tasting Basics or Discovering Zinfandel
Duration: 2 Hours
Includes: a flight of five Appellation Specific Pinot Noirs and Class Handouts

Wine & Sicilian Pizza Pairing

In this two-hour session, you will experience the basics of wine tasting coupled with pairing fresh traditional ingredients. We will introduce you to common varietals paired with rustic, authentic Sicilian pizzas or Schiacciata (skee-ah-cha-tah). A fun, social Sunday afternoon class where you discover what works and what doesn't (and why) through tasting and discussion, when it comes to wine pairings.

This class is perfect for inspiring the at-home entertainer's next dinner party or toasting a low-key Sunday.

 

Recommended Prerequisite: None
Duration: 2 Hours
Includes: 5 Mountain Winery Wines, 5 portions of rustic Sicilian Pizza
 

Exploring Sauvignon Blancs

In this two hour class, students will sample and evaluate 5 different Sauvignon Blancs using the four-step approach to wine tasting - sight (SEE), aromas (SMELL), flavors (SIP), and structure (SENSE).

Students will be given an introduction on developing their individual markers for Sauvignon Blancs from different appellations.

Course Outline:

  1. Discussion about appellations. Why it is unique in wine making and viticulture?
  2. Introduction and history of the 5 distinctive AVAs.
  3. Examine the specific growing areas and suitable climates.
  4. Presentation of tasting techniques with an interactive, guided tasting of five Sauvignon Blancs.
  5. Exploration of the wines utilizing SEE, SMELL, SIP & SENSE.
  6. Discussion and assessment of the uniqueness of each wine and winemaker styles.
  7. Discussion of the developing markers for the varietal.

Recommended Prerequisite: Wine Tasting Basics, Discovering Zinfandel or Discovering Pinot Noir
Duration: 2 Hours
Includes: a flight of five Appellation Specific Sauvignon Blancs and Class Handouts

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“I drink my own wine because it’s good! It’s good because it comes from these grapes, from this soil and because I know what I’m doing!”
- 1917, Paul Masson Founder

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