Saturday, November 5, 2011

Get Wine Educated

I don't know where the old saying “ignorance is bliss” came from. I do know that in some areas of life ignorance is probably better. A great example of that is in my college days when I worked in a doughnut shop. Once you figure out what goes into an apple fritter it pretty well fixes you for eating them ever again. I'm sure the same goes for working in a hot dog plant.

On the other hand, working around wine, and the education involved in making, selling, and enjoying wine has yet to produce a “yuck” result in my life. Actually, quite the opposite. Every time I learn a little more about the wine business I get that much more excited and can't wait to taste what I've learned.

It seems that everywhere you go in the wine industry education follows. However, the following are some of my favorite ways that I've ever learned about the enjoyment of wine:

First, one of the best ways that I can image to learn about wine is right where it is made. I have been very lucky these past few years to have several long-lasting relationships with highly talented winemakers who have been more than happy to share their craft with me. I'm sure they wouldn't have been so open with their information had I been a competitor, but as a customer and writer of wine they have been fantastic teachers.

Actually spending time with an experienced winemaker can change your entire experience of wine. I can tell you that my palate changes all came from time spent with winemakers.

The second way that I highly suggest getting wine education is to actually attend wine seminars. There is a fantastic one going on in the Tri-Cities this weekend. The annual Tri-Cities wine festival is November 4th and 5th this year, with a huge tasting event, seminars, and a gala event that happens on the 5th. You can find out more on getting to the event by going to

If you don’t want to leave Pendleton, but are still wanting to get in on wine seminars I suggest Graybeal Distributing’s Wine 101 classes. A class will be happening this Tuesday night, November 8th at their warehouse. I was honored to teach at this week’s class and was so happy to meet a handful of my readers. Hopefully they’re still my readers after having to listen to me talk for two hours.

This week’s class will be taught by the amazing Rich Marshall from Maryhill Winery. He is a fantastic speaker and entertainer in the wine business, and I know those who attend will have a great time learning about wines in general, as well as the world of Maryhill wines. Contact Deborah at 541-276-2264 if you are interested in attending a Wine 101 seminar.

My last suggestion for learning about wines is to read. You can spend a small fortune on a Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast magazine subscription, or you can go out into the bloggosphere and be pummeled with millions of wine articles that are available every day. You can read my stuff at, or for more educated reading I suggest going to Paul Gregutt writes a fantastic blog, as well as many other fantastic writers and sommeliers such as Natalie McLean.

No matter how you get your education, I know that the more you learn the more you’ll love wine.



  1. Don't forget DRINKING wine! The only way to know what a Tempranillo is like is to taste it!

  2. I agree totally with you. Back in the day I use to work at a liquor store. I was in charge of stocking the wine section, and i ended up learning so much about wine. All the different kinds, how its made, the different grapes, knowledge of a range of wineries all over the world, and most of all - how it tasted. I ended up being known as the wine guy at my store. Wine is a great business to get into, and the knowledge of all the information is worth knowing. My favorite part about working with wine was the Christmas time and there would be so many different sets of wine gifts in the store. They were worth buying.


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