Senior HRIM student Morgan Charde assists with the Wine Education Seminar Series.

World of wine

First wine education seminar of series introduces UD community to European wines


11:49 a.m., May 8, 2015--In Burgundy, France, wine growers’ entire plots can be as small as two rows of vines, and some families have been growing wine in the same place for 14 generations. In regions of Germany, wine grapes freeze on the vine before they’re harvested. And never spill Sagrantino on your shirt; its pigment is the most difficult to remove.

Blue Hens learned intriguing facts like these and tasted their way through the world of European wine during the first seminar of the University of Delaware’s Wine Education Seminar Series.

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UD alumni and wine industry experts Michelle Souza and Paul Rizzo of Southern Wine and Sprits of Delaware led the group through a tasting of 14 wines from Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

“Our heart and our passion are in education, traveling and learning about wine,” Souza said.

Participants learned the histories and specialties of famous wine regions across Europe as well as the five S’s of wine tasting: see, swirl, sniff, sip and savor. The class then worked together to describe each wine by its unique characteristics.

For example, while the 2013 Chateau Bellevue Entre de Mur Blanc had a lemon scent with a pale, straw-like color and a light body, the 2013 Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuissé smelled like hazelnut and oak, with a more full-bodied flavor that lingered on the pallette.

This tasting, said Souza, gave attendees the opportunity to taste “some of the greatest chardonnay in the world.”

The group tasted Bordeaux, Beaujolais and Burgundy from France, pinot grigio and lambrusco from Italy, and many others.

Souza said that the Don Olegario albariño, which the class tasted during its discussion of Spain, evokes “the green part of Spain, the beauty of that sea.”

The class also sampled cheese, meat and crackers throughout the evening in order to understand food and wine pairings. 

Participants included a wide variety of campus community members, from UD marketing instructor Sandra Fields, whose six months spent working in Italy left her interested in learning more about wine, to those who live in the neighborhoods around the University and decided to give the course a try. 

Senior UD hotel, restaurant and institutional management (HRIM) students Joe Bruno and Morgan Charde also assisted with the lesson, having spent last semester as part of the first class of UD students to earn their introductory sommelier course certifications.

Charde taught a brief lesson on Alsace, France, her “all-time favorite region,” which she called “absolutely fascinating and beautiful.” 

She also discussed German wine, including the intricate design of German wine bottles, and guided the class through tasting a sweet, clear-colored riesling.

Bruno led the discussion of Chianti, a favorite wine of his, describing its distinctive smell of cherries, plums and violets. 

“The passion the youth has for knowledge is unbelievable,” Souza said of her experience working with Charde and Bruno, adding that she was impressed by “how much they look at wine as a business, as a subject, as a passion and as a lifestyle.”

“It just opens up the doors,” Souza continued. As alumni, she said, helping participants to realize this potential is “something we feel very strongly about,”

Rizzo agreed, explaining that those who study wine have “a lot to offer” in a world where wine education is becoming a more accessible and significant part of hospitality culture.

“They can talk in all the terms they need,” he said.

The dates of the next seminars in the Wine Education Seminar Series will be:

  • Monday, May 11 – Wines from North America, including California, Washington, Oregon, New York and Canada
  • Monday, May 18 – Wines from the New World, including Australia, New Zealand and South America

Click here to register for one or more of the wine education seminars. 

Each seminar runs from 6-9 p.m. in Vita Nova’s Wine Education Classroom at 206 Trabant University Center. Participants must be 21 years of age or older to register.

The HRIM department will also host the Vita Nova Wine Education Dinner on Thursday, May 14, at 6 p.m., featuring the restaurant’s gourmet dishes paired with complimenting wines. Funds from the dinner will support wine education in the HRIM department.

Register for the Vita Nova Wine Education Dinner here

Article by Sunny Rosen

Photos by Evan Krape

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