I am pretty new to the wine game and have started a cellar, which now contains about 100 bottles. I find myself addicted to buying it, the problem I am finding is that I dont know enough about it yet. I found some classes at George Brown but they are post grad certification courses. Is there anything around a little less formal. I live in Oakville but will travel anywhere in the GTA,
I took a wine appreciation course at George Brown many years ago and it was the most valuable evening course I've ever taken. It was a credit course (we wrote an exam at the end, which I passed with flying colours, ha!) but it wasn't for post-grads, lots of people were there just for personal interest. And boy was it a lot of fun. They've got a lab set up for the class with light tables and spitting sinks. Most of us hardly ever spat so I guess that's why we had so much fun. We tasted maybe up to 10 wines a class, themed by country or region. Perhaps they offer that kind of class during other times of the year.
Besides the LCBO, you might check Liaison College of Culinary Arts in Etobicoke. They occasionally offer recreational wine classes.
Mimosa offers wine classes as well, although with the focus on food pairings -
2497 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P2H6, CA
2974 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON M8V, CA
This is the Canadian organization that offers the WSET courses. IMO the best on the planet. (not to mention a lot of fun)
The Brits who designed the courses are the best wine snobs on the planet.
Mrs Scary and I took them about ten years ago. They are far better value than the very-expensive-for-what-you-get courses offered at the various wine "festivals" in the GTA.
I've taken both the professional series and the informal series of wine classes at George Brown and have found both to be top-notch. Have a closer look at GB - not all are sommelier/post-grad classes.
The Wine Basic - Host 9008 course started last night and I wanted to reassure Food4201 that it is definitely not a post-grad certification course or anything like it.
First, the facility is really nice. It's in the Hospitality building at GB, which is on Adelaide, east of Jarvis. The Wine Lab used for this course is a sparkling-clean, all white room with two tiers of benches, each seat having it's own sink for spitting, white table space and lamps. At the front there is a blackboard and two flat screen monitors that are hooked into the computer embedded in the front of the first bench.
The 3 hours (which turned into 3.5 hours as we ran late tasting) started with a mini-lecture on the history of wine, vinification, and what effects wine. Then on to tasting.
We were each poured a tasting sample of 10 different wines. This took a while, but allowed comparison of the brightness, clarity, colour, intensity, etc., of all of the wines at once. The instructor then spoke at length about how to taste wine, doing a visual, nose and palate analysis. Nine of the wines were tasted (one had a fault - it was corked) and whether to spit or to swallow was up to the individual. The wines tasted were a cava, a dry sherry, a NZ sauvignon blanc, a Chilean chardonnay, (the corked wine was an Ontario off-dry reisling), a NZ pinot noir, a Rhone Syrah, a California cabernet sauvignon, a chianti classico, and an Australian Shiraz. The value of the wines ran from about $12-$30 and the one that stood out most was the approx. $16 Chianti Classico. With each taste, the class discussed the wine - aromas, flavours, balance, whether we liked it, what we might think to pair with it, and whether we would buy it at that price point. As an aside, it's amazing what you think you can smell when someone else has remarked on it...
The class was quite informal, interactive and fun...and I have never had 10 glasses of wine sitting in front of me at one time, so it was worth it just for that:). I can't wait until next week...Loire Valley and Alsace...Wheeee!!! I will have to start sniffing things in the grocery store, as my scent repertoire is limited...
I would highly recommend this course.
(And yes, there were some people that were tipsy by the end...)
I took this class about 2 years ago and loved it. The best part about the class, well maybe 2nd best - after the wine!) was the instructor, Michel. I am thinking about taking the WInes- advanced class in April. George Brown hasn't replied to my question on who the instructor will be.
I was wondering if your instructor is Michel?
No it isn't. It's a guy named Drew Innes...I think he might have been Michael's assistant in previous courses. I can't compare him to Michael, but he certainly is enthusiastic!
I am already thinking of taking the advanced course, but I might be travelling in May...and missing a full month would be a bit of a waste...
Let me know if you do end up taking it though - I would love to ply you with questions;).