Ready to take your wine knowledge to the next level? Explore SDSU

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Some of you know that I’m a graduate of the SDSU Professional Certificate in the Business of Wine.  Did you realize that you can take a variety of wine classes a la carte or work towards the certificate – now online. The tasting component is still included, and you either pick up your wines locally or have the wines shipped to you if you are not in San Diego. 

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to get ready for these classes. Instructors have pivoted to Zoom classes and modified their lesson plans. In person classes will resume in the fall, and if you are out of town, you can join virtually. It might surprise you that there can be between 400-700 two-ounce vials of wine poured at a time to get ready for classes. Some classes may taste up to 10 different wines in one class!

Exploring Wine is one of the core classes. Lisa Redwine teaches this 8 week class. Besides bringing extensive wine knowledge as an Advanced Sommelier, chef, GM and wine sales rep experience, Lisa brings her passion, energy and dedication to teaching. Buckle up – it’s a rigorous class, there’s a lot to learn, and many wines to taste.

I’ve been lucky to revisit some of these classes lately as I’ve been helping behind the scenes with the Zoom production.  I’ve noticed how energizing it is to observe the wonder and curiousity about wine production, and broadening the palate. You might even find your assumptions of wine being challenged when you experience wines you’ve not tasted before. One student in Dessert Wines was convinced she would not like the sweet wines, and delighted in finding a wine she loved! In this class you explore different styles such as, Vin de Liqueur (VDL), Vin Doux Naturels (VDN), Fortified, Late Harvest, Botrytis, Ice, and Solera. There is also a food pairing component, with the foods included if you are local, and suggestions of foods to pair if you are out of town.

Another class that I’m behind the scenes with, is Food and Wine Pairing. Pam Schwartz, a sommelier and chef teaches this class. Pam is the manager of Ranch 45, and she has extensive experience in the kitchen and in the dining room at many high end locales. Pam teaches this class from Ranch 45, and she can also quickly cook up a steak for wine pairing while on camera.

If you are wondering what makes a great wine match with your food, the Food and Wine Pairing class is the place to be. This is a two week class for a three hours each week. In the first week, there were 8 wines to taste, and a variety of foods that Pam had prepared.  A great discussion of great and not so great wine pairings had a practical tasting component by tasting each of the wines with the foods. Pam’s BBQ sauce was a real hit – especially when paired with the Syrah. Cava with the potato chips, another sublime pairing.  In the second half of the class, participants paired a variety of food with four types of wines, then scored their pairings from best to worst. This was a really fun exercise and Pam was able to drop into each breakout room to provide guidance.

There are many other classes over the summer and some of the fall classes will be a hybrid of in person and virtual. I encourage you to explore the many different SDSU wine education offerings!