Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wine Wednesday: Educate Your Wine Mind Edition

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 5:25 AM

Wine is one of those things that it's possible to never stop learning about. Like Philosophy 101 except you get to drink in class. Whether you're studying for your Master Sommelier certificate or don't know Shiraz from Shinola, there are plenty of opportunities around town for you further your oenophilia.

Collin Husbands is the former executive director of Nashville's premier wine auction, l'Eté du Vin, so you know that he knows his way around a wine cellar. His latest venture is a website called The site seeks to demystify wine and provide opportunities to learn through blog posts and tasting events. Above all, Husbands wants to spread the word that wine can be enjoyed and discussed without necessarily being a snob about the process.

His archetypical wine lover is the fictional "Jane," whom he describes as "someone who believes a standard bottle of wine consists of two servings instead of eight. A person who brings to the table life, energy and a belief that the glass is always half empty ... and should be filled again!" I could party with Jane. will also give advice about hard-to-find wines and offer them for sale on the site. Members can sign up for a quarterly wine club that that will deliver some of their recommendations right to your door. Three different levels of participation are available depending on how much you want to pay and how many bottles you want the FedEx man to drag up your steps. The site went live just this month, so you can still sign up as an early adopter.

Speaking of l'Eté du Vin, they just announced that two new staffers will replace Husbands as co-executive directors to provide the leadership for the 30-year-old organization. Holly Whaley and Tom Laffey have been longtime volunteers for l'Eté du Vin and will be in charge of organization, event planning, volunteer coordination and communications for the auction. You may recognize Laffey's name from previously on Bites — Carrington has written about him as the entrepreneur behind Tilted Palm Beverages, where he produced premium mixer products including 19th Hole Bloody Mary Mix and Ultimate Tailgater Bloody Mary Mix. Plus, he's just a great guy and I'm sure that he and Holly will do a super job for l'Eté du Vin.

You'll certainly hear more about the event here, but go ahead and mark your calendar for this year’s auction, which will take place Saturday, July 16, at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. The evening will begin with a formal educational wine tasting, followed by silent then live auctions, a seated dinner and a late party with dancing and dessert buffets. For more information visit

Finally, an announcement showed up in my inbox this week announcing the introduction of the Nashville Professional Wine Academy. The brainchild of Village Wine purveyor Hoyt Hill and F. Scott's sommelier Elise Loehr, the academy will be more of a graduate level program compared to some of the less formal wine classes you might be used to.

Classes will be held weekly with professors Hill and Loehr from 3 to 4 p.m. Sundays at F. Scott's beginning this weekend, March 20, and will feature guest lecturers on a regular basis. Each week, the program will focus on wines from a single region or grape variety and will center around blind tasting, with 10 to 12 wines each week.

If you are interested in how to properly store and present fine wines like a pro, there will also be a service issue addressed each week. The cost is $20 per class per person, or you can buy classes in bulk for a discount.

$175 to pre-enroll for 10 classes
$325 to pre-enroll for 20 classes
$600 to pre-enroll for 40 classes

Here is the extensive class schedule in case you want to plan ahead:

Intro week - the world of wines (1 each Sauv Blanc, Chard, Riesling, Gruner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet)

Week 1 - Sparkling wines
Week 2 - Riesling
Week 3 - Sauvignon Blanc
Week 4 - Chardonnay
Week 5 - Other whites
Week 6 - Roses
Week 7 - Pinot Noir
Week 8 - Merlot
Week 9 - Syrah/Shiraz
Week 10 - Cabernet Sauvignon
Week 11 - Other reds
Week 12 - Germany
Week 13 - Austria
Week 14 - Alsace
Week 15 - Champagne
Week 16 - Loire
Week 17 - Burgundy
Week 18 - Bordeaux
Week 19 - Rhone and Provence
Week 20 - Other French
Week 21 - Piedmont
Week 22 - Tuscany
Week 23 - southern Italy
Week 24 - Other Italian
Week 25 - Rioja and Priorat
Week 26 - Other Spanish
Week 27 - Port
Week 28 - Other Portuguese
Week 29 - Sherry and Madeira
Week 30 - Hungary
Week 31 - South Africa
Week 32 - Australian whites
Week 33 - Australian reds
Week 34 - New Zealand and Tasmania
Week 35 - Chile
Week 36 - Argentina
Week 37 - California Whites
Week 38 - California Reds
Week 39 - Oregon
Week 40 - Washington State
Week 41 - New York State
Week 42 - Canada

Call Hoyt at 383-2102 for more information.

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