Napa School




I had one other really awesome volunteer experience this week, and this one involved quite a bit of wine. Wine just makes everything better.

You might recall that a while back our class had our Wine Day -- the one day of the program dedicated to wines and wine pairings. I so wish it was a bigger component, however, I thought it was a great lecture. A few of us that are particularly interested in pairings were so enjoyed Chef Annette Tomei’s lecture that we went up to her right after class and basically begged to be allowed to volunteer with her.

I have now had that pleasure a couple of times, but Tuesday night was particularly cool because it was volunteering for one of her amateur wine classes. Which basically meant I got to take the class, I just also had to pour wine and serve some food.

This class was on the Wines of Napa Valley and the area's history. For those of you who've seen Bottle Shock, you might remember the Judgment of Paris that put Napa on the world wine map. This class delved into that history, among other things, and students got to drink wines from several of the wineries discussed—including a Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena, so you can pretend yourself at that famous tasting in Paris. For those of you who haven't seen Bottle Shock, I recommend checking it out if you’re interested in American wine history. It's a cute flick and apparently a pretty good representation of the events.


If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of wine, FCI has a pretty good slate of classes at different levels. I can’t speak to the other wine instructors, although I would guess that they’re also great, but I can highly recommend Chef Annette as a lecturer. She’s highly knowledgeable about wine and lived and worked in Napa for many years, and so knew this particular subject matter intimately. Despite all of that, she takes a pretty laid back approach to wine that is not at all stuffy and she’s a very engaging lecturer.

If you’re feeling ready to make to an investment in your wine education, there is a Fundamentals of Wine weekend intensive course at FCI coming up in November that Chef will be teaching.  That one is a bit pricey, but they also have courses throughout the year, like this one, that require a smaller financial commitment. In addition to trying a lovely slate of wines, students were also served three small course of delicious food to pair with the wines.

If you want to dabble at home, it would be fun to transport yourself to Napa by setting up a tasting of bottles from the area.  We poured wines from these wineries:



Greg and I will be heading to the Bay Area over Thanksgiving weekend. I’m really hoping we can get in a bit of wine tasting on the trip.

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