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    Blog

    A Short History of Spain in 9 Glasses of Wine with Paul Wagner

    Most wine presentations focus on viticulture and enology, but wine is a product of local and regional culture far more than it is of geology and climate.

    Exploring the world of Spanish wine through the lenses of the country’s history and culture, Paul Wagner traces the roots of the wines that we drink today to the key historical elements that make Spain one of the most fascinating cultures in Europe. 

    In the end, you will understand far more about Spanish wine that you can glean from a discussion of rocks and rainfall, and you will have a new vision of how to talk, and teach, about wine.

    Presenter: Paul Wagner

    Paul Wagner studied sociology and education at U. C. Santa Cruz and classical guitar at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Seville, Spain. 

    He has been an instructor for Napa Valley College's Viticulture and Enology department for the past twenty-five years.  He is also a guest lecturer at many universities, including the Wine Tourism MBA program through the universities of Bordeaux, Porto, and Rovira Virgili, and has spoken at more than eighty conferences throughout the world on wine, wine tourism, wine education, public affairs, and wine marketing.

    With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, he authored a book:  Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, which won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book of the year for professionals. A second edition of that work was published in 2011, and a third edition will appear this year.  His second book:  Artisan Public Relations, is due to be published in 2019, and a third book, Wine Sales and Distribution, with John Crotts and Byron Marlowe, will be published in 2019 by Rowman and Littlefield.  He was a columnist for Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine for ten years, and served on the board of directors of the Society of Wine Educators for many years.  With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, he hosts “Bottle Talk” at http://www.rickandpaulwine.com/ a weekly conversation about wine. 

    Paul Wagner has judged more than 100 international wine competitions, is a founding member of the Academy of Wine Communications, a consultant for the International Wine and Food Society in London, a member of the nominations committee of the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame, and a member of the Wine Marketing and Tourism Conference Advisory Board. He was inducted into the Spadarini della Castellania di Soave in 2005.  In 2009 he was honored with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN) in Spain, and in 2018 was given the American Wine Society’s annual Award of Merit, joining such luminaries as Robert Mondavi and Gina Gallo, as well as named the winner of the McPherson Distinguished Teacher Award at Napa Valley College.

    Mr. Wagner founded Balzac Communications & Marketing on April 1, 1991.  His clients there included the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, Caymus Vineyards, Seagram Chateau and Estate Wines, Consorzio di Chianti Classico, Furmint USA, La Rioja Alta A.S., Constellation Wines, Sogevinus of Portugal, Bodegas Salentein, Villa Trasqua, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Regione Siclia, and a host of other wine, food, and regional tourism clients.  He is now retired from active duty at the agency, and enjoys the title of President Emeritus there.

    Read more...

    The Ten Best Spanish Red Wines: A Beginner’s Guide

    Spanish red wines get a lot of press for being good values, but shopping in the Spanish wine aisle can be as daunting if you aren’t sure what grows where within the world of Spanish wines.

    Many of Spain’s best red wines are labeled with the name of the wine appellation, rarely by grape variety. At its most simplistic, Spain can be divided into three “bands” for red grape varieties and wines. The Tempranillo grape variety excels in wines from central and northern Spain, Garnacha in wines from northeastern Spain and Monastrell in southeastern Spanish wines.

    If you’ve ever felt completely overwhelmed while browsing an Spanish wine section, knowing just a few key wine names will help keep your shopping trip focused and ensure that you have the perfect wine to drink at a moment’s notice.

    Read more...

    Hola Spain’s Great Match NYC!

    Rick Fisher, our Spanish Wine Scholar Program™ Developer, recently returned from New York City where he was attending the 24th annual Spain’s Great Match, the nation's leading Spanish wine event organized by the Trade Commission of Spain in conjunction with Wines From Spain.

    Read more...

    The Wines of Rioja with Sarah Jane Evans MW

    Rioja: Transforming Traditions in the Heart of Spain

    Rioja is the home of Spain's original fine wine: the Gran Reservas. These Tempranillo-based wines, aged in American oak casks, yield ethereal cherry-and-vanilla reds. Master of Wine Sarah Jane Evans, recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from Wines of Rioja, will provide an introduction to the region, its grape varieties and winemaking styles and discuss the key trends of the 21st century. Join us to find out how tradition is in transition in Rioja.

    Presenter: Sarah Jane Evans:

    An award-winning wine-writer and journalist.

    Accolades include:

    • Spanish Wines Communicator of the Year 2013, 2015
    • Wines of Rioja Outstanding Contribution Award 2015
    • Member, Gran Orden de Caballeros de Vino
    • Dama de Albariño
    • Dama de Solear

    In addition

    • Joint-Chairman for Spain and Sherry at the Decanter World Wine Awards, the world’s largest wine awards
    • Former Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, 2014-2016
    • Certified Sherry Educator, 2007
    • Passed Master of Wine exams 2006. Wrote dissertation on the Almacenista producers of Jerez. Won Robert Mondavi Winery prize for highest marks in the theory papers and dissertation.
    • Freixenet Scholarship for the highest marks on Spain in the WSET Diploma
    • President of the Guild of Food Writers, 1998-2002
    • Associate Editor, BBC Good Food magazine 1992-2004

    Sarah Jane lived and worked in Spain in the period between school and starting to study at Cambridge University, and that was when her life-long love of Spain began.  In 1992, to coincide with Expo ’92, she wrote Seville, a history of the city. Every year she writes the Spanish and Sherry sections of the Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Book, and writes for a wide range of trade and consumer publications.

    Today Sarah Jane travels widely to consult at wineries, judge at wine shows, speak at conferences. In Spain she has been a guest speaker at San Sebastian Gastronomika, Fenavin, Vinoble; and is the keynote speaker at the 3rd Wine & Culinary International Forum run by Torres in Barcelona this weekend. She lives in London, and hosts tastings of Spanish wines for consumers as well as students and corporate clients.

    She has a strong interest in taste and flavour and in giving consumers the confidence to make their own choices. She is a founder member of the Academy of Chocolate, founded to promote fine chocolate, and finds that through carefully planned wine tastings, consumers can come to learn how to describe and enjoy flavours in wine.  She’s the author of Chocolate Unwrapped: Taste and Enjoy the World’s Finest Chocolate.

    Read more...

    The Key Red Grapes of Spain with Lucas Payà

    Synopsis of Webinar:

    Tour through Spain’s greatest red grape varieties and the most important wines they produce. This webinar will present several wines from Spain’s most iconic vineyards, along with their history, terroir, viticulture, vinification and taste profile, and the cultural connection with their regions.

    Presenter: Lucas Payà

    Lucas Payà currently works as an independent consultant for several quality firms within the wine, beverage, and gastronomy industries.

    For five years, Lucas served as sommelier for acclaimed chef Ferran Adrià’s highly esteemed restaurant elBulli, in Catalonia, Spain, with a wine inventory of over $2M. Between 2002 and 2007, he was employed as one
    of the restaurant's two sommeliers / wine buyers [working under Juli
    Soler's direction] and, one of the core team of fewer than a dozen who stayed on and worked throughout the winter too. During that period of time elBulli's wine list doubled its offerings.

    Most recently, he worked as the wine & beverage director for José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup (TFG), where he oversaw the wine and beverage programs for all fifteen TFG restaurants in the U.S. and internationally. His involvement in the design and development of these unique beverage programs also marked the expansion of TFG restaurants outside the DC area.


    Prior to working for TFG, he represented and promoted a number of top-tier wineries from Spain in the U.S. wine market, and was a collaborator in
    Eric Solomon’s prestigious wine importing company.

    In his early years in the industry, he worked as sommelier for the Spoon+ concept by chef Alain Ducasse in London. 

    Lucas is a member of the respected L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne and a Certified Sherry Educator. His expertise on wine and beverages has appeared in multiple publications such as Wines from Spain News, The Boston Globe, El Mundo, Verema, Expansion, LA Times Magazine, Gayot,
    Angeleno, Gourmet, The Tasting Panel, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Somm Journal, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator and Punch, among others. Lucas has been invited to take part in numerous international wine events and seminars. He has
    visited many wine regions in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the US, Canada, South Africa, Mexico and others, as a guest taster and buyer.

    Learn more about Spanish wines with the Spanish Wine Scholar study & certification program.

    Read more...

    The Key White Grapes of Spain with Sommelier Lucas Paya

    Synopsis of Webinar:

    Tour through Spain’s greatest white grape varieties and the most important wines they produce. This webinar will present several wines from Spain’s most iconic vineyards, along with their history, terroir, viticulture, vinification and taste profile, and the cultural connection with their regions.

    Presenter: Lucas Payà

    Lucas Payà currently works as an independent consultant for several quality firms within the wine, beverage, and gastronomy industries.

    For five years, Lucas served as sommelier for acclaimed chef Ferran Adrià’s highly esteemed restaurant elBulli, in Catalonia, Spain, with a wine inventory of over $2M. Between 2002 and 2007, he was employed as one
    of the restaurant's two sommeliers / wine buyers [working under Juli
    Soler's direction] and, one of the core team of fewer than a dozen who stayed on and worked throughout the winter too. During that period of time elBulli's wine list doubled its offerings.

    Most recently, he worked as the wine & beverage director for José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup (TFG), where he oversaw the wine and beverage programs for all fifteen TFG restaurants in the U.S. and internationally. His involvement in the design and development of these unique beverage programs also marked the expansion of TFG restaurants outside the DC area.


    Prior to working for TFG, he represented and promoted a number of top-tier wineries from Spain in the U.S. wine market, and was a collaborator in
    Eric Solomon’s prestigious wine importing company.

    In his early years in the industry, he worked as sommelier for the Spoon+ concept by chef Alain Ducasse in London. 

    Lucas is a member of the respected L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne and a Certified Sherry Educator. His expertise on wine and beverages has appeared in multiple publications such as Wines from Spain News, The Boston Globe, El Mundo, Verema, Expansion, LA Times Magazine, Gayot,
    Angeleno, Gourmet, The Tasting Panel, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Somm Journal, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator and Punch, among others. Lucas has been invited to take part in numerous international wine events and seminars. He has
    visited many wine regions in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the US, Canada, South Africa, Mexico and others, as a guest taster and buyer.

    Learn more about Spanish wines with the Spanish Wine Scholar study & certification program

    Read more...

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