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    Wine Personalities

    The republic of Georgia sits in the shadow of the Caucasus mountains, bridging east and west. No other country in the world has 8,000 years of documented wine consumption, and no other country has such an unbroken tradition of making wine in the buried clay vessels known as qvevri – a tradition that we know is at least 6,000 years old.

    What does this unique country, with its own peculiar language, script and culture, have to offer modern wine lovers?

    We’ll start by covering Georgia’s turbulent history, as it emerged from the iron grasp of the USSR in 1991 and joined the modern world. Even though it continued to supply Russia’s favoured semi-sweet wines, it’s Georgia’s ancestral winemaking tradition of making wine in qvevri that has turned out to be its USP in the 21st century.

    We’ll talk about the qvevri winemaking technique, and the extraordinary “amber wine” style which results when white grapes are used. Georgia is truly the birthplace of orange wine, as we now know it. We’ll cover Georgia’s unusual grape varieties, almost none of which have travelled further than its neighbours. Ever heard of Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane or Chitishtvala?

    Georgia has also adopted western winemaking techniques, and we’ll talk a bit about the differences between Georgia’s modern winemaking and its ancestral styles.

    No discussion of Georgian wine is complete without some consideration of its cuisine, and some thoughts about how you can best serve and enjoy Georgian wines at home.

    Presenter: Simon J Woolf

    Simon J Woolf is an award-winning English wine and drinks writer, currently based in The Netherlands.

    An acknowledged expect on the developing niche of natural wine, he contributes regularly to Decanter magazine, Meininger’s Wine Business International, World of Fine Wine and Noble Rot, and many other publications. Simon is the editor of The Morning Claret, an online wine magazine which specialises in natural, biodynamic, organic and orange wine.

    Simon's first book "Amber Revolution - How the world learned to love orange wine" was published in 2018, and won the Roederer Wine book of the year award in 2019. Simon has also won numerous awards for his magazine features and online columns. He is currently shortlisted for a Roederer interntional wine columnist award in 2020.

    Simon travels regularly to countries such as Georgia, Slovenia, Italy and Portugal, where he continues to research the stories and traditions behind artisan winemaking.
    Simon is also active as an editor, wine judge and translator.

    WSG members enjoy a discount on Simon's book "Amber Revolution"! Get your coupon code HERE

    Published in Member Webinars

    Wine has, since it’s discovery in Neolithic times, been one of the most powerful tools at human disposal for alleviating physical and emotional suffering. It is no surprise that wine has also historically been one of Western Civilizations most important trade commodities, a driving force of culture, politics, war, art, and spirituality. It is therefore only natural that gender politics would play a huge role in the history of such a powerful commodity.

    This master class will explore the roles and contributions of women in the wine trade from antiquity to present, the systematic political and social obstacles faced by women, and how women have overcome to make significant and meaningful contributions. Through examining history and the structural framework of our society we can be guided into a more vibrant and inclusive present and future for women in wine!

    Presenter: Tanya Morning Star Darling

    Tanya Morning Star Darling is a full time wine educator with nearly 3 decades of industry experience. Her school Cellar Muse is the approved program provider for Wine Scholar Certifications (French, Italian, and Spanish) in the Seattle area. She also teaches WSET coursework, and is Faculty at the Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle College.

    Tanya has a background in art history and history of the theater through her undergraduate work at the Sorbonne and New York University. Tanya has always sought to find deeper context and meaning through her work, and to connect her work in wine to her passion for culture, food, and storytelling. Studying history has always been a natural extension of those pursuits and her personal passion.

    Since 2012, Tanya has been a professor of Wine History at South Seattle College, where she developed two, three-credit college courses collectively covering the history of wine from Antiquity to the Modern Age. Through developing and teaching these courses over the years, Tanya became acutely aware of the greater politics of gender inequity in Western Civilization as it plays out in the story of wine. She also became keen on understanding the systemic nature of exclusion towards women in the world of wine, and deeply drawn towards the amazing stories of Women’s successes, triumphs, and contributions throughout wine history. This lecture represents some of the highlights of this journey.

    Published in Wine Personalities

    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.

    Published in Spanish Wine 101
    Thursday, 08 December 2016 09:52

    Champagne & War with Don & Petie Kladstrup

    It's been said that Champagne has been the site of more bloody battles and large-scale wars than any other place on earth. 

    From the time of Attila the Hun to the Germans in World War II, countless invaders have tried to conquer this strife-torn land.  Yet, somehow it managed to become the birthplace of the world's most beloved wine. 

    On December 7, Don and Petie Kladstrup will show how this sparkling wine, born of bloodshed, became the symbol of glamour, good times and celebration.

    It is a story filled with larger-than-life characters: Dom Perignon, the father of champagne, who, contrary to popular belief, worked his entire life to keep bubbles out of champagne; the Sun King, Louis XIV, who rarely drank anything else; and Napoleon, who, in trying to conquer the world, introduced it to champagne.

    Presenters: Don & Petie Kladstrup

    Don and Petie Kladstrup are former journalists who have written extensively about wine and France for numerous publications.

    Don, a winner of three Emmys and numerous other awards, was a foreign correspondent for ABC and CBS television news.

    Petie, an Overseas Press Club winner, was a newspaper journalist and more recently protocol officer for the U.S. ambassador to UNESCO.

    The Kladstrups divide their time between Paris and Normandy.

    Learn more about Champagne with the Champagne Master Level Program and embark on a Champagne Wine immersion trip.

    Published in Wine Personalities
    Wednesday, 18 May 2016 00:00

    Wine & War with Don & Petie Kladstrup

    In their book, Wine & War: The French, the Nazis and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure, husband-and-wife journalists, Don and Petie Kladstrup, recount the dangerous and daring exploits of those who fought to keep France's greatest treasure – aka wine – out of the hands of the Nazis.

    The two authors will join us live to share the stories of these heroic men and women who fought to preserve their vinous heritage as well as answer questions about the book and their craft.

    Presenters: Don and Petie Kladstrup   

    Don and Petie Kladstrup are former journalists who have written extensively about wine and France for numerous publications.

    Don, a winner of three Emmys and numerous other awards, was a foreign correspondent for ABC and CBS television news.

    Petie, an Overseas Press Club winner, was a newspaper journalist and more recently protocol officer for the U.S. ambassador to UNESCO. The Kladstrups divide their time between Paris and Normandy.

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

    Published in Wine Personalities

    Paul Wagner has always believed that wine is much more effectively understood as a product of culture than of geology, and nowhere is this more accurate than in the vast cultural landscape that is Italy.

    Standing the traditional organoleptic tasting order on its head, Paul will lead us on a tour of Italian wine through the lenses of history, society, and culture.  He will trace the influences that have washed over Italy and its wines for more than three thousand years, and provide participants with a creative and entertaining way to teach about Italian wine.

    Want to master the wines of Italy? Sign up for our Italian Wine Scholar program.

    Presenter: Paul Wagner

    Paul Wagner formed Balzac Communications & Marketing on April Fools’ Day, and for good reason. He wanted to have fun in the wine business. And while his clients include a broad range of national and international companies and organizations, he’s never lost sight of the fun.

    He’s an instructor for Napa Valley College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is a guest lecturer at universities famous throughout the world—known both for his lectures on wine and wine marketing and his enormous repertoire of bad jokes. But he does know a thing or two about wine and marketing.

    He co-authored a book: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market that won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book of the year for professionals. And it sold out in three years, so they released a second edition in 2011. So there.

    Paull is also hosting a podcast on wine with Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio: BOTTLE TALK WITH RICK & PAUL

    Paul is a founding member of the Academy of Wine Communications, a member of the nominations committee of the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Spadarini della Castellania di Soave in 2005. And in 2009 he was honored with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN) in Spain. While he was still alive. Go figure.

    Learn more about Italian Wines:

    Published in Italian Wine 101

    While any presentation on wine will focus on regional differences, wine is a product of culture, more than it is of geology.

    Exploring the world of French wine through the lenses of history, culture, and sociology, Paul Wagner traces the role that they have played in creating the Wines of France we know today and provides participants with a creative and entertaining way to teach about French wine.

    Presenter: Paul Wagner

    Paul Wagner formed Balzac Communications & Marketing on April Fools’ Day, and for good reason. He wanted to have fun in the wine business. And while his clients include a broad range of national and international companies and organizations, he’s never lost sight of the fun.

    He’s an instructor for Napa Valley College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is a guest lecturer at universities famous throughout the world—known both for his lectures on wine and wine marketing and his enormous repertoire of bad jokes. But he does know a thing or two about wine and marketing.

    He co-authored a book: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market that won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book of the year for professionals. And it sold out in three years, so they released a second edition in 2011. So there.

    Paull is also hosting a podcast on wine with Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio: BOTTLE TALK WITH RICK & PAUL

    Paul is a founding member of the Academy of Wine Communications, a member of the nominations committee of the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Spadarini della Castellania di Soave in 2005. And in 2009 he was honored with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN) in Spain. While he was still alive. Go figure.

    Learn about the complex and fascinating wine regions of France with the French Wine Scholar study and certification program.

    Published in French Wine 101

    Delve into Bordeaux with the insight of Bordeaux experts and masterful instructors..sign up for the Bordeaux Master-Level program and Bordeaux Study Trips. Learn more about French wines with the French Wine Scholar study & certification program.

    Published in Bordeaux wines
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