Every time you open a bottle of wine, you embark on a unique journey through a wonderful world of sensations. Yet for all its pleasures, wine can be mysterious and complex. Intriguing questions about the best wine regions, food pairing suggestions, taste profiles, storage suggestions, and more are at the heart of any enjoyable experience with wine, whether you're hosting a party, touring a vineyard, shopping for a gift, or simply having a glass with your dinner. Unlocking the secrets of wine—its varieties, its language, the ways it's made, the techniques of tasting and shopping for it—is the key to heightening your appreciation of this intense and rewarding experience.
Whether you're a novice looking to master the basics, an enthusiast who tours vineyards, or something in between, there's no better way to learn about wine than from a wine expert— someone who has an authoritative knowledge of wine in all its glorious breadth and depth. Now, The Everyday Guide to Wine brings this rare opportunity right into your home with 24 engaging lectures delivered by acclaimed Master of Wine Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan—one of only 26 Americans to hold this coveted title. In her interactive and accessible course she gives you all the knowledge and tips you need to build your understanding of—and improve your ability to try, buy, talk about, and, most of all, enjoy—the world of wine.
Become Your Own Wine Expert
Wine has been a part of human civilization for thousands of years, since the time of the ancient Egyptians. It's been used as a communal beverage, a sign of power and prestige, and even as a religious symbol. Studies show that wine also has a positive effect on your well-being; when enjoyed in moderation, wine offers benefits for cardiovascular health, longevity, stress reduction, and more.
Today, there are hundreds of millions of wine drinkers in the United States and around the world. Yet many of them say they are overwhelmed by the varieties of wine available, or they know the wines they like to drink but yearn for the opportunity to know more about them. With The Everyday Guide to Wine, you can become educated and knowledgeable about this sophisticated, increasingly popular drink.
With Ms. Simonetti-Bryan as your guide, you'll discover a wealth of insights into this delightful part of world culture and cuisine, and you'll finally be able to develop the know-how and experience to achieve your own desired level of expertise.
Master the Fundamentals of Wine
What do people mean when they describe a particular vintage as "full bodied," "dry," or "crisp"? When is a wine considered to have "good legs"? Most of us know that wine has its own language, but many of us don't know how to speak it. And learning the fundamental terms and concepts behind wine is essential to accurately describing tastes, aromas, and sensations; classifying different types of wine; and engaging more fully in the wine-drinking experience. With The Everyday Guide to Wine, you'll finally find yourself learning how to speak, or to improve the way you speak, the language of wine.
You'll also uncover the meaning behind important wine terms and concepts, including
- tannins, the chemical compound in red wines responsible for their levels of bitterness;
- terroir, the French concept than everything in a vineyard's natural environment—temperature, soil type, altitude, and more—affects the taste of its wine; and
- length, the term used to describe the amount of time a wine's flavor lasts in your mouth, with longer lengths indicating higher qualities of wine.
You'll also look behind the scenes at the process of winemaking. How do clusters of grapes on a vine become the bottles of wine you open and savor? Ms. Simonetti-Bryan's fascinating explanation of the wine-making process provides a window into different methods for making wine, as well as the role these methods play in crafting the taste of distinct wines.
Take an Interactive Taste Tour of Great Wines ...
There are literally thousands of types of wine available on the market today—a number that may seem daunting. But The Everyday Guide to Wine opens the doors wide on the world's many varieties of wine by breaking them down into five essential categories and taking you on a delightful comparative survey of their aromas, flavors, textures, and other characteristics. These varieties are
- white wines like Riesling, with its broad range of possible food pairings, and Chardonnay, whose grapes can grow almost anywhere and still retain their distinctive notes;
- red wines such as Pinot Noir, whose grapes come from the most cultivated vines in existence, and the intense, gripping Cabernet Sauvignon, made from the world's most popular grape variety;
- sparkling wines like Champagne, which, contrary to popular belief, is made only in the Champagne province of France; and Moscato d'Asti, fermented from the most aromatic grape on the planet;
- fortified wines, among them the red- and black-fruit-flavored Ruby Port and Fino Sherry, a bone-dry wine that pairs amazingly well with hors d'oeuvres; and
- dessert wines such as Sauternes, with its intense aroma of honey that works perfectly with blue cheese; and Eiswein (ice wine), made from grapes that are picked frozen solid.
Of course, anyone can lecture about these and other wines. But what makes The Everyday Guide to Wine unlike any other wine educational product available is that each discussion is enhanced with interactive tastings. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan invites you to sample wines along with her, using a prepared list of recommended wines she provides you in the course guidebook. As you taste back and forth between wines, you train your own palate to recognize subtle differences between grapes and the nuances of particular vintages, and even to identify particular types of wines—just by what you taste in the glass.
... and the Regions That Make Them
Just as important as the wines themselves are the regions they come from, each with its own particular wines and histories. You join Ms. Simonetti-Bryan on a captivating tour of some of the world's greatest wine regions, some of which have achieved the status of wine-making paradises and others that, however overlooked, are just as important to know about.
As you hopscotch back and forth across the globe—from Europe to Australia to South America to the United States—you visit places such as these:
- Bordeaux: With its 57 different appellations, its high auction prices, and its powerful red wines that last for decades, this iconic region of France produces wines that have become the standard to which most others are compared.
- California: Home to such popular American wine regions as Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, this state thrust American wines onto the international scene and turned them into wines respected and recognized around the world.
- Italy: One of the most exciting and complex wine countries in the world, Italy is home to over 300 different quality wine regions and an estimated 1,000 types of grape varieties, many of which are often exported to major international wine markets.
This comparative journey allows you to draw surprising connections between wines grown in the same area and on opposite sides of the world. As well as enhancing your abilities to taste and talk about different wines, this course expands your understanding of the intricate link between a particular place and the wines that place produces.
Discover the Wine Taster's Tool Kit
Throughout The Everyday Guide to Wine, Ms. Simonetti-Bryan introduces you to practical tips, techniques, and strategies for applying your knowledge of wine to your own everyday experiences with it. You'll get pointed, expert advice on a wealth of topics, including
- the five "S's" of fully tasting wine: seeing, swirling, sniffing, sipping, and savoring;
- qualities to look for when you shop for wine at home, abroad, or over the Internet;
- what wines to give as gifts for loved ones, friends, clients, and party hosts; and
- strategies for choosing the right bottle of wine when you dine out.
Taken together, these lessons are a veritable tool kit for any wine taster. They'll help you to make better choices the next time you find yourself in any situation involving wine—whether you're tasting the offerings of a particular vineyard, shopping at the wine aisle in your local supermarket, or searching for the perfect bottle to complement a home-cooked meal.
Make Your Next Glass of Wine More Enjoyable
As a Master of Wine, the highest-regarded and most difficult title to achieve in the wine industry, Ms. Simonetti-Bryan has trained thousands of people throughout the country about the subtleties of wine. And she infuses each and every lecture with this same nuanced knowledge of her craft. Then there's her passion for bringing people into the nearly limitless wonders of wine, which proves that wine is something everyone can understand and enjoy.
The Everyday Guide to Wine is the most interactive and engaging Great Course we've yet produced. In-studio demonstrations and tastings; on-site visits that take you inside the secrets of wineries; in-depth interviews with experts at all levels of the wine industry; a course guidebook filled with invaluable wine lists and reference guides—all of these work together to add dynamic layers of learning that you can't get from simply reading a book about wine.
So change the way you think about, talk about, and taste your next sip of wine. With The Everyday Guide to Wine, you'll no longer have to pass the wine menu to friends when you go out to dinner, scratch your head in confusion while walking through the wine aisles, or feel clueless at wine tastings or winery tours. Instead, you'll have the information, skills, and confidence to understand your own palate better, predict the wines you'll like, and make better buying decisions for other people and for yourself.