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The Everyday Guide to Wine

The Everyday Guide to Wine

Course No.  9123
Course No.  9123
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Course Overview

About This Course

24 lectures  |  31 minutes per lecture

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.

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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.

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24 Lectures
  • 1
    Why Learn about Wine?
    Ms. Simonetti-Bryan answers this question in an engaging introductory lecture that sets the stage for the subsequent lectures. Survey the millennia-old history of wine, discover what kind of wine consumer you are, explore wine culture in America, and more. x
  • 2
    A Taster's Tool Kit
    Wine tasting can seem like a mysterious ritual, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Here, learn how to properly perform the five steps of tasting: seeing, swirling, sniffing, sipping, and savoring. Also, make sense of wine-related terminology, including "full-bodied," "crisp," "length," "balance," and "finish." x
  • 3
    Winemaking—From Vineyard to Harvest
    The sensation of drinking a good or bad wine relies on what happens to its source grape in the vineyard. This lecture takes you through the first half of the wine-making process and reveals how climate, altitude, weather patterns, and other factors play a critical role in shaping a wine's flavor and quality. x
  • 4
    Winemaking—From Harvest to Bottle
    Continue your look at winemaking by focusing on the grape's journey from the vine to your palate. When are grapes ready to be picked? What is the difference between wine fermented in steel and in oak barrels? Why is there heated debate over filtering wines? Discover answers here. x
  • 5
    The Whites—Riesling to Chardonnay
    In the first lecture on the Noble grape varieties (used in those wines you see most often), focus on the most captivating varieties of white wine: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. As you explore each wine's unique characteristics, you'll strengthen your ability to compare it with other wines and grape varieties. x
  • 6
    The Reds—Pinot Noir to Cabernet
    Experience the Red Noble grape varieties, specifically Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Studied together, these varieties will expose you to the fascinating range of red wine grapes—from the light-bodied and aromatic to the full-bodied and tannin-rich. x
  • 7
    Champagne and Other Sparkling Wines
    Venture into the world of sparkling wines, one of the least-understood but highest-quality wines in the world. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan reveals how wines like Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco originated, how they're produced, and how they taste. She even shows you the correct way to open and serve your favorite bottle. x
  • 8
    Port, Sherry, and Other Fortified Wines
    Fortified wines—wines whose alcoholic strength has been fortified—are the perfect accompaniment to the beginning or end of a meal. Here, learn more about these wines as you taste your way through the distinctive characteristics of ruby port, sherry, and Madeira. x
  • 9
    What to Drink with Dessert
    Sauternes; Tokaji; Ice Wine; Vin Santo— wines go great either with or as dessert. Survey the range of dessert wines, paying particular attention to three ways these wines can be produced: the process of "noble rot," the harvesting of frozen grapes, and the drying of grapes. x
  • 10
    French Regions—Bordeaux and Loire
    French wines are the benchmarks of quality, which makes France the perfect place to begin your tour of some of the world's greatest wine regions. You explore the powerful reds and delicate whites of two wine-producing regions, learn how to read a wine label, and gain insights into how chateaux in Bordeaux are classified. x
  • 11
    French Regions—Burgundy and Alsace
    How do you top the rich, full-bodied wines of Bordeaux? Find out in this engaging lecture that takes you through the silky and delicate wines of Burgundy (including those from Chablis and Beaujolais) and the German-influenced tastes of Alsace (including varieties of Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris). x
  • 12
    French Regions—Rhône, Languedoc, Provence
    Sample beautiful wines from the Rhône Valley and the coastline regions of Languedoc and Provence. You are introduced to a youthful and floral Viognier, a refreshing rosé from Tavel, and a peppery red from Mas Belles Eaux. x
  • 13
    Wines of Northern Italy
    Welcome to Italy, home to over 1,000 grape varieties. You sample a Barolo and Amarone (two pillars of Italian wine), a Pinot Grigio (the quintessential crowd-pleasing white wine), and other northern Italian wines. x
  • 14
    Wines of Southern Italy
    Explore the wines of southern Italy. You visit Tuscany, home of Chianti; Campania, the source of the legendary Lacryma Christi (or "Tears of Christ"); and Sicily, whose Nero d'Avola is a rising star among red wine drinkers. x
  • 15
    The Tastes of Germany and Austria
    Germany is home to some of the most versatile wines to pair with food. Austria, following a scandal, has turned around its reputation and has begun producing a fantastic quality of wines. Explore both regions, with a particular focus on their variations of Riesling. Also, learn how to decode German wine labels. x
  • 16
    The Tastes of Spain and Portugal
    Conclude your tour of Old World wine regions with Spanish and Portuguese wines. Many of the wines you learn about and sample—including a Rioja, a Rueda, a Jumilla, and a Duoro red—bridge the gap between traditional and international modern styles of winemaking. x
  • 17
    U.S. Regions—California
    California produces 90% of America's wine and is the fourth-largest producer of wine in the world. Travel through the state's rich wine regions—including Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, and Santa Barbara—and explore its grape varieties, including the predominant Zinfandel. x
  • 18
    U.S. Regions—Washington and Oregon
    How do Oregon producers differ from their California neighbors? What's so unique about Washington's grape vines? Learn the answers to these and other questions as you taste their versions of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Syrah. x
  • 19
    Other U.S. Regions, Mexico, and Canada
    Where are the wine pioneers of today and tomorrow? The answer: New York, Virginia, Texas, and other U.S. states, each of which, you discover, has its own approach to making quality wines. Also, take brief trips to wine regions in Mexico and Canada, where you sample one of Ontario's internationally popular ice wines. x
  • 20
    Sampling Argentina and Chile
    South American wines have grown in popularity around the world. Here, Ms. Simonetti-Bryan guides you through the Chilean regions, including Maipo, Rapel, and Curic-, as well as Argentine vineyards in Mendoza and San Juan. x
  • 21
    The Best of Australia and Tasmania
    In terms of wine, Australia and Tasmania has it all: cool and warm climates, French and American oaks, white and red varieties. Australia also makes the top wine imported into the United States. Survey its popular wines, including a Riesling-like Semillon from Hunter Valley and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawara. x
  • 22
    Wines of New Zealand and South Africa
    Visit New Zealand and the regions of Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, and Martinborough. Then, travel to Stellenbosch in South Africa, whose high-end Bordeaux blends are a delicious mix of Old World and New World tastes. x
  • 23
    Becoming a Knowledgeable Wine Buyer
    Discover tips on how to purchase wine, how to order the perfect bottle at restaurants, how to store wine for the short and long term, how to treat wine as an investment, and much more. x
  • 24
    Wine for Any Occasion and Any Food
    Conclude with answers to questions about pairing wines with food and occasions. Should a wine complement or contrast a meal? What kind of wine should you serve on particular holidays? What are some myths about wine pairing? How should you serve wine to guests? x

Lecture Titles

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Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan
Master of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan
Institute of Masters of Wine

Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan is among a small number of people to have received the highest credentials in the wine and spirits industry. She is one of only a few hundred people in the world to have achieved the Master of Wine (M.W.) title from The Institute of Masters of Wine in London, England-the highest and most difficult title to achieve in the industry. She also has a Professional Certificate in Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Certified Specialist of Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan has taught courses for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, has trained thousands of professionals in the wine and spirits industry, and has judged international spirits and wine competitions, including the Ultimate Beverage Challenge in 2010 and 2011. She has also hosted seminars with Food Network stars such as Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, and Mario Batali. In 2008, she won the Wiesbaden Tasting Trophy from The Institute of Masters of Wine. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan is a frequent guest on television programs, including Fox Business, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV. Additionally, she has been featured in publications such as Fortune, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and Wine & Spirits Magazine.

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Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5 by 58 reviewers.
Rated 5 out of 5 by How Much Fun and Learning Can a Corkscrew Provide? Q. How Much Fun and Learning Can a Corkscrew Provide? A. A Lot! This course is a beyond excellent training in wine. Tasting, appreciation, training the palate, pairing; Old vs New World styles, climate, terroir, grape varietals, growing, production, and more is covered. Refer to Lecture 2 early and often. No worries if you plan to view each lecture in order presented or skip around based on interest. it won't detract from the learning. Follow the tasting recommendations, to the letter if desired, or just pick your own choices from the areas and varietals covered in each lecture. Find a good wine store available in your area and talk with staff about what you're doing. Break lectures into parts to suit your tastes and goals. This course can be customized as you wish and retains it's integrity. Remember Lecture 2! If your goal is enjoyment and improving your appreciation of wine, this is your course. If you want to get together with some friends and learn to taste together, this is your course. In fact, this course may work best with some like-minded friends, IMO. With no exaggeration, and some background, I can state that with study, tasting and serious application, when you complete this course you will be better trained that most wine-waiters, 'somms', and wine store clerks, if that is your goal. Not that you will not become a Master of Wine, but it is important to note that most wine-waiters, 'somms' and wine-reviewers have very little to no training. Keep this in mind when dining out and reading reviews. Robert Parker, who has done most to damage the enjoyment of wine worldwide, IMO, with his development of the point-scale for rating wines and his odd preference for highly extracted, high tannic, highly alcoholic fruit bombs, for example, is a lawyer by training, not a trained, certified Master of Wine. This is why the Master of Wine that Ms. Simonetti-Bryan has achieved is so crucial for this course and why the course so spectacularly succeeds. Some reviewers have commented on the first lecture, when Ms. Simonetti-Bryan introduces her qualifications. Some friends of mine were put off by this lecture, but the statement of qualifications is important to establish in an area where real, comprehensive, certified training and qualifications are mostly lacking. Spend some time on google if you have doubts about this. Doing so will will be a real eye-opener. A vos sante! January 7, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by One of my favorite courses! I enjoyed this course very much because there is a great volume of information presented in a masterful way. The professor is fantastic because of her clear presentation style and wealth of experience and education backing her up. I was pleased to have a female Master of Wine presenting this course. My knowledge and enjoyment of wine has increased a substantial amount as a result of completing this course. I patronize an excellent wine shop and brought my course book to the shop to buy the wines that were recommended for each lesson. I did not buy them all and tailored my purchases to my budget. The wine shop owner confirmed that the professor selected great categories of wines for the course. I enjoy my wine so much more as a result of completing this course. Last week, I was in the local supermarket when a person was trying to select wine for a dinner that she was going to attend. She asked me for advice and I felt comfortable explaining the various wine types. I could have never felt confident doing this before I completed this course. This course is an excellent investment and makes a very thoughtful gift. February 26, 2011
Rated 5 out of 5 by Opens up a whole new world I was really happy with this course, and we learned a lot from viewing this crash course on around-the-world wine tasting. I certainly wouldn't consider myself more than a beginner or a curious novice at best. I know what I like, but I had no way to articulate why I like certain wines. This course has expanded my knowledge of wine varieties and regions and I have more confidence talking about wine tastes, aromas, and flavors. Reading a restaurant's wine list isn't a dart throwing contest anymore. To the great: First, it's a well organized journey from Old World to New World. Lecture 17 (US wines) was a breakthrough for me as far as recognizing the nuances of texture and flavor. Second, although upwards of six or so wines were suggested with lecture, we stuck to 2-3 wines on core regions. Now we're going to go back and try more the second time around. Third, I've tried a couple of new wines I would never have tried if not for this course. Next, I loved the numerous field trips to wineries, restaurants, wine cellars, etc. and the interviews with those in the industry. Lastly, Jennifer's presentation is very polished; she's poised, stylish, and charming. The not so great: First, on more than a handful of occasions, viewers are given tips on how to "impress" their sommelier by talking up autolysis, botrytis cinera (noble rot), etc. Sorry, but no thanks. To do so feels awfully pretentious to me. And there's too much referencing to "in the industry." Wine drinking and learning about wine should be an inclusive experience rather than exclusive. The maps were not reprinted in the Course Guidebook. I wish they had been, especially the ones for France and Italy, which were too small and a little difficult to read on screen. Italian wines, my favorites, seemed to get the short end of things and were glossed over leaving me wanting much more. Finally, the instruction on glassware came last, when it probably should have been included early on or throughout the lectures. Despite these minor flaws, 5 stars. We'll watch again. The Everyday Guide to Wine will make excellent gifts for family and friends on their birthdays or Christmas. September 22, 2010
Rated 1 out of 5 by Disappointed These courses do not have subtitles. I returned all that I bought August 20, 2014
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