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The Everyday Guide to Wine

The Everyday Guide to Wine

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The Everyday Guide to Wine

Course No. 9123
Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, Master of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits
Institute of Masters of Wine
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4.6 out of 5
89 Reviews
87% of reviewers would recommend this series
Course No. 9123
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Video Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • Understand the specific conditions required to harvest perfect wine grapes.
  • Distinguish between the various flavors of red, white, sparkling, and fortified wines.
  • Investigate regions noted for making superior wines, and understand how to discern their different tastes.
  • Learn how to buy and pair the right wines for you meal.

Course Overview

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
 |  31 minutes each
  • 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

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  • Ability to download 24 video lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
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DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 168-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 168-page course synopsis
  • Photos, tables, diagrams & charts
  • List of wines used in course
  • Tasting notes

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Your professor

Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan

About Your Professor

Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, Master of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits
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 &...
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Reviews

The Everyday Guide to Wine is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 89.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from
Date published: 2016-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable again and again Having had success with other Great Courses, I picked up this course on wine hoping it would be fun but only half certain I would get anything lasting out of it. I could not have been more wrong. I first watched this course several years ago on my own. I watched the lectures and enjoyed learning about the mechanics and vocabulary of making wine and the inherent geography lessons that went along with visits to various wine regions of the world. (I am still unwilling to believe that Washington state shares a range of latitudes with France!) I didn't drink many of the wines during the lectures, but would take advantage of dinners out with friends to try new varietals or test myself on picking out certain notes in my old standbys. The lecturer made the wines seem so accessible that shortly after watching the last lecture, I started over intent on finding--and drinking--the wines this second time around. I am lucky to live near a small wine shop and the owner loved the challenge of filling such specific orders as a "Left bank Bordeaux". With his help, I was almost always able to get the right wines and WOW did that elevate the experience! The side-by-side comparisons really helped me distinguish some common characteristics. I'm not a sommelier by any stretch, but I can now explain what I like (or don't like) with a level of granularity I would not have thought possible. Of course, with six wines to a typical lecture, a lot of good wine in the early lectures went to waste. When we got to the French wines in particular, I had to reconsider my solo approach. There was one bottle--and Ms Simonetti-Bryan had mentioned it might be "more than $25"--that clocked in at just over $200! I didn't want to drink that one alone even if I really loved it, so I invited a few friends over to join (and share the cost). That event turned into the first of many such shared bottles. We are now starting our third trip through the 24 lectures with a few alumni and many more newcomers. Every time through I remember some new detail or learn to pick out some new flavor. We always have a great time and invariably someone comments on how fun it was learning about new wines they would not have tried on their own. The breadth of regions sampled alone make this a fantastic introduction for anyone. I guarantee you'll bump into several new wines. I also want to say that the lecturer goes out of her way not to upbraid you for drinking wines, well, not quite in that $200 range. You can be a serious oenophile looking to learn new details on Italian reds or maybe you just want to try something other than that California Chardonnay you love; either person will take something from this course. An important and long-lasting idea I've personally taken away is that you can enjoy *any* wine, and more specifically, you can know *why* you enjoy it. I do have a bottle or two of fancy wines for special occasions, but I also keep a case of cheap, easy dry Riesling around for barbecues and the occasional Indian takeout. I wouldn't trade the experience of either option for anything. I have learned many wonderful things from many wonderful Great Courses. I can, however, state unequivocally that this course has changed--indeed improved--my daily quality of life more than any other. Even when I'm not at a big table with friends, drinking along with a lecture, not a week goes by that I don't have some dining experience (a new restaurant, a neighborhood gathering, leftovers at home) where I have the opportunity to put the lessons of this course into action. I can't recommend this course highly enough; I expect I'll be making that statement for decades to come.
Date published: 2016-06-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beginners Guide to Wine I've only watched the first 5 lectures so far, but I am quite pleased with the course. I was worried during the first lecture, as Ms. Simonetti-Bryan spent much of that lecture telling us what an expert she is. But after that excessive self-promotion, the following lectures contained great information, were well organized, and revealed her love of and enthusiasm for wines. I would recommend the course to my friends, but would tell them they could skip the first lecture.
Date published: 2016-06-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Don't waste your time and money Don't waste yout time and money unless you want to watch some animated cartoon character spew BS about how great the mediocre wines from italy are. No bias from the instructor becasue she is italian. Also irratating to watch and listen to her for more than 5 minutes. Save your money and buy a bottle of wine.
Date published: 2016-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from
Date published: 2016-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent, comprehensive course Excellent , very through, well worth the time. Easy to follow, no need to "Binge watch" to retain prior details.
Date published: 2016-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from
Date published: 2016-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All that is missing is the wine Enjoying the course and feel much more aware of wine varieties. Also feel much better equipped to choose a good wine.
Date published: 2016-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Course....and fun! The instructor is extremely knowledgeable about the subject and makes the course very enjoyable. My wife and I find this a fun activity to do together while broadening our knowledge at the same time.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Most Enjoyable My wife and I wanted to learn about wines. We thought we knew what we liked but wanted to expand that knowledge. We invited another couple and after watching the first two lectures in one evening, we decided to do one lecture each week. Each week we determined what food pairings we would have, based upon the wines for that week (choosing one wine to serve with dinner.) We also made up 4 x 6 cards (three wines per card) using the example in the transcript book. Each of us also had a small spiral notebook in which to jot notes during the weekly lecture. In a word, our group reaction to the course was: GREAT! We found many wines we didn't like, but also many that we had never heard of and really liked. A couple of examples: Indaba Chenin Blanc (South Africa), The Little Penguin Cabernet Sauvignon (Southeastern Australia.) Even learning how to open a champagne bottle correctly was interesting, and humorous as we have all watched people struggle to this very easily. No, none of us has attempted using a sabre, but who knows? We found Jennifer to be very knowledgeable and with a surprising sense of humor. Her information, brief "guided tours" and interviews were most educational. Some reviews I have read for this course comment about availability of wines. We took advantage of the recommended wines by making a fun day for the four of us to drive about thirty minutes to a TOTAL WINES & MORE store. By becoming acquainted with two sales reps, we easily found acceptable selections that met Jennifer's recommendations for each week. After purchasing our wines, we would pick a nearby restaurant for an enjoyable ending to the day or if early, pick up some sandwiches and sides, sit on the deck and enjoy each other's company, with a bottle of wine obtained during our purchase trip. The course was fun, informative, and most educational. Knowing how to order, what to look for, and how to evaluate wines when in a restaurant was a nice side benefit.
Date published: 2015-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good start to learning wine A very useful set of talks covering everything about wine, from soil and viticulture to varietals and wines from the major regions. Makes me much more intelligent in a restaurant ordering wine.
Date published: 2015-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from If you buy this course, buy the transcript book! A number of years ago there was a television commercial in which a blindfolded man sips a glass of wine and proceeds to identify the variety, vintage, estate, and the exact vine the wine came from to the applause of astonished onlookers. The commercial plays on the apparent absurdity of the man’s knowledge, but Her Wineness, Ms. Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, M.W., shows us that such people do exist! I purchased this course on DVD about a year and half ago, viewed the first three lectures, and was completely “turned off.” However, rather than returning the course for a refund, I put it on a shelf to restart it when I had more time and patience. I have now completed the course. If you can get past the instructor’s ego, most evident in Lecture 1 where she presents her credentials, the expectation / requirement that you buy six or seven specific bottles of wine on average for each of Lectures 3-24, the fact that the course name is totally misleading, and the occasional feeling that you have stumbled into an “infomercial,” you will find that this is a good, perhaps very good, but not a “Great,” course. To be fair, it is entirely appropriate that Ms. Simonetti-Bryan presents her credentials and explains what achieving the status of Master of Wine entails. After all, most of us readily accept that the typical "The Great Courses" instructor, a middle age or elderly male with a Ph.D. from a major university and the position of Assistant, Associate, or full Professor at a recognized university or college, knows what he is talking about. But a Master of Wine (M.W.) is different and needs some explanation; however, it just doesn’t need almost a full lecture to discuss it or to be explained in the manner Ms. Simonetti-Bryan does. The expectation / requirement that you have six, seven, or more specific bottles of wine to taste with each lecture will undoubtedly be a problem for most people. Putting aside the cost and the fact that specific wines may be hard to find (less of a problem in the large city where I live with its “warehouse” wine stores), that is a lot of wine to buy. A solution to the cost and consumption problems is to get four to six friends together and do one lecture per week for Lectures 3 through 24. If maintaining that discipline over a twenty-some week period is impossible, you may want to consider trying one of the one-country, six lecture courses that Ms. Simonetti-Bryan teaches. I’m not sure what the solution is to the misnaming of the course, but it certainly is not an “everyday” guide to wine. Rather is it more like an “introduction to the mastery of wine” or a “training your palette to recognize and appreciate wines” course. Again to be fair, the full, online description of the course suggests that it includes far more than what the title and the brochure description suggest, but it still does not inform you of the level of detail you will encounter. The biggest problem with the course, and what keeps it from being “Great,” is that it does not assume any particular level of knowledge of wine and logically build from there. Rather, the course attempts to be all things to all levels of knowledge of people interested in wine, and each lecture bombards the viewer / listener with a mélange of details both basic and sublime. For example, in Lecture 5, Ms. Simonetti-Bryan has a wonderful analogy about how learning about wine is like being a young child with his / her box of eight basic colored crayons and working his / her way up to the giant box of sixty-four colors. Yet, in preparation for Lecture 5 on the three noble (major), white varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling), Ms. Simonetti-Bryon directs us to obtain, among other things, a “Sancerre” or a “Pouilly-Fume.” What’s a “Sancerre”? What’s a “Pouilly-Fume”? This is a bit like a pre-school teacher telling his / her students, “tomorrow we will learn about yellow, orange, and red, so be sure to bring in your burnt sienna and cerise crayons.” If you already know what “Sancerre” and “Pouilly-Fume” denote, this course will not be a problem; if not, you will find yourself scrambling to keep up. Overall, there is the inescapable feeling that rather than being an educator tailoring a course to her students, Ms. Simonetti-Bryon is simply giving us a shortened, watered-down version of the process she went through to become a Master of Wine. Finally, if you decide to buy the course, I heartily recommend also buying the Transcript Book. While it unfortunately does not contain all of the graphics presented in the lectures, it will save a lot of wear and tear on your DVD player and will be a good “read” and reference guide if you wish to repeat the lectures and develop a detailed knowledge of wine. Also, you should recognize that this course was prepared and filmed in 2010. So if you develop a real interest in vintage wines, you will need to consult resources with more updated information than that presented in the course.
Date published: 2015-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Some Pragmatic Reflections As per many of the prior reviews, I would wholeheartedly agree that this is a "fun" course. I have made a point of doing my best to buy the specific wines recommended, and have tracked the purchases carefully. I have found that the wine purchase price for each lecture ranges from $100 to $150 for the six or so bottles, each in the $20 average range. I listen to many of the lectures with just my wife and myself, and carefully set up the review notes, white napkins, water for clearing between-sips, and six separate glasses per participant prior to the lecture. We keep the bottles and glasses in matching order so as not to get confused. Even though there are six bottles and we frequently have just the two of us doing the tasting, the sum total of wine consumed per lecture is probably less than a single glass - we only need a few tablespoons per wine per lecture. We then use the remaining wine for subsequent dinners, cooking, or entertaining so that it is neither overdone during tasting night, nor wasted. Here is the main point: whether we have friends over to share or not - at the end of each tasting experience, everyone looks at everyone else and says "Wow! That was really fun!". It's a great way to bond with your spouse, educate your family for a specific skill that will stand them in good stead in the world of the successful, or get to know and enjoy your neighbors. Here is A VOTRE SANTE, and to TGC for another life-enriching course!
Date published: 2015-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from In depth review of wine...well done Very thorough, very professional
Date published: 2015-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great overview of world's wines Living in California for 30+years and visiting many of the west coast wineries, I thought I pretty much knew about wine. Well, I was wrong. At least I didn't realize how much I didn't know about wine tasting / enjoyment of the subtle characteristics. A real eye-opener for my wife and myself. Plus, there is excellent overview of the remainder of the world's wines. Actually, the lecture on California wines was very, very short. I have ordered the specific DVD course on just the California and Italian wines when I realized those courses were quite a bit more in depth. We thoroughly enjoyed the lecturer. In addition to being knowledgeable (A Master of Wine - only one of 28 in the USA), she is also quite pleasant to look at. And no, I am not be a chauvinistic pig - she is very enjoyable to the eye. Too bad she's married! I highly recommend this program (but only if you can get it on sale). The regular price is a little steep.
Date published: 2015-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Intro into the world of wine Great course that provides a solid foundation to begin your wine adventures! Teacher is very knowledgeable and you can see her love and passion for the wine shine through. Great gift for someone! Only two little complaints. First, the video shoot. The change in camera angles seems awkward and is distracting the way they are done. They would sometimes leave the presenter searching for the right camera to talk into. Doesn't need so many different cuts. Secondly, i was bombarded with emails and snail mail trying to get me to purchase more videos. Ease up, you've got a great product, no need to keep ramming them at me.
Date published: 2015-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Skeptical at first I was very skeptical at first, learning about wines via DVD. Fortunately, I was very surprised and thoroughly enjoyed the lessons. It has greatly expanded my appreciation of wines, even though I had been drinking wine for 15 years.
Date published: 2014-12-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing In the interest of full disclosure, I had a difficult time making it past the first couple of lessons. The instructor spent the entire first lesson extolling her own accomplishments, having completed her training as a master of wine. She goes into excruciatingly unnecessary details about the steps necessary to become a master of wine. Her presentational style is also somewhat stilted and scripted.
Date published: 2014-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent Course I've enjoyed wine for years but did not really understand what made a good wine. After taking this course, I now know the answer to that question and much more. It was fascinating to learn about wines I had never heard of before, to learn about the process of making wine, and the history of wine, and also how to shop for wine and pair it with food. I'm going to try a Riesling with my chili this weekend! I enjoyed the presenter a lot. At first, I found it distracting that she had a bit of a stammering way of talking, but overall she was very likable, very knowledgeable, and well... I looked forward to her outfit changes every lecture. I will watch this again and again, hopefully with friends next time where we can do all of the recommended tastings. Really an excellent course.
Date published: 2014-12-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Wine Course Nice course, but you better have a big budget for wines as instructor wants you to purchase about 4 new bottles of wine per lesson!!!
Date published: 2014-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Guide to wine...OMG I have been an avid wine enthusiast for over two decades, and I thought I had an excellent nose and pallet. I was pretty sure I knew a LOT about wine. How wrong I was...this course opened my eyes. This is the finest course to really help anyone learn to appreciate the wonderful world of vino!!! It is a must get for every single person who enjoys an occasional glass of wine, or any enthusiast who really enjoys the nuances of wines from around the world. BRAVO!!!!!
Date published: 2014-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Sensory Delight Ms. Simonetti-Bryan has vast knowledge and experience of and with wine. Almost by accident, through a wine-taste experience, she left a successful career to achieve the Master of Wine designation. She passes much of her knowledge and experience to TTC students through this course. Once completed, the student will be able to identify the noble grape varieties by wine color, smell and taste. Moreover, subtle wine flavors help identify the location where grapes were grown. One would think this course promotes one becoming a "wine snob." However, quite the opposite. The knowledge imparted from this course makes a wine student--not a wine snob. There is no pretentious "sniffing the cork," watching "legs on the glass," or describing fanciful "aromatics." All the important wine-growing regions of the world (and some little-known regions) are covered. Wine-making techniques are described; wine characteristics (dry, sweet, balanced, acidic) are compared and contrasted. The last two lectures focus on how to select wine and pair wine with food. These lessons are culmination of all preceding lessons. For me, this course expanded my ability to select wines from around the world with confidence that I understand the differences in wines from Germany, Australia, Italy, California, Argentina, France and other wine-producing regions. It is an intellectual delight as well as a sensory delight.
Date published: 2014-10-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed These courses do not have subtitles. I returned all that I bought
Date published: 2014-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this course! This is such an informative class! Loved it!
Date published: 2014-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 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!
Date published: 2014-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding! This by far was one of the best courses that the Teaching Company has offered. In just 24 sessions, you learn about the grape varieties, the styles, the regions and the basics about wine tasting, purchasing, paring, and all around enjoyment. The visuals in the DVD version definitely enhanced the course and by the end of the course, you're ready to pack your bags and take a wine tasting trek around the world! If you have an interest in wine but it seem complicated and overwhelming, this course is for you!
Date published: 2013-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent and FUN Course! My husband and I purchased this course to increase our knowledge of wine. While we enjoyed wine on occassion, we felt there was a lot to learn-and boy is there!!We are currently on Lesson 7. How we are doing the course is that my husband and I purchase the wines, usually 6 bottles for each course, and we invite 8 friends to participate in the course with us. That way we can taste all the wines but not waste so much! We do one lesson a month. Yes, it is expensive to purchase all the wines she specifically uses. It has been running between $100-130 a lesson. Our friends each bring a dish to pass. We watch the video, participate in the sampling, then move on to eating and trying to finish up some of the wine. It is a wonderful evening of learning and laughing! The instructor is excellent. Many of us take notes throughout the lesson. Yes, the first lesson it seems like all she talks about it how hard it was to get her professional accreditation. Now that I've gotten to Lesson 7, I am so incredibly impressed by her knowledge and skill level. Highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2013-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super Wine Guide for Wine Lovers It was always our family custom to serve wine with meals, excluding breakfast. So I got to love wine at a very early age, starting with wines with a high sugar content like Liebfraumilch. But I never really knew how the wines that I truly loved were produced. Our First Lady of Wine, most lovely, Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, has put together a series of 24 lectures, of 1/2 hour each, that covers everything about the making of fine wines, from growing the various kinds of grapes, to making the wine itself. She is a superb and knowledgeable lecturer, being a Master of Wine herself. But she is also so very pretty herself, making the course lectures that much nicer. The course also comes with a written text which covers the lecture material. Everyone who loves wines, and reads my comments, flatter yourself, enjoy yourself, and buy this course. You won't regret it!!!!!!!!
Date published: 2013-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course! I have a graduate degree and have spent a 30 year career in food production and sales so am well aware of both the science and the "voodoo" behind "taste", "quality" and "consistency" of what we eat. The instructor, while maybe going a little overboard in establishing her credentials, does an outstanding job of clearly explaining and demonstrating key categories and differences in a way that most of us can undertand and relate to. Anybody paying attention to this incredible 12 hour course should never again feel intimidated by any restaurant wine list -- even in the best of 5 star eateries. Wine is meant to be enjoyed and savored with good food. This course really helps you get past the "snottiness" sometimes associated with wine drinkers and more able to focus on the sheer magic of the grape.
Date published: 2013-07-04
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