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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Course No. 9123
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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
 |  Average 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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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?

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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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The Everyday Guide to Wine is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 99.
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Who can drink this much wine?!? As others have observed, this course contains some great insights though the lecturer is a bit stiff and awkward in her delivery. My biggest complaint is that for most of the classes you need to open between 4 to 6 bottles of wine. Now I don't mind spending the money or finding the wines - after all I took the class to improve my appreciation of drinking wine. The problem is - though my wife and I can drink wine with the best of them - we're not going to polish off six bottles of wine in a session, so inevitably we have to choose between not getting the full experience or wasting a lot of good wine. I could only recommend this class to someone who was planning to watch it with a big group, like 6 or more people. Otherwise you end up with too much leftover wine - which I didn't need this course to know loses quality quickly after contact with oxygen.
Date published: 2018-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not the best speaker, but the information is there I am thoroughly enjoying the wonderful tidbits of information I am learning from this course, especially when focusing on how soil, bacteria, and many other elements play into how differently wine can taste, even among the same varietals. She is NOT a college professor, so just keep this in mind and you too will enjoy. Cheers!
Date published: 2018-04-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great overview of intimidating fun stuff I love wine. But I was intimidated by my perception of the culture. It seemed snobby. This course unlocked the keys to the secret culture of wine and opened up a whole new world of wine understanding and enjoyment for a normal person. The only reason for the 4 star review is the relatively over-dramatic and affected delivery by the otherwise very competent lecturer. If she was more natural and spontaneous, like she was on the field trips, it would have been much more effective in addressing the actual audience of average people who like wine and just want to know more about it.
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic and Fun This is a fantastic course. I have judged wine for the American Wine Society and I was still able to learn a great deal from the course. I did not taste with the course since I am familiar with most of the wines in terms of their appearance, nose and taste. In any event, and this forms the basis of one of my complaints, many of the specific wines are not available in my area. Now to my major complaint. The wines chosen by Ms. Simonetti-Bryan are certainly wines she is familiar with and are certainly true to type. I would also suspect they are often “best of breed” . At age 67 I have tasted hundreds of wines and individual bottles are not always true to type(at least they might be substantially different from the bottle of wine tasted by the lecturer) Different vintages, different shippers, different ages (time from vintage) different storage conditions and a dozen other factors can cause a particular bottle to differ from the lecturer’s wine example. When comparing Cabernet and Bordeaux Ms. Simonetti-Bryan was careful to ask the student to pick wines of similar age and price. She should have considered giving more info on the wines she tasted so the student could be more sure of a match. Fortunately, Ms. Simonetti-Bryan does a wonderful job of translating the tasting experience into descriptive words. I also have a complaint about the short time spent on California. I appreciate the extensive lecture on Washington State but California is not as one note or one trick pony that Ms. Simonetti-Bryan would have us believe. Americans like fruit forward “jammy” wines so the market has responded to the demand. I have had California Cabernet from the 1974, 1975 vintages and they were as fruit forward as a granite boulder. California is well capable of producing elegant reserved wines that need years of cellaring . ( I’m not sure the 1974 Mayacamas cabernet in my cellar is ready to drink) I’ve had the 1975 Ch. Montelana Chardonnay(the big brother (according to the wine maker)of the wine that fooled the French tasters in the famous Paris tasting) and even Ms. Simonetti-Bryan would I think be hard pressed to tell the wine from a Le Montrachet. It is not in all cases the climate (some CA wines come from vineyards thousands of feet above sea level) that determine the fruit forward over-ripe wine style, it is the market. Also, a thin skin grape does not always produce a lighter colored wine. If a wine maker wants to extract color and structure from a thin skin grape to rival a thick skinned grape variety there are ways to do this if the wine maker wants to go to the trouble. In the mad monk days of California wine making, Pinot Noirs were produced that were purple-black in color. As this is a survey course the lecturer(who will certainly be correct 99.99% of the time and who can best that)) can be forgiven these quibbles. Overall the scope of the course and the spectacular amount of information conveyed in a clear and friendly manner makes this course a clear winner.
Date published: 2018-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Everyday Guide to Wine My wife and I have a small wine wholesale business. This helped immensely. I learned a great deal. While it would be a bit difficult to sample all the wines with each of the 24 segments of the course, it is not necessary. If anyone is serious about learning wine this is a bargain and well worth the time and investment.
Date published: 2018-02-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from On Target! The lectures are exactly what I expected - a description of the different grapes, regions etc along with some mfg background, terms, how to taste etc. the only critique is that the pesenter’s main qualification is wine knowledge - but that’s what I want in a script writer (she’s obviously reading). The presenter should have the primary strength in presenting...the “Master of Wine” is a little cheesy, stumbles to read, and feigns zealotry where mere enthusiasm would suffice. All that said, the material is there to learn a ton about wine - cheers!
Date published: 2017-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Make it a party! We did not know much about wines. To get much value from this, you need to buy wine- a good bit of it. So we partnered with friends, alternated homes weekly, and shared costs. We learned a lot and had great fun. For graduation we went to Napa.
Date published: 2017-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great start to analytical evaluation of wine Excellent presentation regarding enjoyment and appreciation of variety of wine
Date published: 2017-03-26
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