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Vines and Wines Teaches Taste and Technique This Spring

Posted: December 17, 2013, 4:03 pm

Vines and wines: A delicious glass of wine depends on an excellent crop of grapes, and a process prompts millions of people around the world to raise their glasses and toast many types of occasions in their lives.

“Vines and Wines” also is the name of a course at El Centro College taught during the fall 2013 semester that will return in the spring, taking students around the world (from their seats and online) to vineyards and wineries from almost every continent. They will learn how to identify types of wine grapes, wine-growing regions and wine varieties that the wine grapes produce. They also will discuss the history of wine production, explore storage procedures for different types of wines and learn to recognize equipment and proper serving techniques.

“The course is a study of the growing regions, production, processing and distribution of domestic and international wines,” explained Gus Katsigris, emeritus professor of food and hospitality at El Centro College, who teaches the course, which will be offered as both a credit course and a continuing education class. “This is a hybrid course. Much of the material is online, and classroom participation involves sensory evaluations of wines.” All 50 seats were filled in the fall class with students who wanted to learn more about making, tasting and presenting wines.

He added, “We again will host guest speakers — wine merchants and wine makers — who will present wines from each region we cover. Producers, wholesalers and retailers of wines, as well as wine writers, will share their expertise and products with our students, who will learn first-hand about the industry.”

Katsigris has taught this type of course since the late 1990s at both El Centro and until 2010 at the University of North Texas; he wrote and field-tested the textbook this fall. He will combine classroom sensory evaluations (tastings) and guest presentations during each class, in addition to online coursework and an outside project.

The course is $156 for both credit and continuing education students during the spring 2014 semester (Jan. 24 to May 15); it will be held every Thursday evening from 7 to 8:50 p.m. both online and on the downtown campus of El Centro College, located at Main and Lamar streets in Dallas.

DCCCD students who already are enrolled at one of the seven colleges in the system can sign up now for the three-hour credit course, RSTO 1319. Registration for continuing education students begins on Dec. 15. All students who sign up for the course must be 21 years of age by the first day of class, in compliance with state law, and proof of age will be kept on file for the course.

From wine to champagne, students will taste and learn about wines from regions of the world that include the United States (regional, Pacific Northwest, California and Texas); France (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Alsace, Loire, Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon) — both wine and champagne; Italy (Piedmont, Tuscany); Germany and the Iberian Peninsula; South America and Mexico; and Australia and New Zealand.

Katsigris is excited to offer this class, which is an opportunity for students to learn more about viticulture and oenology — growing grapes and making wine. Classes, guest presentations, sensory evaluations, course work and individual projects will help students learn new skills.

Speakers will include: Lee Fuqua, Fuqua Wines; Jim Flemming, Sigel’s Elite; Landry Honeycutt, Tony Pecoraro, Amela Zeba-Sarac and Alfonso Cevola, Glazer’s Distributors; Jeff Siegel, Wine Curmudgeon; Jonathan Gibbons, Ambiente; Gregg LaBlanc, thewinefrog.com; Bill Stowe, PrestigeWineCellars.com; and Beat Kotoun, Kobrand.

He added, “When students finish this course, they will be familiar with the processes of how wines are evaluated by taste. They will be able to read and understand labels from wines around the world, and they also will understand how wines should be stored — along with inventory techniques associated with storage. In addition to learning the techniques and methods used by wine professionals to present and serve wine at the table (using the proper wine glasses and table settings), they will do it themselves in ‘mise en place’ activities.

“Finally — like the students in the fall 2013 class — students will have fun and enjoy this course, which will take them around the world as they learn about wine,” said Katsigris.

For more information, contact Katsigris at gkatsigris@dcccd.edu.