Planet of the Grapes - IWEG Monthly Newsletter Aug. 01, 2019

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Minerality: Wine and Oysters

Peter Wearing dives deep to explain it's meaning

With National Oyster Day falling on this weekend's civic holiday, IWEG's WSET Diploma Coordinator Peter Wearing, DipWSET shares his insights on a classic wine pairing:

Chablis and oysters are a quintessential wine and food pairing. The crisp green apple, citrus and high acidity of Chablis provide a refreshing foil to the saline nature of an oyster, similar to the zing provided by a freshly squeezed lemon or a mignonette. But doesn’t Chablis also have a characteristic minerality or salinity that should make it a natural pairing with oysters? What’s that all about?

The truth is complicated and by no means well-understood. The popular belief is that Chablis takes its minerality and saltiness from the Kimmeridgean soil, a clay and limestone soil heavy in fossilized sea creatures. However, vines cannot take up rocks and fossils and impart them in their flavor compounds, because they are insoluble in water. And minerals from the soil are found in proportions that are too small to be detected by human smell or taste, even if minerals did have any taste or smell which they do not. So, Chablis does not take its “minerality” from the fossil-based-soil.

A more likely explanation is that various “mineral” aromas and flavours are created by chemical combinations that take place during ripening and fermentation. Researchers have been unable to isolate compounds that relate to specific mineral descriptors the way, for example, pyrazines are related to vegetal descriptors like bell pepper. However, mineral descriptors tend to be most highly correlated with a general lack of fruitiness and higher acid, characteristics which are more likely to come from wines made in cooler climates like Chablis. So, the next time someone asks you why Chablis pairs so well with oysters, tell them: it’s complicated.

The new WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines

Enrollment open

The market-leading WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines qualification provides expert level knowledge and develops key analytical skills for success in the global wine business. Perfect for both the trade professional and the serious enthusiast, the course will arm you with specialist-level skills and experience, plus international recognition as an expert in the field of wine.

Sign up now!

Spanish Wine Scholar

Endorsed by Wines from Spain

The new Spanish Wine Scholar certification program provides current, accurate and in-depth information on the wines and wine regions of Spain. Developed and administrated by the Wine Scholar Guild, the course is aimed at advanced students of wine whether professionals or serious wine hobbyists.

Spanish Wine Scholar mirrors the unparalleled level of depth, accuracy, detail and academic rigour offered by the acclaimed French Wine Scholar program. 

Develop specialist knowledge of the DO / DOCa regions, appreciate the cultural context of Spanish wine, consider the vineyard and winery factors that contribute to wine styles and taste a range of Spanish wines!

The course is led by specialist team of IWEG Spanish wine educators, including Lead Educator Nancy Reynolds, DipWSET, Kim Berdusco, DipWSET and Caitlin Ferguson, DipWSET.

Spanish Wine Scholar will take place on Tuesdays, October 8th - December 10th @ 6:30PM - 8:30PM.

Early Bird Price: sign up for the Spanish Wine Scholar by August 16 for $995 (regular price $1,150). Please call the office at 416-534-2570 to complete your registration at the early bird rate.Can't wait until October to learn more about Spanish wines? August 1 to 5 is International Albariño Days! International Albariño Days was inspired by the annual Fiesta del Albariño held in the small coastal town of Cambados, Spain during the first week of August. Albariño is traditionally grown in Rias Baixas, a wine region in Galicia in northwestern Spain, and is considered one of the country’s finest white wines. Its lower alcohol and crisp acidity make it an ideal wine for summer evenings and seafood pairings. 

Sign up now!

The new WSET Level 2 Award in Wines

Learn about over 22 grape varieties in over 70 wine growing regions

"We’re excited to launch the new WSET Level 2 Award in Wines for students looking to gain more confidence and better understanding of the important grape varieties and styles of wine they produce. It’s a thorough and thoughtful examination of the world of wine, serving as an indispensable introduction to the factors that influence the quality and character of the world’s most popular wine styles." - Christopher Waters DipWSET, Education Director

The new WSET Level 2 Award in Wines is a beginner to intermediate level qualification exploring wines for those working in the industry, looking to join the industry or wine and spirit enthusiasts.

This course will:

  • Explain how wine is made
  • Explore the style and quality of wines made from over 22 regionally important grape varieties produced in over 70 wine growing regions around the world
  • Explore how environmental factors, grape growing, winemaking and maturation options influence the style and quality of wines made from eight principal grape varieties:
    • Chardonnay
    • Pinot Grigio/Gris
    • Sauvignon Blanc
    • Riesling
    • Cabernet Sauvignon
    • Merlot
    • Pinot Noir
    • Syrah/Shiraz
  • Teach how classifications and other labelling terms indicate origin, style and quality
  • Help develop assessment and description skills as you sample wines, sparkling wines and fortified wines
  • Show how to understand and be able to apply basic principles of wine storage, service and food and wine pairing
  • Teach how to describe wine using the WSET Level 2 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine® (SAT)

Sign up now!

Upcoming Courses

Starting soon at IWEG:

WSET Level 1 Award in Wines
Date: Saturday, September 14th @ 9:30AM - 4:30PM
Location: IWEG Drinks Academy
Register Now!
WSET Level 1 Award in Sake
Date: Saturday, October 19th @ 9:30AM - 5:30PM
Location: IWEG Drinks Academy
Register Now!
WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits
Date: Mondays, September 3rd - October 7th @ 6:30PM - 8:30PM
Location: IWEG Drinks Academy
Register Now!
WSET Level 2 Award in Wines - Waterloo
Date: Tuesdays, September 10th - November  12th @ 7PM - 9PM
Location: The Bauer Kitchen, 87 King St S #102
Register Now!
WSET Level 2 Award in Wines
Date: Tuesdays, September 17th - November 5th @ 6:30PM - 8:30PM
Location: IWEG Drinks Academy
Register Now!
WSET Level 3 Award in Wines
Date: Wednesdays, September 4th - December 18th @ 6:30PM - 9PM
Location: IWEG Drinks Academy
Register Now!
WSET Level 3 Award in Sake
Date: Saturdays and Sundays, November 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 23rd @ 9:30AM - 4:30PM
Location: IWEG Drinks Academy
Register Now!
Spanish Wine Scholar - New!
Date: Tuesdays, October 8th - December 10th @ 6:30PM - 8:30PM
Location: IWEG Drinks Academy
Register Now!
Italian Wine Scholar: Northern Italy - Ottawa
Date: Thursdays, September 26th - November 28th @ 7PM - 9PM
Location: Algonquin College, Wine Lab – H Building, Room H-103
Register Now!
Italian Wine Scholar: Central and Southern Italy 
Date: Thursdays, October 3rd - November 28th @ 7PM - 9PM
Location: IWEG Drinks Academy
Register Now!

Distance Learning

Starting soon at IWEG:

WSET Level 1 Award in Wines
Date: Monday, September 9th - Saturday, October 19th 
Location: Online
Register Now!
WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits
Date: Monday, September 9th - Saturday, October 19th 
Location: Online
Register Now!
WSET Level 2 Award in Wines 
Date: Monday, September 30th - Tuesday, November 12th
Location: Online
Register Now!
WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits
Date: Monday, September 30th - Saturday, November 30th
Location: Online
Register Now!
WSET Level 3 Award in Wines
Date: Monday, September 16th - Monday, December 16th
Location: Online
Register Now!
Dates and times subject to change.

Student Corner

Social Media Contest Winner

Congratulations to Shannon O'Brien for winning this month's social media contest! This is Shanon's winning post from her exam prep for the French Wine Scholar.

Here's why you should study spirits

WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits 

WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits is the best way to learn about fundamental production methods and principal raw materials, and discover how they are used to make key spirit styles. Developing your spirits expertise both in terms of breadth and depth of the category will also help you confidently provide guidance on the use and service of spirits and make informed recommendations to customers.

With an ever-growing choice of spirits coming to the Canadian market with more and more people choosing to enjoy distilled drinks, there is a growing need for education to build customer and staff understanding of the liquid inside the bottle.

IWEG's new spirits instructor is Christina Viera, a highly respected and sought after educator from the spirits community. Chosen as one of Imbibe Magazine’s Imbibe 75, she has occupied every front-of-house position (and a couple in the kitchen) while pursuing certifications in wine and beer, even winning a cocktail competition here and there. When not in her present role managing a multi-venue event space, Christina's focus is on industry education, event execution and using the hospitality industry as a catalyst for community engagement and fundraising.

Christina will be teaching a revamped WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits on Mondays, September 3rd - October 7th @ 7PM - 9PM. Sign up now!

Fall Masterclasses

Globetrot key wine regions this fall

Whether you are too busy to visit a wine region this summer or you want to continue your wine adventures into the fall, our masterclasses are an opportunity to taste and learn about current wine topics and classic regions.

Fall Masterclasses 

Wines of Argentina: Cabernets and Red Blends
Wednesday, September 11th

Explore Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with Argentine winemaker and wine writer Joaquin Hidalgo.

VQA Riesling Terroir
Thursday, September 12th

Details to come.

California Pinot Noir
Thursday, September 26th

Discover the super quality and breadth of styles of California Pinot Noir. Led by Eugene Mlynczyk, MW. Presented by the California Wines.

Wines of South Africa
Thursday, October 10th

Taste the wines of Swartland with Mark Kent, winemaker for and partner in South Africa's Boekenhoutskloof winery.

Wines of Austria
Thursday, October 17th

Join John Szabo, MS for an exploration of why Austria’s wines are now highly prized both by wine experts and wine lovers all around the world. Presented by Austrian Wine.

The Unique Wines of Chablis
Wednesday, October 30th

Explore the unique wines of Chablis with Eugene Mlynczyk, MW. Hosted by the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB).

Dates and time subject to change.Sign up now!

Wine Education Week

Test your wine knowledge and tasting skills at IWEG’s inaugural trivia night

Seven days, 450 events across 45 countries – the biggest global consumer wine event ever held. So, whether you’re novice or knowledgeable, mad for Merlot or puzzled by Pinot, Wine Education Week will take you on a journey of discovery. Brought to you by WSET.

The IWEG Wine Quiz
Test your wine knowledge and tasting skills at IWEG’s inaugural trivia night! Hosted by IWEG’s Director of Education Christopher Waters DipWSET, participants will answer WSET questions and identify wines using the Systematic Approach to Tasting for prizes. All skill levels welcomed.

The IWEG Wine Quiz will take place on Monday, September 9th at 6PM. 

Sign up now!

Featured Partners

Thank you to our partners for supporting IWEG's educational programming. For a full list of our partners, visit here.