Swirl, Sniff, Sip, and Spit

If you think Kendall is one of the original Jackson Five, you need help. If you think a sommelier is someone who walks in his sleep; or that “the crush” describes the Novato Narrows at peak commute time; or that phylloxera is a punk-thrash band, you need help. And if you think all zinfandels are pink, all sauvignons are blanc, and all pinots are red, you really do need help now. It can be embarrassing to live in the Wine Country and not know your Alsace from your merlot. But fret not–there are several ways to empower yourself with the mystical knowledge of viticulture (that’s vino talk to you, bub). The Sonoma County Wineries Association frequently teams up with local wine educators to present classes for those who’re a little green about the grape. Or you can enroll in a wine class, such as component tasting, at Santa Rosa Junior College. There are also on-going winetasting classes at the Applewood Inn in Guerneville (869-9093). Many North Bay restaurants, cooking schools, and wineries hold events that feature food and wine pairing. Then there’s also the world-renowned Sonoma County Wine Library, which boasts a vast collection of books, pamphlets, magazines, films, and local records, all relating in some way to wine, wineries, or the Wine Country in general. Here are a few ways to pop the cork on Wine 101:

Sonoma County

Benziger Family Winery tour 1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. 935-0300

Mistral Restaurant 1229 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa. 578-4511.

Ramekins Sonoma Valley Culinary School 450 W. Spain St., Sonoma. 933-0450.

Santa Rosa Junior College 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. 527-4237.

Sonoma County Tourism Program 520 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. 565-5383.

Sonoma County Wine and Visitors Center 5000 Roberts Lake Road, Rohnert Park. 586-3795.

Sonoma County Wine Library 139 Piper St., Healdsburg. 433-3772.

Sonoma County Wineries Association 5000 Roberts Lake Road, Rohnert Park. 586-3795.

Napa County

Culinary Institute of America Marketplace 2555 Main St., St. Helena. 967-2309.

Napa Cooking School 1088 College Ave., St. Helena. 967-2930.

Napa Wine Train 1275 McKinstry St., Napa. 253-2111.

Napa Valley Conference and Visitors Bureau 1310 Town Center, Napa. 226-7459.

From the July 20-26, 2000 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

© Metro Publishing Inc.

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