DIS European Wine Tasting Class

This week I want to talk about one of my favorite experiences this semester. It’s a class I’m taking… on wine. Yes, DIS offers a wine tasting class each semester! The class consists of six amazing sessions taught by the one and only, Russ, a great teacher and source of knowledge on all things wine. 

I decided to sign up for the class because I wanted to learn more about how to talk about wine, beyond just “red or white.” I love all things food (if you couldn’t tell from other blog posts relating to my food experiences this semester already), and I was excited to learn how to pick out flavors in wine and then be able to pair them with what I’m eating. Beyond this, the class is a really great opportunity to just have a good time with fellow DIS students, who also know pretty much nothing about wine. 

The class is limited to approximately twenty students, and there are two sections offered. Each of the six meetings has a different theme or region it focuses on. For example, we had nights focusing specifically on France, then Italy, then Spain and Portugal… etc. The final class is a blind tasting on everything you’ve learned throughout the semester, and it’s really fun to test all your new knowledge with everyone else in the class. We try six wines in each meeting, which is quite a bit, but allows you to compare and contrast all the different flavors going on. We also get to eat with our wine, and every week there is an amazing array of cheese, bread, meat, dips and spreads, fruits and veggies, and various other yummy things. There is always a jar of Nutella, which everyone learned goes really well on some bread and paired with the red wines we try.

In order to maximize our learning for each wine, Russ gives us booklets to take notes in, specific to each class. These booklets have the names of all the wine we try, plus a guide to trying the wines. Russ focuses on four S’s: see, sniff, sip, and savor. We work through these four S’s by identifying what aromas and flavors we smell and taste in the wine, and the booklet can be used to help with this process.  

Overall, the class was one of the best decisions I made about this semester abroad, and has been a great part of my study abroad experience. It costs $250 for the six sessions, which honestly is a good price for how much you get out of these classes, especially compared with the price of a similar class in back in the U.S. Overall, if anyone reading this is coming abroad to DIS next semester and considering taking the class, my advice is to DO IT. I was hesitant to sign up because I had no clue what it would be like or how fancy/hard wine tasting would be, but it was seriously a highlight of every week and I made some great friends in the class. Anyways, until next post, cheers! Or should I say, Skål!

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