By The Glass
Wine enthusiasts and professionals welcome at upcoming courses
WHEN I'M asked how I learned about wine, I often joke that it takes practice, practice, practice, and a lot of swallowing here and there. Actually, like most people, I consider wine education to be a challenge.
How do you accurately describe something that is constantly in a fluid state? Wine is like a living thing with its own life cycle. In infancy, wine can be very fresh and restrained; when adolescent, it can exhibit richness and structure; in maturity, turn harmonious and flowing; in decline, delicate and memorable.
As such, learning about wine will always be for me a work in progress. Never fully comprehended, wine can only be referenced at a point and time in its life -- not unlike a snapshot.
I believe that for the most part, we select an occupation and immerse ourselves in it. I did exactly that. I read, studied and tasted constantly to build my knowledge.
Early on, I was taught to read wine publications and find one that I could relate to -- paying attention to the descriptions and adjectives used. Once I learned how to best translate what my senses were telling me, I found myself more comfortable with understanding and enjoying wine. It was very much like learning a new language.
Fortunately, I had two great teachers, Richard Field and master sommelier Chuck Furuya. Richard always said, "You can call me anytime if you have any questions," and there were late evenings when I did take him up on that.
Whether it was 11 p.m. or 2 a.m., he always made good on his offer -- calmly and collectedly. Chuck encouraged me to take my knowledge to the next level and helped me to understand structure, balance and principles of quality.
IN APRIL there will be two great opportunities for learning about wine right here in the islands. Both these courses are geared not just for the professional, but for wine amateurs and enthusiasts alike:
Certified Specialist of Wine course: The Society of Wine Educators, established in 1977, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering wine knowledge among consumers and all levels of the trade.
This entry-level course for society members covers five subjects, among them wine production and tasting. It is tentatively set for April 4, with an examination to follow on April 6.
For membership information, visit the Web site www.wine.gurus.com. Current members may register through Don Kinnan via e-mail, dikinnan@kobrand. com. Seating is limited, so make your plans early.
Introductory Sommelier course: The internationally recognized Court of Master Sommeliers offers this well-rounded course in wine education and service, scheduled for April 1 and 2 at the Pacific Beach Hotel.
The course will be presented by four master sommeliers, including Hawaii's Roberto Viernes and Chuck Furuya. The course covers service basics, wine regions of the world and blind tasting.
Contact Viernes, wine educator at Southern Wines & Spirits, via e-mail at email@example.com or visit the Web site www.mastersommeliers.org.
Kevin Toyama is manager of the Beretania R. Field Wine Co. and an advanced certificate holder from the Court of Master Sommeliers. This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals.
This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org