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Course Descriptions for Wine/Beer Tasting Classes

Posted on May 21st, 2008 by Fran Myers, OLLI National Resource Center

RuthAnn McCarthy Sirbaugh of Oklahoma State University asks:

After the OLLI Conference, I realized we have some serious wine-lovers in our midst. Is anyone willing to share their course descriptions for a wine-tasting or wine-pairing class? Has anyone offered a class on Microbrewery?

OLLI @ Oklahoma State University is developing a ‘Cultivation of Taste’ series and we would like to offer classes on wine-pairing or wine-tasting, microbreweries, and coffee. We advertised a ‘Chocolate Connoisseur’ class to be offered this summer and we immediately filled all three classes and have a waiting list. We also have one Chocolate Class set aside for Vice-President’s, Deans, etc. to serve as an introduction to our program.

5 Responses to “Course Descriptions for Wine/Beer Tasting Classes”

  1. We haven’t offered these types of classes in our OLLI but our sister program does. You can view their courses at

    Click on the Food and Wine category in the list on the right.

  2. We have offered this class each summer for three years; very popular and good partnership with Total Wine and More whose staff leads the class at their store classroom; includes generous wine tasting and of course students are able to purchase wine there.

    The Art, Science, History and Tastes of Wine
    This popular summer course, updated for 2008, will explore the many dimensions of wine and will include wine tasting and tour of Total Wine operation.
    Note: This class meets off-campus at Total Wine and More

  3. We have a member who is a student of wine and loves leading courses. He’s done several versions; this is one course description and the books he used that time. (Below). The courses are very popular.

    The backbone of the course will be the history and culture of wine in the United States using American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine by Paul Lukacs as a narrative and discussion vehicle. How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine by Jancis Robinson will be the primary study vehicle. It will provide a disciplined approach to what is involved in tasting wine and a detailed exposition of the major grape types, where they are best grown, and the various wine-making techniques that are used for them. We will study the history of wine in the U.S.; understand the cultural context of wine as it has evolved over the years; gain an appreciation for the processes and technologies that go into grape growing and wine making (Viniculture and Enology); gain an understanding of which grape types and geographical areas are involved in wine making; and learn what factors are involved in tasting and evaluating different wines. There will be comparisons of quality, grape types, wine making techniques, prices, and areas of wine making, e.g., Long Island, New York, Texas, Napa Valley, etc. Members will be assigned one or two wine types to try with an appropriate food and report back to the group for discussion. Members will be encouraged to attend wine tasting at stores and at the Study Group Leader’s home. A wine-tasting tour will take place.

    (R) Jancis Robinson, How to Taste – A Guide to Enjoying Wine. ISBN 0-7432-1677-6. Simon & Schuster. Second Edition. 2000. $25.
    (S) Paul Lukacs: American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine. ISBN 0-395-91478-7. Houghton Mifflin Co. First Edition. 2000. $26.

  4. 2213 Wine Appreciation
    Current information on global wine industry. Emphasis on good value wines. Guests with wine tastings at many sessions.
    Moderator: Mary Fruehwald, owner of the Wine Store for 11 years; member and certified wine judge of American Wine Society.

  5. #5 by: Matt Weidman

    We will be offering both a Wine Appreciation and Beer Brewing course this fall. While the course description for our Wine Appreciation class has not been finalized yet, I have included the course description for beer brewing below. I hope this information helps.

    Beer Brewing Basics for Boomers and Beyond

    Day: Wednesday
    Fall A

    Time: 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm

    The course is designed to discuss beer from its earliest beginning to the present. Students will learn about the basic ingredients of beer and the fermentation process. They will also make beer and bottle it. To enhance the experience, students, over 21 years of age, will have the opportunity to taste it!

    David Tucker
    BS, Drexel University; MBA, University of New Haven; M.Ed, WidenerUniversity

    David is a retired professor of Hospitality Management at Widener University with years of experience teaching bartending and beverage management.

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