April 29, 2013

Holiday wine camp?

What about spending a week or two at a winery or with a grape grower? Wouldn't that be heaven for a wine geek? To live and learn wine in practice. An ultimate solution to enhance the knowledge of wine. And probably a very good one when it comes to remember the learnings.

The interest in food and wine seems to increase for each year. Thus not surprising that so many are attracted to wine tastings, wine classes and other events with knowledge replenishment as the common denominator. Wine can be so much more than just an enjoyable beverage. There are so much to learn. The history of wine, geography, grapes, chemistry, and so on. When the knowledge grows, presumably will also the ability to appreciate the wine even more do so too. And, not least, my experience is that knowledge nourishes friendship and pleasant social events around wine, and vice verse.

If I want to increase my knowledge, what are then my options? I want sustainable knowledge. I want to remember when I need it. For example when in a store and spontaneously want to buy a bottle. That name on the label in front of me, is it a wine from a renowned einzellage or is it from a large grosslage and thus probably a much more simple alternative? Or when at a tasting I want to through myself into the discussion about the wines and the effects of different winemaking techniques.

20%, so much (or little!) is considered to be remembered when we see and hear something, i.e. the usual situation when we listen to someone holding a lecture illustrated by some power points. Also a common situation when theoretical knowledge is imparted in wine class. At home, when distractedly reading a wine book, the risk is high that even less will be remembered.

What about multiplying the chance to remember with four? To achieve 80%, we need to make practical use of what we have learnt. Thus, in a wine class about winemaking, we ought to make some wine. Perhaps not that easy, but there could be other ways for the genuinely interested. (Now you can guess where I am heading, don't you? Yes, yes - the wine camp. It is coming, soon. Just let me develop my thinking.)

Myself, I prefer learning in a context of enjoyable experiences together with friends and wine enthusiasts. What are then the alternatives? My simplified learning/social experience matrix proposes four levels; grey, blue, green and golden yellow. What do we find on each level?

Both learning and the enjoyable experience tends to be low when sitting home, alone with the wine book. Grey, grey... inevitably down in the grey swamp in the bottom of the matrix. Just lifted up a tiny bit by a glass of good wine, poured to illustrate what I am trying to learn.

If I attend a wine class, or some other ordinary tasting held together with a lecture, I hopefully climb up into the blue field. Nice to be among other wine friends and a little bit more stays in my brain. Especially if the presenter speaks vividly and pedagogically and really ties the theoretical theme to the practical tasting. Can she/he season with personal experiences and anecdotes, the event will be even more informative. If the presentation is made by the winemaker her/himself, and there are opportunities for questions and discussion, then it can be really awarding.

To reach the green cloud, then I have to get out in the world of wine. To travel and visit producers. To see with my own eyes, talk, absorb the atmosphere. If I travel with an expert guide, especially if it is my first visit to the area, then the experience becomes even better. Informed visits and discussions with winemakers and growers increase learning even more. And the enjoyable experience will usually be great when spending time with like-minded.

How can I then reach the golden yellow sun in the upper right-hand corner? Where learning and enjoyable experience will be at the highest by making things. Out in the wide world of wine not just to see, meet and discuss. But also to try in practice. And at the same time get a wonderful experience for life.

Well, imagine if you could be an intern a week or two at a winery where the people love to share their knowledge. To be able to live and learn wine in practice. A kind of wine camp for grown ups. I would love it.

When will I see the first agency for "holiday wine internships" to wine geeks on the internet? A new business idea? Or is there already someone working with such a concept out there?

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