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May's Workshop at Dedalus Wine Shop

October 30, 2019

If you’ve never been to a workshop or event at Dedalus Wine Shop, Market, & Wine Bar, we highly recommend it. Their staff is very knowledgeable, they carry a wide range of wines (including VT wines), they serve delicious food, and they make learning incredibly fun.

We partnered with Dedalus to host a VT Wine 101 class for restaurant and bar staff in May 2019. Ashley Bryant (event manager) and Brittany Galbraith (wine director) modeled the class after their Wine 101 educational series, but with a VT focus. Attendees learned the building blocks of wine, breaking down the individual components, identifying them, and using vocabulary to help customers identify wines they would like tableside. 

Brittany led the session and started by walking participants through a tasting of the main components of wine in isolation. The tables were set with items portraying acidity, tannin, sugar, alcohol, and oak. These different components relate to various parts of the grape (stem, skin, seed, pulp) and are influenced by the grape varietal, the vineyard site, and winemaker decisions. While sampling vinegar, for example, participants learned where acidity comes from in the grape, how we sense it in our mouth, what it contributes to in the final wine, what wines we especially find it in, and what words are normally used to describe it.

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Armed with this knowledge, participants then tasted five VT wines, one at a time, to practice tasting and describing. Everyone had a tasting booklet where they could take notes, rating the wine, describing it, noting what other wines are like it, marking the sweetness from dry to sweet, the body from light to full, etc.

  • La Garagista Ci Confonde, 2017 - this white sparkling wine of VT is from the Briana grape and attendees noted it was aromatic, floral (honeysuckle), fruity, reminded them of stinky tropical fruit or spinning pineapple into cotton candy.
  • Lincoln Peak Vineyard La Crescent - this white wine was described as zippy, crisp, clean, refreshing, and made some think of stone fruit or dried lavender.
  • Iapetus Tectonic - this is also from La Crescent grape, but attendees were able to sample a completely different style, learning what “natural” wine means.
  • Montpelier Vineyards Petite Pearl - we then finished with two different red wines. Petite Pearl is a cold-hardy grape producing a dark red wine with lower acidity and higher tannin levels.
  • Lincoln Peak Vineyard Marquette - an easy to drink red wine, folks noted black currant or cherry flavors with a little bit of spice and smooth tannins.

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Participants learned that acid is the backbone of wine and that Vermont wines can be higher in acid because of our cool climate. Acidic wines cut fat in food, which is why champagne and fried chicken go so well together!

These wines are great examples of what is happening in the Vermont wine scene right now. Brittany discussed natural wines in particular, as they are currently very popular. She explained “pied de cuvée” and the concept of collecting native yeasts (similar to bread baking and feeding natural starters).

Survey responses from attendees were very positive. The content seemed well aligned to attendee knowledge and most reported they learned a lot. There was a call for learning more about food & wine pairings, as well as hearing directly from the winemakers to better tell the VT wine story to customers and guests.

Want to learn more? Attend an upcoming workshop:

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