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Winners for the Spanish Wine Certification Course Are…

Spanish Wine Education CourseAlthough we may have “eluded” to the fact that we were going to choose a single winner for each city the Certified Spanish Wine Course will be held, we’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and thanks to the gracious offer from The Wine Academy of Spain we are able to offer all those who submitted an entry a chance to take the course! Which means, that each one of these fabulous winners will given a 3 day course jam-packed with information on Spanish wine for free!

What’s so great about this scenario is that the information they’ll be given will only be the icing on the cake, because all of these winners are either head-over-heels in love with Spanish wine or have a profound curiosity already, making their attendence one of passion, rather than one of convincing.

And to be quite honest, I’m incredibly envious of their prize, because despite the fact that I live in Iberia and have the ability to speak with winemakers whenever I need to, there is something wonderful about sharing your learning with other like-minded students in a formal classroom. Plus, their teachers are completely immersed in both the culture and the field itself, providing them with a priceless resource to take advantage of. What we’ve learned, like the Spanish language, has come purely from our everyday life experiences, rather than from a pedegogical experience. Granted, both ways of learning are equally valid, but a classroom can provide a strong foundation to build upon, unique onto itself. And with any luck, we’ll all benefit from their learning as they wax on in their blogs about the: major Spanish appellations, various micro-climates, vastly different soils, rich and dramatic history, unique wine styles, and of course, native grape varieties – a favorite topic of mine!

With that, we give all of these winners a huge congratulations and wish them all the luck in the world as they embark on an exciting summer course. If only all things in life were this much fun! Please be sure to click through to their sites and read about why they want to learn about Spanish wine!

Chicago, IL (July 6-8): Erica Green of Bottle of Wine

I feel like I’ve woken the sleeping giant within myself. The giant that loves Spanish wines. Since starting to blog about wine, I’ve found a new interest and fascination with Spanish wines. My interest in the Spanish culture isn’t limited to wine. I’ve become conversational in the Spanish language over the past few years, and developed an appreciation for the rich, savory foods of Spain during a recent trip. The sleeping giant has woken up and there is no putting her back to sleep.

Seattle, Washington (August 3-6): Mike Veseth of Wine Economist

Spain has an unusually rich heritage of native grape varieties, which is both an advantage and an obstacle to be overcome. Unfamiliar varietal names are not an insurmountable barrier, although you won’t know if you like Tempranillo, Albariño and Garnacha and other native grape wines until you try them, so getting consumers to take that first taste or make the first purchase is very important. Appelations are a bigger hurdle. Spain has more than 50 regional appellations – Denominaciones de Origen or DOs – and mastering this system and understanding the differences is a challenge – an educational challenge.

Portland, OH (August 7-10): Pamela Heiligenthal of Enobytes

What first caught my eye about the 3-day certification course was the opportunity to taste more than 50 Spanish wines during the intensive program. If you’re like me and don’t have a copious amount of Spanish wine at your disposal, this would be a great opportunity to sample some remarkable wines while educating your palate.

San Francisco, CA (August 13-15): Kevin Hogan of The Spanish Table

Learning about Spanish wine was like discovering a spare room in your house that you never knew existed. I grew up in a family that drank French wine, end of story. My few attempts at exploring Spanish wine were limited to a few unpleasant experiences with wire mesh wrapped bottles sporting heraldic crests on the labels and containing tired, dusty, brown juice inside. What a revelation it was to find grapes/regions/producers that were previously unknown to me. The broad range of styles encouraged exploration and experimentation. Every night I would take home a new bottle to taste and learn about. My passion for Spanish wine had taken hold.

San Diego, CA (August 17-19): Neil Maiers of Wine Expedition

Our adventure began, naturally, in our own backyards. As Californians, trips to Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara are easily arranged, and so our wine experience started with wines from these regions. The wines we tasted, the people we met, the landscape we took in- it all fueled our passion, and we began to look beyond California, and we discovered wines from France, Italy, Australia and so on. Recently, one of the regions that we’ve been focusing on is Spain. Why? Spanish wines represented uncharted territory; the opportunity to discover new wines is once again a driving force behind WineExpedition. Additionally, Spanish wines are proving to be GREAT WINE VALUES!

Cleveland, OH (August 20-22): Ryan Reichert of Oe-no-phile

After returning [Camino de Santiago], and starting my wine education, it was actually a Spanish wine which inspired me to create o-no-phile. The complex intriguing aromas and flavors ofBaltos Mencía struck me as something I really needed to share with others. Little did I know, but I probably had quite a lot of Mencía while on the Meseta in Spain. It took this one bottle to push me enough to finally start writing. I’ll be ever grateful to that bottle from Bierzo which was an excellent (and extremely tasty) muse.

Washinton DC (August 24-26): Allison Aitken of A Glass After Work

The fact that my girlfriends (and I) had such little exposure to Spanish wine makes me think that they’re probably not the only ones who read “A Glass After Work” who that are missing out on Spanish wines. It’s natural to gravitate towards our comfort zone. Since starting my blog, I’ve tried to push past the wine regions I’m familiar with and explore wines from all over the world, and I’ve discovered a couple of exciting and enjoyable Spanish wines available at very reasonable prices—some of which I’ve already reviewed…I would love to know more so I can find the Spanish wine “gems” and be a better resource for my readers..what better way for me to gain that knowledge than to learn from the best and earn the “Spanish Wine Educators” and “Certificate on Andalusia and its Wines” through the Spanish Wine Education Program.

New York, NY (October 7-9): Katie Pizzuto of Gonzo Gastronomy

Why, they asked, did I wanna learn more about Spanish wine? I could wax eloquent about my Spanish heritage, or go on and on about how Iberian wine is penetrating the US like an enological dagger, but the truth of the matter is that the first wine I ever had that actually brought me to near tears was a Rioja: R. Lopez de Heredia. I bought it on a recommendation from the store owner and eventually came back to personally thank her for having shifted my world. That rioja moved me. It slapped me across the face and said “Pay attention, wench, because it gets no better than this.” THAT is why I long to learn about the country that is capable of producing such a wine.


Gabriella and Ryan Opaz

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