Rivers and wine go hand in hand. From the physiological condition of grapevines to the traditional shipping channels for finished products, it’s a holistic union that begins with A and ends with Z. Think: the Douro, the Rhine, the Loire, the Po. This symbiotic relationship is not simply limited to the Old World. California’s Russian River Valley is one of the most renowned and beloved grape- and wine-producing regions in the United States and the Murray River is essential to the survival of the burgeoning wine industry in Australia.
We’ll begin by looking at the why and where of grape growing in some of these river regions. Why are river systems beneficial to grape ripeness and final wine quality? What is it about their location, climate, and terroir that help to produce the stressed vines that are so coveted?
Of course, what rivers give, they take away, so we’ll also discuss the drawbacks of river region grape-growing, notably, the unpredictable nature of weather, flooding, and the very real possibility of losing an entire vineyard (or industry) in a particularly nasty year.
Throughout the course, we will study both the rivers and the wines produced in their midsts. No wine experience necessary as Wine 101 will be covered. A $40 fee, payable to the instructor at the first class, will cover the cost of wine for all sessions.
Jason Kallsen has been LearningLife’s lead wine instructor for more than a decade. A passionate wine lover and Certified Sommelier, Kallsen has operated Twin Cities Wine Education since 1998, through which he teaches classes, and consults with and trains retailers and restaurant professionals throughout the country. He is featured regularly in the media, including in an appearance on the international broadcast of “Performance Today,” during which he paired wines with classical music. His mantra: “Wine education without intimidation.”