Up Your Wine Game: San Diego Enthusiasts Drop Knowledge
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September 23, 2015 1:12 p.m.
Up Your Wine Game: San Diego Wine Enthusiasts Drop Knowledge
Lindsay Pomeroy, owner and chief wine educator, Wine Smarties
Michele Parente, dining and lifestyle reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune
Related Story: Up Your Wine Game: San Diego Enthusiasts Drop Knowledge
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This is KPBS midday edition I am Maureen Cavanaugh. With so much interest lately in San Diego's vibrant craft beer industry, wine tasting and one connoisseurship have taken a bit of a back seat. But interest in learning about wine and curiosity about new regional wines has never really diminished, in fact, the wine smarties school in San Diego is offering courses for people searching for certification in wine connoisseur. People think that learning about wine as a snooty ambition, but everyone can learn about the joys of the grape. Joining me is Lindsay Pomeroy, Michele Parente is a dining reporter. Thank you for coming in.
Now Lindsay, what is the fun and learning about wine. Why can't you just enjoy your drinking a.
You can absolutely just enjoy drinking it. When you start to learn about wine, you learned there are so many styles and types out there. In fact I would argue that you enjoy it more. Because you are never going to be bored. There's always something new to try. I think the learning is the fun part quite frank the.
So Michelle called what kind of questions you get from your readers about wine?
I get the same question as I do about restaurants. What is my favorite. I never have a pat answer for that. With every circumstance, there is a different wine that goes with it. If I am on the balcony, and it is a hot summer night, one a beautiful children's a, if I'm grilling I want to Cabernet with my steak, etc. It is a variance and a fine answer for people copy that is the answer that I have.
Are you saying that an increase in -- are you seeing an increase in wine interests?
Absolutely. We had people becoming much more knowledgeable about wine, that has always been the case. It is producing this whole sort of affect where they are having wine tastings, and wine dinners, and bringing winemakers and, and more their customers are getting interested. And that is snowballing, and people are holding their own wine tasting sessions in their own homes.
Lindsay, how is the San Diego wine market differ from other cities in California.
San Diego is an interesting market, because we don't have the prestige of Napa, or Sonoma, within our fingertips. I feel the consumer particularly the younger consumers I've noticed, are truly open-minded to trying any wind it -- any wine across the world. They have been driving the interest and sparkling wines, and rosé's, and they are trending in San Diego. I see, a dynamic fun open-minded consumer here in San Diego. We do not have the history that other regions have, so I think that is a huge advantage.
Now Lindsay, some of these courses seem to be for pretty hard-core wine enthusiasts. What we have is a level III advanced certification what in the world does that mean speaker --'s A --
Wine educators, or the level to course that I teach, you have to have some sort of foundation coal --, you might be a collector so you understand the styles around the world, my beginning program that starts next month is more for people who do not have that foundation yet. So there are quite a bit of advanced levels students here in San Diego not from just foremost student -- foremost schooling, but also collecting.
Short of going to school how can you educate yourself about it.
First of all drink wine. It sounds simple, but a lot of people way to go to a party, or a restaurant, pick up a bottle your grocery store or your favorite wine shop, talk to the people who work there, tell them what you are having for dinner, because learning had a pair wine and food is half the fun of drinking wine. And then bring it home and see how it works. Maybe you like it, maybe you did not. All of the wine shops in San Diego have tastings. San Diego wine company for example hold one every single weekend, there was always one with a do a variety of all of the new bottles. They will do things, -- themes. They will compare regions, they will have knowledgeable people talking about them. And then we are so lucky we live in California, go to wine country. If you cannot afford to spend a weekend in Napa, go around San Diego, if you can take some time and go into Mexico, go to Santa Barbara, go to all of these undiscovered wine regions that are emerging also. We are so fortunate.
You write, the Michelle going to the wineries is here. It is different in Baja thing going in Napa not only because of the different wines you'll find, but because it is new. It is not as well travel tell us about that.
Well, there is a level of intimacy there and in, -- and in Baja that you cannot get in Napa. If you want to spend $100 for private testing -- tasting, and you can do that the you are still my Ganymede the owner -- and you are not going to meet the owner. But here, this past Saturday, I was at the facility in Sorrento Mesa in the middle of an industrial park, and there they were, pouring wine talking to the few customers who found their way there, it's in the back of the wine cellar. And they were explaining how the harvest went just this past week. They were drying samples from the juice that is being fermented, and you just don't get that kind of intimacy. And it is in your own backyard.
And Lindsay what made you want to become an expert in wine. What piqued your interest.
That is a tough one. I love the subject matter as a whole. I love the social aspect to wine, it is fun, it is an experience that is shared with other people first and foremost. In that sense it brings people together whether you are in Baja meeting new winemakers or in Napa, or in your own home with guests. I love the social aspect of it. I think that is great. I also love intellectually, it is such a vast, deep subject matter. You kinky out on clones, which sounds very boring to most people, super nerdy. And you can spend days and months on and -- on a topic. It encompasses the business aspect of the way down to the grapevine. In everything between. So, I think for that reason combined it makes a very fun subject.
Me ask you then, with your very prodigious knowledge of wine and how it grows, is San Diego, is this region a good reason for winegrowing.
Yes. I think we have some interesting water, care water. Is this soil paired with water. And climate. We have sandstone, soils, diatomaceous earth, and granite-based. Anyway, they get a Marine influence and the and -- elevation. And that combats heat. And water. But, if you look at the vine a new study it, if you look at across the world, you see the grapes are grown in Israel. Rates are grown in hot drive basis. We are a hot, dry, place. There is potential for wind. We are new to the industry, we are not Napa, we are not for Joe with a been doing this for hundreds of years, we do not know the perfect combination for what works, but we well. I think there is tremendous potential.
A lot of people think that price equals quality. When it comes to wine. Are they correct?
Absolutely not. That is part of the beauty , and discovery of wine. You can find wines for under $10 that maybe it's not the most memorable wine you've ever had, but it could be delicious for that moment. And on a Tuesday night, when you are putting some pasta on the table, why not. Is there a correlation sometimes, you really can't tell the difference between a very expensive wine and an inexpensive wine. Last week for example, I wrote about a super Tuscan, and I got a bottle in my wine cellar that is not going to be touched for another 15 years, it is very expensive. It has a baby label, and it is $30. $30 is not cheap, but you can get an incredible bottle of wine for $30. Is not as textured, or memorable, but it is delicious. Learning about local wind is that basically destroys your palate for cheap wine?
I'm going to be honest. And say watching my students come to me before they are taken any courses with me, and watching them at the ends, they all tell me, Lindsay what have you done to me. Now I am buying wine that I now normally would not by. Which a thing is awesome. But yes, that's what happens you start learning about wine, is you want to try all of these things that you've studied. So you end up spending more just on principle because there are so many grapes , and regions around the world to try. And some regions are more expensive periods. Like Burgundy, that is a region where there are many diverse options, with small crops. There is a business situation were supply and demand do not match up, and that affects the price. So, if you want to try a Burgundy right now you are looking at a minimum of $30 just to get anything that is mildly drinkable. For white Burgundies, there is an excellent value for you can get under $30 bottles. I only drink a Burgundy on a dime. I can see people writing things down.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make about wine do you think.
Drinking too much, because then they associate wine with maybe a bad experience. I personally think the biggest mistake you can make is being a slave to critics, and their system. Drinking wine is so subjective, there is an intimidation factor, that people feel, and they do not want to ask questions because they do not want to seem stupid, so you should always ask questions. Because wine people want to do nothing but talk about wine and drink wine. So ask as many questions as you can. I think we are finding that out. But people will again, the of nervous and intimidated, they will pick up the wine spectator, or this publication or that publication, and then they will go to the store and buy exactly what this one critic said. And less you have the palate it is 100% like that wine critic, you are never going to agree, and a lot of wine critics they taste much wine that they are palate -- their palates are busted. They cannot distinguish between subtle elegant wines and these big juicy red powerhouses. So those are the ones they get the high scores and then that's what everybody tends to oh well he said this so we have to go get that.
I will leave this Lindsay with you telling us when your next class will begin at Wine Smarties.
My next class, my next serious course for beginners, starts October 27, but my next general anyone can come sort of classic someone to come for an hour, is mid-October. And that is at Wine Smarties. Lindsay and Michelle thank you so much.
Be sure to watch KPBS evening edition at 630 tonight and join us again tomorrow for discussions on midday edition here on KPBS. I am more in common thank you for listening.