Appreciating, Collecting, and Understanding Wine

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Duration 01:14:38

Culinary Institute of America

William Schragis lectures at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley and is the Chief Product Innovation Officer at Barrell Craft Spirits. A graduate of Wesleyan University and the Culinary Institute of America, he previously worked as a sommelier in Eli Zabar’s family of restaurants and wine shops, and at Zachy’s Retail and Auction — one of the world’s leading fine wine and spirits retailers — where he managed sales and purchasing for the spirits department.




Wine is truly unique in world history. It is made to be enjoyed, but so much of what makes it special can seem inaccessible. This class will cover the basics of wine in the world today and discuss what is exciting and popular from the perspective of the Budding Enthusiast, Business Insider, and Seasoned Collector. It is collected and cared for obsessively by some—and consumed casually by many more.

Why are some wines so much more expensive than other wines? Is it the way they are made? Is it purely supply and demand? Learning about exactly how wine is bought, sold, studied and consumed involves a variety of related subjects: world history, international trade law, fine art auction rules, and even anti-trust law. Our instructor, William Schragis, believes that there is almost nothing objective about what makes us enjoy one bottle over another. Instead, it is more a combination of what type of satisfaction are we looking for. The more you “get into” wine, the more you come to enjoy it, at any price point or level of acclaim.

The students in this class will learn to dispel some of the myths of the wine industry and share some favorite fun facts and anecdotes, such as: Did you know that one of the most expensive wines in the world, Château Pétrus, is made primarily out of the grape Merlot? And did you know that the movie Sideways actually decimated the demand for Merlot in America for many years? Rarely acknowledged Gap’s Crown Vineyard in Sonoma has no brand or release of its own, but produces the grapes used for some of the most delicious and collectable wines that come out of California. Students will learn about some under-the-radar true “gems” that are underappreciated and often wonderfully affordable!




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