Have you ever thought about signing up for a wine course but couldn’t fit it into your schedule? I have taken a few wine courses through a local college, and it is a significant commitment. The Everyday Guide to Wine Great Course provides offered was a perfect way to brush up on wine fundamentals and extend my knowledge.
Why I Bought “The Everyday Guide To Wine” Great Course
Earlier this year, I listened to and reviewed The Everyday Guide to Wines of France by Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan. It was a wonderful experience (click here to see my full review). In picking up this course, I knew I would enjoy Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan’s approach to wine. I found it fascinating to discover that Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan started her career in corporate finance before switching to the wine industry (I also started my career in banking).
What The Great Course Covers: Overview of The 24 Lectures
Even though I have taken a few college courses on wine, I learned a great deal from the course. My favorite lectures covered buying wine (i.e., lecture 23) and food and wine pairing (i.e., lecture 24).
Get ready for an excellent overview of many different wine topics. To give you a better sense of the topics, here are the topics of each lecture in The Everyday Guide To Wine Great Course.
- Lecture 1: Why Learn About Wine?
- Lecture 2: A Taster’s Tool Kit
- Lecture 3: Winemaking – From Vineyard to Harvest
- Lecture 4: Winemaking – From Harvest to Bottle
- Lecture 5: The Whites: Riesling to Chardonnay
- Lecture 6: The Reds – Pinot Noir to Cabernet
- Lecture 7: Champagne and Other Sparkling Wines
- Lecture 8: Port, Sherry and Other Fortified Wines
- Lecture 9: What to Drink with Dessert
- Lecture 10: French Regions – Bordeaux and Loire
- Lecture 11: French Regions – Burgundy and Alsace
- Lecture 12: French Regions – Rhone, Languedoc, Provence
- Lecture 13: Wines of Northern Italy
- Lecture 14: Wines of Southern Italy
- Lecture 15: The Tastes of Germany and Austria
- Lecture 16: The Tastes of Spain and Portugal
- Lecture 17: U.S. Regions – California
- Lecture 18: U.S. Regions – Washington and Oregon
- Lecture 19: Other U.S. Regions, Mexico and Canada
- Lecture 20: Sampling Argentina and Chile
- Lecture 21: The Best of Australia and Tasmania
- Lecture 22: Wines of New Zealand and South Africa
- Lecture 23: Becoming a Knowledgeable Wine Buyer
- Lecture 24: Wine for Any Occasion and Any Food
The Everyday Guide to Wine Course Guidebook: An Excellent Resource
When you buy a Great Course through Audible, there is usually an accompanying PDF resource. In some cases, these PDF resources are short with minimal information. That’s why I was pretty impressed to find a 168 page PDF with this course. The PDF gives several pages of notes and commentary for each of the course’s 24 lectures. You will also find a complete list of the wines tasted through the course so you can easily organize a wine tasting party based on the course’s suggestions.
Which Specific Wines Are Covered In The Great Course (French and California Wines)?
In nearly every lecture, Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan introduces you to multiple wines from a region. Further, she helps you to understand the wines by presenting them in contrast. To her credit, the lecturer suggests a mix of wines: some are widely available, and some may be more difficult to find.
French Wines From Bordeaux and Loire
Let’s take a closer look at the recommended wines from lecture 10 (French regions – Bordeaux and Loire) and see how much these wines would cost to buy today.
- Domaine Toussaint Vouvray. Available on Wine-searcher.com for $19.99
- Domaine des Grandes Perrières Sancerre. Available on Wine-searcher.com for $18.97 for the 2020 vintage.
- Domaine de la Semellerie Chinon. I could not locate this wine on wine-searcher, so it might be more challenging for you to find it at your local store.
- Château Oliver Pessac-Léognan Grand Cru Classé de Graves . Expect to pay over $32 per bottle for this wine.
- Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron Paulliac. This wine typically sells for more than $100 per bottle ($119 was the lowest price I found on wine-searcher).
- Château Trotte Vielle Premier Grand Cru Classé Saint-Émilion. This wine typically sells for $70 or more on wine-searcher.
If you bought all of the recommended wines for lecture 10, you would spend at least $259. If you are on a $100 budget, you could buy just the first three wines and still benefit from the course.
Wines From California
What if you prefer to explore the California wine suggestions covered in the course? Let’s see what is recommended and what those wines cost.
- Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Prices start at $42.98 per bottle on wine-searcher.
- Château Lynch-Moussas Pauillac AC Grand Cru Classé,Bordeaux, France. A 2019 vintage from this winery is available for $33.95 on wine-searcher. A Grand Cru vintage would likely be more expensive.
- Sequoia Grove Chardonnay, Carneros. Prices start at $19.99 on wine-searcher.
- Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley. Prices for this wine start at $24.95 per bottle on wine-searcher.
- Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Valley. Expect to pay about $13.99 per bottle to pick up a bottle from this winery at a minimum.
- BearBoat Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley. Expect to pay $20.99 per bottle, according to Drizly.
- St. Francis Pagani Vineyard Old Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley. Prices for this California wine start at $21 per bottle.
Buying all of the bottles covered in the California lecture would cost approximately $177. You could pick up three or four wines for less than $100 to start a tasting as an alternative.
The Everyday Guide To Wine: Strengths and Weaknesses
Let’s look at the product’s strengths and weaknesses of The Everyday Guide To Wine Great Course in summary so you can make an informed choice.
- Robust coverage of Old World Wines: multiple lectures cover French wines and Italian wines. There was a moderate amount of coverage for Austrian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese wines.
- Good coverage of American wines. The course covers well-known American wines from the Pacific coast like California, Oregon, and Washington State. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Great Course covered
- The Everyday Guide to Wine Course Guidebook. I’ve bought over half a dozen Great Courses on Audible, and this PDF resource is far above average. You are getting a 168-page digital textbook which means you don’t have to take notes through each lecture frantically.
- Classical Music. Every lecture starts with a short piece of classical music (usually “Spring” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons). I loved this aspect of the course, but it helped me immerse myself in the refined world of wine. If you don’t like classical music, don’t worry – the music interludes are less than 30 seconds in each lecture.
- The Everyday Guide to Wine Course Guidebook. The lack of color photos and illustrations in the course guidebook is a weakness. The guidebook also has a helpful annotated bibliography of further reading. However, it does not include any examples of digital resources like wine podcasts, websites, or magazines.
- Food and Wine Pairing. With only one lecture on this topic, this felt a bit on the light side. That said, the course provided helpful principles (e.g., the principle of contrasting vs. complementing) so that the reader can come up with their own decisions. Given the sheer amount of food wine pairing questions people ask, it would have been better to have more than one lecture on the topic.
Should You Buy The Everyday Guide To Wine Great Course?
There are three kinds of people who would likely enjoy this course.
1. If you have been on a visit to wine country and want to deepen your knowledge, this course will serve as a good introduction.
2. If you have ever felt uncomfortable confused by wine terms, this Great Course will equip you. 3. Third, I would recommend this Great Course as a way to discover wine suggestions so you can host wine tastings at home.
The Great Course is aimed mainly at wine beginners, so if you have intermediate or advanced wine knowledge, this course would not be a good fit for you.