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OC Wine School Courses

Scheduled courses are about 2 hours long and are conducted at the following locations:

Back Bay Bistro at the Newport Dunes- 1st Thursday of every month!
1131 Back Bay Drive
Newport Beach, Ca 92660

Giracci Vineyards & Farms
16162 Jackson Ranch Road, Silverado, CA 92676

Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery
2128 Mesa Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Classes start at just $75 per person and include 6-8 wines, hors d' oeuvres and informational tasting booklet.
Please inquire about our multiple class discounts for as little as $49 per class!

Advance reservations and payment is required. OC Wine School accepts cash, checks, credit cards and paypal.
Cancellation Policy: Exchanges allowable if advanced notice of 48 hours is received in writing. No Refunds.

Down Under - Aussie and NZ specialties
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New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc? Aussie Shiraz? These may be the varietals that put the countries "down under" on the world wine map, but there's a lot more to this part of the world. Join us as we explore the different regions within these countries, and find out how diverse they are. From climate to geography, elevation to latitude, learn how these factors have helped to shape the flavors that make the character of antipodean wines. As we taste our way through representative varietals and blends, we'll talk about the way the wine business works for these countries, the differences between them, and in the process dispel some of the common misconceptions about southern hemisphere wines.

Includes appetizers, 6-8 wines and tasting booklet.



Pinot Noir vs. Burgundy
Back Bay Bistro
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Same Grape, Different Region -
 what makes the Difference?

Burgundy is all about "terroir", and Pinot Noir is the perfect grape to learn what that really means. We will compare Pinot Noirs from different parts of the world to Burgundy and each other, and discover how the grape's character is shaped by where it's grown. You'll come away with an understanding of the regions of Burgundy, its appellation and classification system, as well as valuable knowledge of other regions and what to expect from their Pinot-based wines. Burgundy fans will discover some different but excellent alternatives as we follow this grape around the world.
Includes appetizers, 6-8 wines and tasting booklet.

Hot weather reds, whites and roses
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A rich Rhone or a big and bold Bordeaux may be great for a cold winter's night, but it's not always the best choice when it's 98 degrees in the shade! But you needn't think you're doomed to drink insipid "pool wine" all summer, either. We will show you how to pair the right choice of wines to go with both the warm weather, and the food that you'll be eating as you enjoy the summer sun. Wines can have substance, complexity and body, without being "heavy", and discovering the nuances of flavor and aromas in these wines can open your tastebuds in a different way. Summer wines come in many styles - red, white or pink, crisp or delicate, still or with a touch of frizzante... with this class you'll be set for the rest of the summer!

Includes appetizers, 6-8 wines and tasting booklet.


Introduction to Wine Tasting
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Wine selection and handling basics
Tasting technique
Introduction to popular red and white varietals
Labels and how to read them
Learning to listen to your senses and trust yourself


Wine & Food Pairing
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Food choices with different wine varietals/regions
Menu selection with wine
The best foods to eat with wine
Recipes and pairing suggestions to take home with you


Wines of Italy- Piedmonte & Tuscany 
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We compare and contrast the two most famous regions of Italy; Piedmonte in the north-west, and Tuscany half-way down the Mediterranean coast. Learn about the different grapes from each region, how the wines are classified and regulated, what to expect from a Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, Chianti or Supertuscan. Find out why the Maremma region of Tuscany has become one of Europe’s “hottest” wine regions in recent years, and what happened to turn the around the quality of Chianti since it wallowed in the doldrums of the 60’s and 70’s. Italy has more wine regions than you can shake a stick at, but this is an introduction to two of the major ones – with a few tips about other parts thrown in as we go!

Includes appetizers, 6-8 wines and tasting booklet.


Intermediate Wine Tasting- Regions
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Regions and Varietals of the World

Understanding world wine regions, varietals and blends
Old & New World wines: contrast and compare
Overview of regional styles, history and trends
What the label means in different countries.

Includes appetizers, 6-8 wines and tasting booklet.

Advanced Tasting, Red and White Wine 
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Regions and Varietals
Varietal vs. Regions – compare & contrast
Match grapes to regions – traditional & new world
Faults – cork, TCA, oxidization, vinegar
Cellaring & handling of old wines, recorking

Bordeaux vs. California Meritage Tasting
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Bordeaux vs Meritage – not just a copycat style.
We will look at the history of these two regional wines; one that goes back centuries, and the other that celebrated its first quarter-century last year. Though both are blends of grapes (both red and white) that are traditional in the Bordeaux region, the style of each is truly based on its own region, and the end result can cover a wide range of styles. As is often the case with wine, these things can get frustratingly complicated, but in this class you’ll learn what’s important to know, and what you can happily ignore as hype! We examine the motivation behind the Meritage Association and how it and others around the world managed to escape the constraints of established rules, and how this has enriched the enjoyment of every wine lover.
Includes appetizers, 6-8 wines and tasting booklet.


Wine Blending
Back Bay Bistro

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Create your own blends, and then blind-taste to compare with others. Get a glimpse into one of the key tasks in the life of a winemaker!
Introduction to Varietals and Blends – why, where and how they work together.
Why blending is important in Food & Wine Pairing.
Hands-on blending – guided by sommelier.
Blind Tasting – a fun comparison of everyone’s efforts.
Comparison to a commercial blend, and discussion of results.
Includes appetizers, 6-8 wines and tasting booklet


Visiting the Wine Country- Bordeaux

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The best regions for travelers
The best times to visit
How to get the most out of a wine vacation
How to always be a winery’s VIP _________________________________________________________

Wines of Chile & Argentina- New World Stars
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South America, land of adventure, romance and excitement! Chile and Argentina lead the “New World” in innovation, and every year each country pushes a little further into the hallowed realms of the established wine world. European vintners have been investing here for decades, and not just to make cheap wine for the masses. In the past decade, smaller independent winemakers have led a sort of quiet revolution, that has raised the bar of quality throughout the industry. We will learn the history of this, who are the key players to look out for, and where this may lead in the future. The towering Andes mountain range that separates these regions creates uniquely different climates, and the topography sets them apart even more. Add the cultural and historic elements of each country and “South America” is no longer a generic term you’ll accept in your wine vocabulary!

Includes appetizers, 6-8 wines and tasting booklet.


Wine Presentation
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Do’s and Don’ts with wine
Opening, decanting, glasses, aerating, temperature
How to handle a bad wine (or bad waiter) in a restaurant
What to do with a bad bottle from a shop or auction


Understanding Wine
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Wine making- How it’s done in a nutshell
Style - tannins, acid, fruit, oak, residual sugar
Basic differences between "old" and "new world" styles and methods
Compare different red and white varietals
Taste blends and find the varietals in them
Oak - what it's used for, and how to recognize it – good or bad.

All About Bubbly!
Champagne & Sparkling Wine Tasting

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Champagne, Prosecco, Blanc de Noirs, Cremant... we will help you make sense of it all!
Taste a selection of sparkling wines as you learn about the different styles from around the world and how to understand what the label is telling you. 
We'll talk about how to serve sparkling wines and what to serve with them, as well as giving you some classic sparkling wine cocktail recipes. You'll discover how you can pair a whole dinner with a range of bubbly! 

Includes appetizers, 6-8 sparkling wines and tasting booklet


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