The Wine Century Club
When I first heard about The Wine Century Club, my immediate thought was “I hope that The Wine Century Club is nothing like the Century Club for beer.” For those that don’t know, the Century Club as it applies to beer refers to a drinking game where a hundred shot glasses of beer are downed by participants over the course of a hundred minutes, leading to the digestion of way too much foam and the side effects that often come with such debauchery/stupidity. Yes, I’ve done it. Why? College.
Thankfully, The Wine Century Club has nothing to do with downing extreme amounts of wine in an allotted time. It’s a club for those who have managed to taste 100 different grape varieties. The club’s website offers an application/checklist that can be downloaded listing 100+ varietals, plus room to write in varietals that are not on the list.
A few of the blogs that I frequent had mentioned The Wine Century Club, so one day I decided to investigate. I visited the club’s website and within ten seconds had decided that this was my kind of quest. I decided to start my count from the time that I started WineSpeak USA in mid-January and have now checked off 24 different varieties. It helps that all varietals included as part of a blend can be checked off. This past weekend I drank a Rhone blend with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Counoise.
Once you have checked off 100 varieties from the list, send the completed form back to The Wine Century Club. Upon verification, the club presents it’s new members with a certificate.
Trying 100 varieties is no easy feat and there are likely several varieties on the list that may leave knowledgeable wine drinkers scratching their heads. That’s part of the fun of the quest to become a member. It presents a great learning experience, a difficult but obtainable goal, and most importantly, a fun, unforgettable wine journey.
Wine Lessons: Ten Questions to Guide Your Appreciation of Wine
I happened upon Clara Orban, the author of Wine Lessons: Ten Questions to Guide Your Appreciation of Wine, while visiting a winery in Southern Illinois. Clara is a professor of Italian and French at Depaul University and a certified sommelier. She also happens to teach Geography 350, a/k/a the World of Wine. I found it very interesting that the course was classified as a Geography class. Perhaps an ode to terroir?
As a professor of Wine Appreciation, Clara became very familiar with the common questions asked by students new to wine. Her book answers these questions, such as “What is terroir?” and “Is syrah really shiraz?”, in an unpretentious voice that speaks to new wine drinkers rather than bashing them over the head with technical jargon. Also included in Wine Lessons are interesting accounts of Clara’s time spent with Old and New World wineries (one of which was Kite Hill Vineyards) and some unforgettable personal anecdotes, including the fate of the family’s 1933 Chateau Margaux. Another interesting component is the pullout sections in the back of the book, that can aide readers while ordering wine at a restaurant or buying wine glasses.
Wine Lessons is available for purchase on Amazon. It’s an excellent book for beginning wine drinkers but also has plenty to offer for the more advanced. Also, if you happen to go to Depaul University, you would be absolutely crazy not to sign up for Geography 350.
Voice of the Vine
Voice of the Vine is a free monthly e-newsletter put out by Washington State University with articles on viticulture and viniculture in Washington and the Northwest. I’ve recently subscribed and it looks to be a great resource, delivered right to your email. Did I mention it was free! For those interested in checking it out, here’s the link.