Enjoying The Texas Wine School

Over the past couple of years I’ve taken quite an interest in wine. It started out just to satisfy my curiosity, but then, as is my way, I’ve gone into more depth than was originally intended.

Last summer Stella and I took a week of vacation to visit the Napa Valley in California. We traveled with another couple, also newfound wine enthusiasts. Not only was this our first real vacation in a long time, but we found the choice of topic and location immensely enjoyable.

In truth, we found ourselves starting down what may well be the very long path that is the exploration wine.

The first manifestation of this process takes the form of poor fiscal judgement. That is, we’ve joined the wine clubs of a few of our more favorite Napa and Sonoma area wineries. That results in small, regular…say quarterly…sample shipments of wines that we cannot otherwise purchase locally.

Then more recently someone pointed out The Texas Wine School, a new operation recently setup by Mr James King. James recently moved to Houston from the Los Angeles area. He was most recently involved in the business of wine importing & retail operations, although he is an ex-pat Englishman who has also spent some time working in the wine trade in Australia.

James is giving evening and weekend classes in wine appreciation. Stella and I have thus far taken his classes on the wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa & Italy.

Each class was a two hour session involving an overview of the region and tasting a small number of representative samples. Each was thoroughly enjoyable.

Further, James has been very open to adding classes where there appeared to be broad interest. I’m saddened that I was not able to attend last week’s class in the wines of Piedmont, Italy. This being the home of the Barolo’s and Barbera’s that are both amongst my favorites.

He also conducts more formal training based upon the standards established by the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (W.S.E.T.) These are longer classes that go into greater depth. They tend to be the focus of people in the restaurant business. He also gives classes following theĀ curriculum prescribed by The French Wine Scholar Program of The French Wine Society.

We’ve long thought that we should be doing more recreational things as a couple. James King’s classes at The Texas Wine School in Houston have been just this kind of thing. We’ve had a good time and learned about a topic that was already on our horizon.