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An Educated Guess

Posted on Sep 01, 2013 in Wine , Kevin Moran , September-October 2013

Kevin Moran

Even the most basic wine education can enhance your meals — and your life

Several years ago, when I was traveling in Europe, I found myself in a discussion about wine with a gentleman on the train, and I was surprised to discover how little he knew about the wines from his native region in France. He said he loved wine, but he didn’t need to know every fact or detail about wine in order to enjoy it. He just needed to know which wines he personally enjoyed, and which wines went well with the foods that he enjoyed eating. These two bits of information alone allowed him to truly enjoy his wine, because he never let his enjoyment of food or beverage become overshadowed by an urge to be an expert on wine in general. He simply wished to be informed about the wine he drank, and most of that information came from his own personal palate.

Since then, I have maintained and encouraged this prerequisite for enjoying wine in the wine classes that I teach. I try to focus on teaching people how to identify wines that they enjoy, and subsequently, how to discern which foods pair well with the wines they enjoy. Any further instruction is what you might call above and beyond, as those two items of information always offer a concrete and universal point of introduction into the world of wine education. However, just like any other topic of education, the more you study and learn about it, the more apt you will be to enjoy it.

If you want to learn more about wine, there are some educational options on the Emerald Coast. The most readily available and largely attended opportunities to learn about wine are the wine festivals that come to our area. In the Spring, try the Sandestin Wine Festival ( and the Beaches of South Walton Wine Festival ( Both of these festivals offer an array of wine education methods — from classes and seminars to wine tastings with dozens of wines to taste and buy on site. In the Fall, Seaside hosts the Seeing Red Wine Festival (, which is another opportunity to taste and discover new and exciting wines.

In addition to these annual festivals, Chan’s Wine World ( also hosts a variety of educational events over the course of the year, and with several locations along the Emerald Coast, availability is in abundance. And last but not least, there is my school, Emerald Coast Wine School (, which offers single-session classes, as well as wine courses. The Fall class schedule was just released, which showcases a fantastic four-week course on wines of the Great Northwest (focusing on Washington and Oregon), as well as a handful of single-topic, one-session classes on a variety of wine-related subject areas. To receive a flyer with more information, contact, or stop by Crush Wine Bar in Seaside’s Central Square and ask for a wine school flyer.

Whether you want to become an expert on wine and stock your cellar with all your favorites, or if you would just like to be able to find a wine that will pair well with the food you enjoy in either a home or restaurant setting, learning about wine assures you confidence and money well-spent. As you learn more about wine, on any scale, I guarantee that you will not only find yourself enjoying wine more on your own, but you will begin to see wine as a destination of experience, one to share with friends and family and guests alike.

Kevin Moran is the general manager at Crush Wine Bar,, or (850) 791-9265.