SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah News) – The wines of Italy were uncorked for 18 students Tuesday evening…but this wasn’t a party.
It was part of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Wine Education Class for employees of State Liquor Stores.
Terry Wood, the Director of Communications for the DABC explains.
“Utahns are actually getting quite sophisticated on wine these days,” Wood told ABC4 Utah News. “Our wine sales are going up yet not everybody knows much about wine and sometimes the store employees don’t either.”
Jeremy Gruber, the “Liquor Store Guy”, says his customers in Pleasant Grove have a lot of questions.
“What’s a good red wine for cooking. What’s a good white wine for cooking,” Gruber said. “What’s the difference between Merlots, Pinot Noirs, Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Grigios et cetera.”
Wendy Caron is a 1st level master sommelier and a Certified Wine Instructor who teaches the 8 week course.
“Go ahead and give it a taste,” she says holding up an Italian white.
“Store employees are starting at a place where they haven’t really tried any of the products they are selling,” Caron said. “Their goal is to be able to inform customers coming into the store and help them with selections.”
“Somebody comes in and wants a nice bottle for a Thanksgiving dinner say or a wedding celebration or something like that, a lot of our employees will be able to give them a knowledgeable answer,” Wood said.
The students are taught to swirl, smell and sample…but not swallow.
“Some you really want to not have to spit it out,” Gruber said. “But rules are rules.”
“When you’re tasting this many wines you don’t want to be drinking that,” Wood said. “There would be no way you could drive home.”
Wood says that breathalyzers are on hand and students understand they could be tested before they leave to drive home.