Wine professionals and enthusiasts can take their knowledge – and their sense of carpe diem – to the next level, with the debut of SDSU’s Wine Education Abroad program. The first-ever cohort will experience nine days and nights of privately guided wine and cuisine immersion in the Catalonia, Rioja, and Basque regions of Spain in spring 2017.
Students will contrast the traditions of centuries-old wineries with those of modern ones, sample wines straight from the barrel, walk through vineyards by the sea, learn the harvest process, prune grapevines, and even crush grapes underfoot. Along the way, they will dine everywhere from an ancient wine cave to a medieval village to modernist pintxos bars.
“If you ever wanted to explore the wine and food of Spain, have someone take you to places you cannot get to on your own, and experience the essence and heart of three Spanish areas, this trip is for you,” says Deborah Lazear, CSW, a certified Spanish wine educator who will provide instruction throughout the excursion.
The tour is led by Spanish guide Ana Gabriela Serra, who specializes in providing tailored itineraries in this region of the world.
“Our tour guide has created relations with wineries that are not open to the public but will be open to us,” says Lazear. “The trip truly is exclusive.”
Students will travel by private transportation, enjoy private sommelier-level tours, experience private tours of vineyards and museums, and have private daily wine classes. Their instruction time will count toward one elective or intensive course in the SDSU Business of Wine program — of which Wine Education Abroad is a new division.
“Spain is not New World; it’s Old World,” says Lazear. “Students will get a first-hand experience of how history has molded wine in Spain and influenced the world.”