Nevada Winemaker to Teach 4-Week Series: “A Sensory Evaluation of Wine”

Greg Ross taught himself to taste wine, in the days before educational tasting events were common.

“When I first decided that wine was going to be a career for me, I went to every tasting I could find,” he said. “And back then, there weren’t that many.”

Greg and Susan Ross savor his win at the Home Winemaker Awards on May 17, 2018

Ross took such extensive notes about each wine that his wife quickly became bored and abandoned the outings. But his fascination led to a long and upwardly-mobile career in the industry. He’s now the award-winning proprietor of Walker River Vineyards.

Next month, he’ll share some of what he learned decades ago, leaned over a notebook in the tasting rooms.

Ross will teach a series of classes for the Nevada Grape Growers and Winemakers. “A Sensory Evaluation of Wine” will be conducted Saturdays online, April 17 – June 5. The format is a group tasting, with plenty of time for questions and discussion, he said.

“Sometimes people will swirl a glass of wine and say, ‘I like it or don’t like it,’ but they don’t have any descriptors. They can’t tell you what it smells like, or what it tastes like.”

These classes will help the tasters learn to articulate the flavors and other characteristics of the wines. All participants will have the same wines (10 bottles over 4 weeks), provided by NGGW as part of a package of class materials. They’ll also get four aroma wheels from U.C. Davis.

The aroma wheels are a tool to spur your imagination, he said. Aroma is part of the U.C. Davis 20-point scale he’ll use to teach the class. The Davis scale evaluates visual, olfactory, sugar-acid balance, which is the “weight” of the wine, and taste.

“Everyone will swirl and smell, and say what they smell,” Ross said. “There is no right or wrong answer, only what your brain is registering. Everyone will describe their experience, and I’ll be there to oversee.”

At the conclusion of each class, participants will have open bottles that are mostly full. NGGW is working with chefs to provide recipes to make a compatible dinner after the class.

Ross suggests inviting the neighbors.

The $175 cost includes materials fees and wine. More info and registration here.





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