By Jonathon Alsop | Boston Wine School
What do you get when you give people three different wines, a hundred wine glasses, and challenge them to blend a better wine?
First of all, you get to sample a lot of very tasty wines, which is great on its own, but more meaningfully, people start to taste wine in a completely new way. By blending together their own signature wine from three components, the teams enter a world where wine is not a product anymore but a live thing becoming something different, new — and in the case of blending wine — often better than the sum of its parts.
The wine blending seminar begins with an explanation of the program and timeline followed by a brief technical tasting introduction: sniffing, swirling, sipping, and perhaps most importantly, using the spill buckets. We will sample the component wines together briefly, then the blending begins.
One or more persons can be designated to document the process the team goes through deciding what kind of wine to blend and then doing it. Forty-five minutes later, each team should be executing its final blend and writing its 100-word marketing plan and description. The teams present their wines and descriptions to the whole group, and we break for lunch.
Behind the scenes, we shuffle the order of the blended wines so everyone is tasting all the wines blind again after lunch! We print up a new tasting sheet with marketing plans and challenge the individuals to match up their wines with their descriptions. After everyone has tasted through all the wines, we unveil their identities (and the component wines too) and discuss our reactions to what we were tasting then and what we know now.
During the debriefing, people can compare their wines, share the various processes they used, and ultimately learn something about each other through how they created their wines and how they reacted to them.
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