April 9 was the first day of the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) class at beautiful St. Supéry Vineyards and Winery in Rutherford, halfway up Napa Valley. It was a beautiful Spring day and the grapevines were undergoing bud break up and down the valley. Mary Sugrue, the wine educator at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, taught the first class for the Napa Valley Wine Academy and kicked off the course by covering:
- White and red grape varieties, including Vitis vinifera, Native American varieties, hybrids, crosses, clones and mutations
- Viticulture, including the annual growth cycle of grapevines, photosynthesis, climate, weather, precipitation, soil and terroir
- Wine faults, including cork taint, Brett, oxidation, reduction, ethyl acetate, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans
- Viniculture, including fermentation, clarification, stabilization, aging, still wine, sparkling wine and fortified wine production.