I just finished 3 and a half intense days of teaching students from the Johnson and Wales University about the wines of Italy and France at the German Wine School in Coblence. Intense days for both me and for the students. The students have 14 eight hour days of instruction about wines from Europe often followed by evening excursions to wineries in neighbouring German wine growing regions. Coblence is located where the Mosel empties into the Rhine and so offers easy access to the Rhine Valley, health Mosel, pills Rheinhessen and Ahr.

I’ve had the privilege of teaching this course for the third year now. Although each group is quite different with a different dynamic and different aptitude, they and their parents are paying quite a handsome sum for the course and South African born, long-time German resident, Peter Gebler really goes out of his way to organize a perfect educational package and make sure that students get their money’s worth.

As in the past, this year’s students are enthusiastic and appreciate the opportunity that they are being given. Not a late night out the night before, a bank card swallowed by an ATM machine, or a migraine attack can keep these students from missing a minute of it all.

I hope these students not only win an appreciation for European wine culture, but a bigger view of the world with a positive and tolerant outlook. They are all capable of making a valuable contribution to the wine branch as well as to our society. I hope that I have been able to inspire them in some way.

I accompanied the students on an evening field trip to the Jean Stodden winery in Ahr. Alexander Stodden presented us some stunning Pinot Noirs sourced from perilously steep, terraced slate and granite vineyard slopes. One of the wines was from 90 year old ungrafted vines. What a treat! I’ve uploaded my tasting notes and an audio file from this visit to my Facebook site for the students and other interested freaks to view and listen.

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