Wine Appreciation: A Feature of Culinary Education

Wine's popularity continues to expand as more people study wine and its role in the culinary world. Wine's place at the table is viewed as a key component of a meal and a complement to the food. Learning wine appreciation while studying the culinary arts is similar to learning about food--it's not just about how the end product tastes.

Compelling Reasons for Chefs to Learn About Wine

The statistics about wine production and sales are staggering. Approximately 8 billion gallons of wine are made each year in various regions around the world; France, Italy, Spain, and the United States are the leading producers. According to the Wine Institute, wine sales in the U.S. in 2005 were about 703 million gallons, with a retail value of $26 billion. Wine appeals to men and women of all generations, and appears in many types of cultures and their accompanying cuisines. Aspiring chefs might want to take note of wine's success as they pursue their culinary education.

Chefs Study Wine Production

Wine appreciation courses at a culinary school cover how wine is made, from start to finish. Each step influences the taste of wine, just as in cooking, where the quality of the ingredients and the method of preparation determine the taste of a recipe. Chefs learning about wine will become familiar with the different types of grapes, the regions around the world where they are grown, and the influence of climate and soil. Winemaking is not only an art but a science, since chemistry is the key to converting grapes to wine.

Culinary Marriage of Wine and Food

Beyond the production phase of wine is the actual tasting, which is similar to sampling food, since both involve the senses of sight, smell, and taste. Not only are there different types of wines and dates of production, but throughout the world, numerous wine producers customize their wine to create a signature taste. Finally, when studying wine in the context of the culinary arts, chefs learn about wine pairing to determine which foods and wines work well together.

Learning about the world of wine and its relationship to food completes any chef's culinary education.