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Wine and Writing Classes, The Perfect Pairing

Guest post by Laura Ehrke, CE Writing Instructor

After transitioning to online classes in spring, we’ve all become quite accustomed to remote learning. I’ve discovered that there are many advantages to online students, including:

  • You don’t have to drive to campus in the oncoming winter weather
  • You can take classes anywhere there is Wi-Fi
  • You can wear pajamas to class
  • You can enjoy a glass of wine (or your preferred libation) during class!

This last option was brought to my attention by a student in one of my writing classes and inspired this blog post.

“Do you drink?”
“Of course, I just said I was a writer.” – Stephen King

Writing with spirit(s) is a long-standing tradition. You’ve probably heard the edict, “Write drunk and edit sober.” Most attribute this quote erroneously to Ernest Hemingway, but the line actually appears in Peter De Vries’ novel, Reuben, Reuben. De Vries’ character, Gowan McGland, says, “Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline.”

Back in the 8th Century BCE, Homer wrote in the Odyssey, “[I]t is the wine that leads me on, the wild wine that sets the wisest man to sing at the top of his lungs, laugh like a fool – it drives the man to dancing… it even tempts him to blurt out stories better never told.” In truth, we writers (and readers) know that the “stories better never told” are always the very best stories.

Philosopher Francis Bacon once said, “Of all things known to mortals wine is the most powerful and effectual for exciting and inflaming the passions of mankind, being common fuel to them all.” Consider the theory by American author Delia Bacon that Francis Bacon was actually the author of Shakespeare’s plays; talk about inflamed passion leading to literary genius!

With the popularity of Paint and Palette parties (in pre-pandemic times), I often advocated for a Wine and Writing class, but the logistics weren’t feasible. Now, you can make any online class your own Sip and Study event. To capitalize on this opportunity, I turned to our resident wine expert, award-winning sommelier Marcel Flori.

Marcel suggested these budget-friendly wine-and-writing pairings:

  1. Evening in Early Fall (a relatively cool evening) with Tapas or various appetizers, including fresh goat cheese: 2018 Pontificis (Viognier, Roussanne Marsanne) $7.99 Trader Joe’s
  2. Fish and Chips Evening: 2018 Albariño from Trader Joe’s (I don’t remember the price but under $9)
  3. French Cuisine Night with chicken thighs cooked in vinegar façon (Jacque Pepin’s recipe): Pontificis (Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre) $6.99 Trader Joe’s
  4. A British Evening with Stilton Cheese: 2015 Quinta do Noval  Late Bottle Vintage
  5. A Billionaire Night (with Boring People): Aurum Red from Spain $18K if you can get it. Note: Marcel advises taking extra precautions with this vintage: “Don’t spill it please and let me taste it first to see if it is up to snuff.”

Ready to write? We have several online writing classes starting soon, including creative writing, technical writing, and content/PR writing. From my class list, I suggest these as particularly perfect pairings with port or pinot (sorry, I was overcome by alliteration adoration): The Writing Salon (starting 9/23) and Write a Novel in 30 Days Workshop: The NANOWRIMO Challenge (starting 10/22).

Want to learn more about wine? This fall, Marcel offers a series of online classes that explore the Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, which may be taken as a series or individually, as well as Sparkling Wines of the World (my favorite!).

“Give me wine to wash me clean of the weather-stains of cares.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


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