California Wines

Welcome to join us to learn about Californian wines. Wineserver is the official education partner of the California Wine Institute in Finland. There are four different levels of training programmes coming up, the first of which are now available.

California is one of the most important wine regions in the world. If California were its own state, it would be the fourth largest wine-producing country, just behind France, Italy and Spain. In the wine sector, California is at the forefront of sustainable development, research and technology.

Topics covered in this course include the history and present day of California, geography, climate and soils, grape varieties, wine growing and making, and famous producers and events. In the introductory course (Level 1) we start with the basics and in the following levels we go deeper and deeper into each topic. The course material is studied independently online. You will then be invited to participate in a guided wine tasting in Helsinki, where we will taste the Californian wines included in the course.

More information and additional material can be found on the programme’s website: Capstone California

Level 1: 75 € – 6 wines – 6 h online-course

Online course, 6 hours, covers following topics:

History – missions, gold rush, Prohibition, modern times

Geography – sea, mountains, valleys

Viticulture and main varieties

American Viticulture Area (AVA) – Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Santa Barbara County

Well-known producers – Ridge Vineyards, Frog’s Leap Winery, Robert Mondavi Winery

Key production figures

The course price includes a guided tasting of 6 wines.

Next tasting: 16.1.2023 at 6pm., venue: Classic Wine Cellars, Eteläesplanadi 20, 00130 Helsinki

Level 2: 125 € – 8 wines – 20 h online-course

Online course, 20 hours, covers following topics:

History – main events and people

Geography – rivers and mountains, Mayacamas, Vaca Range, Santa Cruz Mountains

Grape varieties, in depth look into 7 most important grapes

Viticulture and winemaking

American Viticulture Area (AVA) – Lodi, Mendocino County, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Monterey County, Santa Cruz Mountains.

The course price includes a guided tasting of 8 wines.

Next tasting: Spring 2023., venue: Classic Wine Cellars, Eteläesplanadi 20, 00130 Helsinki

Wines in the tasting:

Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley

Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

DAOU Family Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles

DAOU Family Estates Sauvignon blanc, Paso Robles

Frei Brothers Sonoma Reserve Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

Hahn Boneshaker Zinfandel, Lodi

Hahn Lucienne Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands

Marimar Estate La Masia Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Level 3: 300 € – 20 wines – 50 h online-course

Price 300 €

Tasting of 20 wines over two nights.

50 hour on-line course

The Advanced Level 3 course builds on Levels 1 and 2 with 50 hours of curriculum, consisting of more rigorous tasting requirements and theory covering additional detail about the topics introduced in previous levels as well as introducing new concepts, including:

California’s wine history: establishment of missions, introduction of vitis vinifera in California, the Gold Rush, late nineteenth-century expansion, Prohibition, post-WWII, the 1960s boom, the return of phylloxera and the age of the wine critic.

The Winkler index: U.C. Davis degree day system and its pros and cons.

Soil types commonly found in California; soil balance and health; sustainable and organic farming; organic certifications.

Viticulture and clonal selection of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel.

Sparkling and rosé wines.

Advanced viticultural concepts of rootstocks (vigor and disease resistance), grafting, phylloxera and other vineyard pests, dry farming vs. irrigation.

In-depth exploration of AVAs/wine regions, including: Lake County, Solano County, San Benito County, Santa Clara County, Amador County, El Dorado County, San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Valley, Madera County and Temecula Valley.

Level 4 – coming later.

Level 4 California Wine Ambassador course will start later and will include a trip to California wine regions.

Martha Stoumen, winemaker, Martha Stoumen Wines, Sebastopol, CA