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Downtown winery to host classes on choosing the perfect bottle of wine

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Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:04 am, Tue May 15, 2012.

Looking to boost your wine knowledge? Want to know whether to bring a Zinfandel or a Cabernet to your next social outing?

Fields Family Winery will host three classes featuring a Sacramento-based wine expert, who will discuss how to identify different wines and pick out the perfect bottle.

Wine educator Donal Smith spent 26 years as the wine manager for Corti Brothers, an upscale wine and grocery store retailer. He also is a wine consultant and critic, and has had the opportunity to meet a variety of famous winemakers and food aficionados.

Smith now focuses his time on teaching classes, so people can learn how to pick out the best wine to pair with food or to take to a formal or informal party.

The classes are geared for everyone from beginners to “wine geeks,” Fields Family winemaker Ryan Sherman said.

“(Smith’s) motto is, ‘Be a smarter taster, be a better buyer,’” Sherman said. “It really is kind of more consumer-oriented to help you make a more informed decision when you are buying at the grocery store.”

Sherman was the first Lodi winemaker to be invited as a guest to one of Smith’s classes in Folsom. Smith then suggested bringing the classes down to Lodi.

“I think the time is right. I like what you guys are about as far as approachability and no snobbiness,” Smith reportedly told Sherman. “You are just trying to do good wines and let people learn about the process along the way.”

The classes are $29 each, or $89 for all three. There is a couples price of $170 for all three classes.

“I think it’s a great value, just in the knowledge, the information and the materials he puts together, aside from the food and wine. It’s a good outing for a Wednesday,” Sherman said.

Here is the schedule for the classes. They all start at 6:30 p.m. at Fields Family Wines, 20 N. School St.:

Class 1: Basic evaluation of wines, on May 23

The first class will be a basic evaluation of wines, including color, smell and taste. Participants will do a blind taste test with four to five wines.

Class 2: Tasting, on May 30

The second class will focus on terminology and descriptors as well as discuss varietal profiles. It will include a discussion on how to make the right decision when buying wine and also breakdown winetasting myths. The class will have four to five tastings and feature a yet-to-be-determined winemaker.

Class 3: Taste of Terroir — Wines that taste like where they were grown, on June 6

The final class will allow participants to try five Zinfandels from different vineyards in Lodi. Sherman will be the featured winemaker and discuss how different soils and growing techniques influence the final product.

Space is limited for the classes. To register, email the winery at info@fieldsfamilywines.com. You can also call the tasting room from 2 to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday at 209-368-3435.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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