Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Expert Brings Wine Knowledge to First Coast

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Expert Brings Wine Knowledge to First Coast

Article excerpt

PONTE VEDRA BEACH -- Legend has it that when the Turkish army invaded the Hungarian village of Eger in the 16th century, the women of the village gave their men red wine as they were going into battle. So fiercely did the villagers fight that the Turks were convinced they had been drinking the blood of bulls.

Bulls Blood of Eger is just one of the wines being offered by Graham Bowcher in his "Introduction to Wine" course, which began this month at the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach.

Bowcher, a newcomer to Ponte Vedra Beach from the United Kingdom, has an extensive background in the hospitality industry. He is a member of the Hotel, Catering & International Management Association, a Fellow of the British Institute of Innkeeping, and is certified by the United Kingdom's Wine & Spirits Education Trust. A principal lecturer at the Isle of Wight College before coming to Florida, Bowcher is now guiding local residents on a tour through the world of wine.

"I've had people tell me, 'I don't like wine'," said Bowcher. "I find that hard to believe. There are so many varieties of wine, surely there is something to please every palate." Sipping a light Chardonnay from Macon Villages, Burgundy, France, Bowcher sat in front of the flickering fireplace in his Sawgrass home, describing the process of wine tasting.

"First, you must taste it with your eyes," he said, holding the stemmed crystal wineglass up to the light. "The color must be clear and bright, not murky or cloudy." Swirling the wine gently around the glass, Bowcher said swirling "wakes the wine up" by letting oxygen get to it.

"Nosing" the wine comes next. "It will have a pleasant aroma of the fruit of the vine," he said, inhaling the scent of the Chardonnay. Finally, the ultimate test: the taste. "Ahhhh," he said. "It's quite nice."

In addition to teaching the fine points of tasting, Bowcher's course gives students a basic understanding of the definition of wine, the main wine producing countries, the types of wine produced and the proper treatment of wine, including storage and service.

"I feel it is also important to explain the benefits which arise from adopting a responsible attitude toward the consumption of alcohol," said Bowcher. …

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