So, what is wine? This week I was tutoring the WSET budding educators, and this is one of my first questions. The what is wine question is high up the Google rankings for searches, so although putting it here on my wine education website, where you can study what is wine and beyond, well beyond (and still keep learning), it is a question that could be interpreted in many ways.
Two groups of six WSET Level 3 and Level 4 qualified international educators, what is wine, discuss:
Group one, what is wine … easy ‘an alcoholic beverage made from grape juice’.
Group two, what is wine … fermented grape juice … except … what is fermented? Sugar turned to alcohol, sugar in grape juice turned to alcohol, but how? Yeast turning sugar into alcohol, sugar in grape juice converted by yeast into alcohol, but how?’.
Group one rethink ‘a lovely drink that makes you happy’.
Group two discussion continued … take grapes that contain sugar and acid and flavour, add natural yeast, yeast eats sugar in the juice of the grapes, yeast converts sugar into alcohol and CO2. The alcohol is the wine, so what is wine, fermented grape juice.’
WSET Level 1 is really about getting back to basics, in particular styles i.e. colour, sweetness, body, character etc., and pairing that with food, what is wine and food pairing, now there is a question!