Shawn Simons caught the wine bug in the early 90’s while a university student and never looked back. It all started after a day of wine tasting in the Northern Willamette Valley with a family friend and fellow wine enthusiast. That afternoon had a profound impact on Shawn and helped shape his future. Upon graduating from university, Shawn began a circuitous career in the Wine Industry that would lead him to travel extensively around the globe to some of the world’s great wine regions. He has tasted with winemakers and walked through vineyards throughout France, Italy, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina to name a few. Not to mention many visits to the wonderful wine growing regions of California, Oregon and Washington. Through these adventures, Shawn has gained insights, knowledge, anecdotes and stories that bring wine to life.
Throughout Shawn’s 25-year career in the Wine Industry, he has spent many hours studying and tasting wines from around the world. In 2008, Shawn became a certified Sommelier. In 2018, he received his Certified Specialist of Wine accreditation. As a Wine Educator, Shawn’s aim is to demystify wine and make it more approachable and fun while expanding the palates and minds of his students.
Wine 101 – Introduction to Wine
In this course, we will explore basic wine tasting techniques and key wine components such as acidity, sweetness, oak, tannin and fruit. We will taste and compare examples of five different grape varietals and wine types.
The World of Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir, the primary red grape grown in Willamette Valley, also thrives in France, California and New Zealand to name a few other regions. In this course, we will taste, compare and discuss Pinot Noirs from five different wine growing regions around the world. It’s a great chance to discover how this amazing varietal expresses itself in different locations and terroirs.
Food & Wine Pairing
Food and Wine, Wine and Food…where to start? We’ll go way beyond the adage of red wine with meat, white wine with fish. We’ll taste five wines each with a different bite to accompany each wine. We’ll show you why some pairings shine while others fall flat.
Old World vs New World
One of our favorite classes. We will compare three different varietals with two examples of each. One example from the Old World (France, Italy, Spain, Germany) and another from the New World (North or South America, New Zealand, Australia). We’ll discuss similarities and differences and what’s behind them.