There is a force within us that strengthens throughout our years in college and inevitably clashes with our desire to be good students by the time we are in our senior year: senioritis. I keep trying to fight it because I know that winter quarter just started and there is still another quarter to go. But looking back at my past three years in college, I have put in a lot of time; now, it is time to enjoy myself, especially in my classes. The days of music theory and history and group piano are long gone. Bring it, free electives! Because of my desire to actually graduate with enough credits while still not having to do quite as much work as I have had to do in the past, I decided to join a friend and sign up for an International Wine Education and Management class. And boy, did I make a good life choice!
My wine class meets once a week for three hours in the Loop campus downtown. Here’s a secret: unless you make an effort, as a music major, you will never have a class in the Loop. And although it’s more inconvenient to have to take the train those fifteen minutes at night in the winter, I knew that I had to experience having a class downtown in the beautiful DePaul Loop campus facilities.
However, I can’t seem to hide away and pretend to have a more conventional, “normal” major in this 40-person class: I had to receive permission from my professor to be able to show up thirty minutes late to class each week because of my orchestra rehearsals. Thankfully, my professor’s daughter was a music major in college, so he completely understood and was even interested to hear about my studies as I emailed him so I could miss part of class!
My professor, Michael Lynch, seems to be one of the best I have had at DePaul. He is one of those teachers who you can tell just loves what he is doing. He believes that fine wine is an art and that it is meant to be studied, shared, and appreciated. Educating young people of this generation about wine is his passion, and I could see it in the way he discussed topics with us and how he treated the class. He already explained a lot of interesting facts about wine to us in the first class, while cracking plenty of jokes and keeping us engaged.
Before the lecture portion of the class began, Professor Lynch wanted us to go around and say who we were and why we were taking his class. I was one of the first people to go, and I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I ended up starting with, “Hi, my name is Ruth, and I only began drinking alcohol a few months ago [because I turned 21 in August]...” and then he interrupted me and said, “...and you just never stopped!”. We all laughed, and it was fantastic. I went on to explain that because of that, I don’t know much about any alcohol, especially wine, and that I wanted to learn more about it. A lot of people said they would like to learn about wine so they can know what to pair with different foods at dinner. Others were just frank and said that they were seniors and wanted an easy, fun class. He laughed and said they chose the right class, but that they would still learn a lot!
The lecture was full of fascinating information about how wine is made, its history, and the characteristics of different grapes used in wine. We then all sampled three different types of wine and put into practice the techniques we had just learned in order to identify what type of wine we are drinking. For this first class, we tried $3 white, orange, and red wines. Apparently, the wine will get more expensive (and hopefully better tasting) as the class goes along!
I am really excited to learn in such a relaxed, passionate environment. If it has to be about something other than music, learning about the fine art of wine works for me!!