What is the School of Wine?
The School of Wine offers snob-free independent tastings and socials held at top restaurants and bars around Perth, as well as corporate and private wine events at your home or choice of venue.
Who is behind the School of Wine concept and where did the idea stem from?
The School of Wine is run by Christina Pickard, wine writer for Scoop Magazine, and contributor to publications including Gourmet Traveller Wine and James Halliday’s Wine Companion. A native New Yorker turned Londoner turned Perthian, Christina has travelled the wine world and brings a truly international perspective to wine in the wild west (for more info head to her main site, http://www.winewithchristina.com).
When I moved to Perth I was surprised to find such a lack of independent wine education here. I was keen to continue to kind of work I did in London for so many years: teaching people to love wine in their own way without feeling pressured to buy anything at the end of it. But I also wanted to expose them to more unusual wines they wouldn’t necessarily get the chance to try otherwise. Wine can be such a pompous, buttoned up affair, and I’m not interested that side of it. I’ve always tried to champion the little guy–the artisan producer who may not having the big marketing budget to get his or her wine seen to a wide audience but who is making some seriously interesting booze worth knowing about. Those are the kinds of wines I aim to pour at the School of Wine tastings.
What can people expect from a Class at School of Wine?
My style is casual and fiercely snob-free. I aim to create an atmosphere where no question is a stupid one, and where you’re allowed to have an opinion about a wine without feeling judged. So if you’re looking to name drop or brag about the First Growth Bordeaux in your cellar, my classes aren’t for you. What I do offer is two hours tasting some of the world’s most interesting and unique wines while having a good laugh, learning a lot (I’m a big fan of visuals so be prepared for images of maps, winemakers, and vineyards), and playing games like the Black Glass Challenge and ‘Guess the Aroma’!
What are your top 5 WA wines?
Oh that’s an almost impossible question! If we’re talking vin de soif wines, those that are ultra gluggable now and super interesting and exciting, then my wines of the moment are:
Si Vintners Lello or Chincheclé
Express Winemakers The Great South Shiraz or Cheninade
Bella Ridge Chenin Blanc
La Violetta Ü (röck döts)
Willoughby Park Kalgan Ironrock Chardonnay
But I could name so many more!!
What is your favourite West Australian Winery?
Another impossible question and I wouldn’t want to single anyone out! I’ll just say those I mentioned above are some of the producers that excite me most, but there are a host more who could join that group!
What is your favourite Perth Wine bar?
It’d have to be the Lalla Rookh Wine Store for its casual unpretentious atmosphere, super friendly staff, deliciously fattening Italian comfort food, and of course exceptionally thrilling and unique wines.
Photo credit: In-Situ Photography