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The practice of drinking wine, often with matching food, is an important component of social and business interaction in most European cultures and many, but not all, modern societies. It is a practice that raises conflicting issues relating to its social, economic and health impacts on society.
This subject will focus on the great wines of Europe - especially France - as well as other world producers to trace the history and culture of the modern wine industry through the evolution of premium wine grape varieties and international wine styles that characterise the global wine industry. The regional and political innovations in grape-growing and winemaking that have resulted in the development of the great wines of the world are explored from historical, cultural and sensory perspectives. The iconic wine regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne will be prime examples of the part wine plays in history and culture. The importance of regional climate and terroir in the development of the world's great wine regions will be further examined.
The sensory and philosophical perceptions of wine quality and style will be explored in lectures and tutorials to allow students to understand the composition of wine. For example: is the merit of a wine to be understood subjectively or objectively? Is it simply a matter of personal preference? In tutorials, students will have the opportunity to educate their palate to the sensory characteristics of major grape varieties and great wine styles of the world. A food/wine matching experiment will complete the practical educational experience.
Intended learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Discuss the role of French culture and business in the development of the global wine industry
- Identify and distinguish classical wine varieties and styles on the basis of sensory analysis
- Research the culture and history of the modern wine industry
- Explain the influence of terroir on grape quality and its influence on wine style and quality
- Debate the science, philosophy and business of international wine quality
- Analyse the culture, structure and economics of the global wine industry
- Demonstrate understanding of research practices to respond to comparative wine questions
On completion of this subject students should have developed the following generic skills:
- The ability to write a logically argued and properly researched essay
- The ability to critically assess information from a range of sources, and assess its quality and relevance to the questions under consideration
- The ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team on a project
- Oral communication skills through presentation and investigation
Last updated: 16 August 2023