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Going into Teacher Mode

In late 2006, I retired from a 34-year career in education with my last several years as a lecturer at Towson University in Maryland. Kathy often tells me that I frequently go into teacher mode. It doesn’t take much for this to happen. While in a tasting room if I am swirling the wine in my glass and the person next to me asks why I am doing that, I automatically go into teacher mode.  When I present, I automatically go into teacher mode. An opportunity arose to go into teacher mode at the April 2015 International Wine Tourism Conference in Reims, France.

Terry pouring and talking about Georgian wines at IWINETC 15 in Reims, France.

Terry pouring and talking about Georgian wines at IWINETC 15 in Reims, France.

The exhibition area had several wine producers. Unlike the champagne houses that had dry tables (no champagnes for tasting) the country Georgia was pouring wines. Georgia hosted the International Wine Tourism Conference in Tbilisi in 2014. In between sessions, I was ambling in the exhibition area, that was crowded, and noticed no one was behind the Georgian table. Without thinking, I went into teacher mode and went behind the table. Within seconds I had a crowd tasting the Georgian wines and I offered a gentle wine education about the wines and grapes. When Tamta, from the Georgian National Wine Agency, returned and observed me pouring wines and teaching, she stopped, smiled and started taking photographs.

Kathy and I visited Georgia in the autumn of 2013. We were so amazed with the wine regions that we spent the next several months writing our third book Georgia, Sakartvelo: the Birthplace of Wine. I am fairly well versed in talking about Georgian wines, especially qvevri white wines. The western world needs a bit of education before trying a qvevri white wine. They are quite different and unless prepared, most wine enthusiasts will find them a shock to their preconceived notion of what a white wine should be. When I was pouring wines for the Georgian winery Badagoni at the 2015 Boston Wine Expo, I discovered that a bit of education was helpful for those tasting qvevri wines. Of course my dialogue includes the mention that qvevri winemaking is the only winemaking technique that is on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. With a little bit of understanding, people tend to accept the qvevri white wines. Some end up really liking them while other make a note to shy away from them.

I enjoy providing a gentle wine education to people. There are many roads that lead to wine knowledge. One avenue that is the most fun is wine tourism. Georgia should be on the wine enthusiasts’ bucket list as one of the unique wine areas of the world.


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