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Culinary Institute "Exploring Napa Valley Wine Series" in Napa

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone, one of the world's most unique and inspiring campuses for culinary and wine education, has introduced a new approach to the Wine Country experience with their “Exploring Napa Valley Wine Series”, a one-of-a-kind selection of courses celebrating the world-renowned wine region of Napa Valley. This new and interesting program started on October 18th and continues through December 29th at the former COPIA space in downtown Napa (500 First Street). This program gives individuals of all experience levels the opportunity to gain a better understanding as well as a fresh perspective on America’s most prestigious wine region directly from the CIA’s esteemed professionals.

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena has introduced a new "Exploring Napa Valley Wine Series" at the old COPIA space in downtown Napa.  One class is "California's Best Cheeses and the Wines that Love Them".
Steve Ferree
Culinary Institute "Exploring Napa Valley Wine Series" at COPIA center in Napa
Culinary Institute of America

“We are thrilled to launch our wine enthusiast courses in downtown Napa this fall,” said Karen McNeil, Chairperson of Professional Studies of the CIA at Greystone. “The Exploring Napa Valley Wines Series is an ideal way for both the casual wine drinker looking to gain knowledge or the wine professional looking to grow their career and skill set. Our hope is that each participant leaves the class with a deep understanding of the wines of Napa Valley, the nuances of the varietals grown here and a deeper appreciation for what is grown in our backyard.”

Whether you’re a novice or connoisseur, anyone with an interest in wine will benefit from attending one or more of these courses. Individuals can chose from the following four classes, each focusing on a specific aspect of wine education: Before You Taste, Become Winewise, California’s Best Cheeses and the Wines That Love Them, Secret Wines of Napa Valley, and Napa Valley vs. the World. Instructors of the “Exploring Napa Valley Wine Series” have over 100 years combined experience in the food and wine industry. They include, among others, the dean of education of The CIA at Greystone, Russell Scott; the host of the PBS Series Wine, Food, & Friends, Karen MacNeil; Public Wine and Beverage Studies Manager of the CIA, at Greystone, Traci Dutton; and Master Sommelier Robert Bath.

This writer recently attended the “California’s Best Cheeses and the Wines that Love Them” class. It was taught by Elaine Marshall, an instructor at the CIA Wine Studies program at Greystone. During this class Elaine walked us through a tasting of a panel of five fine Napa Valley wines, instructing the class in the fine points of detection of the flavors and aromas of wines. Then we performed similar process tasting the collection of fine cheeses. And finally we all had the opportunity to compare the results of the cheese pairing with each of the wines. Elaine's friendly and open manner made it fun to learn about the fine points of pairing cheeses and wines, what to look for in the pairing, and also, what to avoid.

With the goal of providing an outlet for the education, exploration and reconnection of both wine and food, the CIA understands the significance of holding these classes at the former COPIA space. "We are very excited to bring life back to this incredible facility,” said Mark Erickson, Certified Master Chef (CMC) and CIA Provost. “We look forward to working with the Napa Valley community to unlock the full potential of the property and allow it to live up to its original promise."

Classes are 90 minutes long and held on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until December 500 1st Street, Napa, CA. Cost is $40/class. To register for classes, visit or call 707-967-1100.

“Exploring Napa Valley Wine Series” Class Descriptions:

Fridays (5:30pm – 7:00pm)

  • Before You Taste, Become Winewise
    This is a starter course to help you make the most of your Napa Valley wine experience. Featuring wine tasting advice, this class is an overview of Napa Valley and provides insiders tips for getting the most out of tasting room visits.
    Class Dates: 12/13, 12/27

Saturdays (10:30am – 12:00pm)

  • California’s Best Cheeses and the Wines That Love Them
    The artisan cheese makers of California have set the pace for incredible quality and selection. Learn about different styles of cheese available here, the best way to enjoy them and how to pair cheese with wine.
    Class Dates: 12/14, 12/28

Saturdays (3:00pm – 4:30pm)

  • Secret Wines of Napa Valley
    Napa’s amazing diversity of climates and soils allows us to grow over 100 different grape varieties for wine, yet you may have only heard of a few. Discover the rare and secret wines that may become your new favorites.
    Class Dates: 12/14, 12/28

Sundays (10:30am – 12:00pm)

  • Napa Valley vs. the World
    This class is a series of comparative tastings with wines of Napa Valley and their counterparts around the world. How do New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Italian Sangiovese and French Bordeaux compare with the wines we make here?
    Class Dates: 12/15, 12/29

Classes are 90 minutes long and held on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until December 500 1st Street, Napa, CA. Cost is $40/class.

To register for classes, visit or call 707-967-1100.

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