Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Vitis House Brings World Wine Knowledge To Raleigh

Doreen Colondres of Vitis HouseYou don’t have to travel the globe to earn a world-class wine education.

Uncorking Wine Knowledge

Whether you sip wine only on rare occasions or consider yourself a wine connoisseur, Vitis House in Raleigh has something for you.

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The wine school offers an assortment of classes to delight and inform wine lovers, such as Malbec & Empanadas, Champagne & Friends, and Romantic Reds (all upcoming on the calendar. For those seeking a deeper dive into oenology, wine courses from the prestigious Wine Scholar Guild and the respected Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) are available.

The guiding spirit behind the school and its programs is Doreen Colondres, a media personality who is a world-class chef with a healthy passion for wine. In addition to visiting more than 40 countries she’s worked work at Chateau Biac in Bordeaux, participated in the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour, authored an Amazon best selling book, La Cocina No Muerde (The Kitchen Doesn’t Bite), and hosted three cooking shows that aired in 16 different countries.

“After living in Spain and traveling to so many countries, I found Raleigh has not only the vibe I personally like, but the potential to become one of the best cities in the US -- I feel it is now,” said Doreen. “People here are humble, friendly, educated, open to learn and willing to explore and experience new things.  The community lives in a slower pace than other cities but it has absolutely everything.  People live here! This is why I am in Raleigh.”

Classified R

Vitus HouseWe recently attended the Wine 101: Classified R class at Vitis House. The classroom is located at The Loading Dock, 1053 E Whitaker Mill Rd. in Raleigh. During the pandemic class size is limited to 10 (less than half the capacity), with private tables and plenty of space between students.

Doors are kept open into the wide central area and all participants and instructors are masked. In short, Vitis House has your safety concerns covered and you can sit back and enjoy an engaging program of wine education and fun.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect. Although I continue to learn new things about wine everyday, I feel I have the basics of wine pretty well covered. That’s where the “R” classification enters in. The “R” is for rare wines. SPOILER ALERT: If you intend to go to the class, scroll past the next paragraph which covers the wines presented.

I was pleasantly surprised by the interesting array of wines that were chosen. Instead of a Chardonnay or Merlot, we started with a trio of sparking wines, a Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco. The next pair were an Albariño from Spain and a rosé from Patagonia. The closer was a red I couldn’t identify until it was revealed, a Touriga Nacional blend from Portugal.

Now that’s a wine lineup that can delight any wine lover, be they newbie or crusty old expert! Along the way interesting bits of information were woven into the program, such as the production methods of sparkling wine and how eggs are used in the final stages of winemaking.

“Wine to me is alive,” said Doreen. “It’s excitement, respect, tradition.  There is always a great story inside every good bottle of wine.” The program is presented through PowerPoint slides and videos – along with a guided tasting of six wines. Doreen has a refreshing personality and likes to engage with the audience and have fun, so the class time flies quickly.

Classes For Learning And Fun

Class prices are mostly $75 or $69 and range from wine, to food, to spirits. An online class costs $55. If you are interested in the WSET classes, WSET Level 3 is a bit higher, at $1,495. Levels 1 and 2 are much less costly. Having WSET classes nearby in Raleigh is an amazing plus for wine lovers in the area. Online corporate wine classes, private events, and gift certificates are also available.

The Vitis House formula is proving popular. A second location has opened in Winston-Salem at FlyWheel, located at 500 W. 5th Street. Like the professional chef she is, Doreen Colondres has combined all the ingredients to serve up a product sure to appeal to all those hungry for wine education.

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