For almost two years now, I have been a teacher’s assistant on campus for a class called “Wine’s of Northeast Ohio. For number of different reasons, I am sad to say that Saturday, April 4th was my last time assisting with this class. Not that I don’t enjoy the class, I love it, but unfortunately I will not be pursuing my graduate degree any further and there was no reason for the university to ask me back.
Anyway, the class is normally three days during the semester, and there are many different local wineries to which the class travels. The first day is local (within half hour of campus), one day we drive south about an hour and half, the final day we drive north.
Silly me, I should have been documenting all the days, I don’t know why I didn’t this idea until my last day (I know where they places are all at so I can always go back). On Saturday, we drove up north Geneva, Ohio and went to three wineries in that area. I want to take you through my day as a wine class teacher’s assistant:
Class begins at 8:00 am
I am told to arrive early to help “set up.” Saturday meant putting out name tags and the hand out for the day. After all the students arrive, I do the count for the day. As the lecture begins, I have to go an meet the bus out in front of the building. I love our bus driver! She has been our driver for over a year now, so I usually chit-chat with her for a few minutes before returning to the class room.
While the teacher is lecturing, I sometimes catch up on the blogs I read or write a post while he is teaching. The first day of class is the most work because I have to set up the food and wine because the students do a tasting in class. I also have to pour the wine and wash the glasses. However, on Saturday, it was a pretty chill day, there wasn’t much for me to do.
When the lecture is over, the students migrate to the bus. I help clean up what remaining paperwork I didn’t clean up already (I always do this early because I know I’ll have to do it later). We lock up the classroom and head to the bus as well. Once on the bus, I do a count to make sure all the students are on the bus and we aren’t leaving anyone behind and we head on our way.
The bus ride is always pretty boring. Depending how tired I am, I may fall asleep or catch up with the teacher (he’s super down to earth, I mean, come on, he teaches a wine class!!). I may read some more blogs, it can be difficult to work on the bus though.
When we drive north, it’s about an hour and half, so we usually make a pit stop, stretch the legs, grab a cup of coffee.
Finally we arrived at our first stop. Welcome to St. Joseph’s Vineyard!! St. Joseph’s is an estate vineyard, meaning all the wine they sell is made from grapes they grow on their property. This location is not their main growing location, their other property is 60 acres and over half is full of crop.
St. Joseph’s is known for their Pinot Noir. So, of course, this was one of the wines that the student’s tasted. This is where I get put to work again. Three wines were sampled at this location, and I get to pour the samples. While I am going around from glass to glass, one of the owner’s talks about the wine the students are tasting. Don’t worry, I get to taste too!
At St. Joseph’s, we tried their Pinot Noir, Riesling, Savigoun Blanc. After the tasting we took a short tour of the property and came back to the tasting room. At this point, I just hung out while the students tasted other wines and made purchases. Usually, I sip on the samples of the bottles that were not finished.
After St. Joseph’s we went to Ferrante’s Winery and Ristorante. Here, we had food and wine pairing lunch as well as a tour of the fermenting room. I’m getting a head of myself. For lunch we had ricotta pasta paired with a ???. I don’t like cheese (YEAH I SAID IT!!), so I had a nice salad instead. The second course was chicken and mashed potatoes in a Chardonnay reduction sauce. This was paired with ???. Finally dessert was a flour-less chocolate cake with a chocolate mouse paired with a Cab Franc. The dessert was SO good! I could have eaten a second slice.
After lunch, the students took a tour of the fermentation room. During this time, I just hung out in the tasting room, as I have been on that tour a million times. After the tour, the students again had time to taste other wines and make some purchases. I had been waiting over a year for their Rockin’ Rose. I really didn’t care much about the wine, I just really wanted the bottle – maybe you will see a craft from it in another post…
A short bus ride down the road and we were at Grand River Cellars. Here, I get put to work. The student’s tried three different wines: Pinot Grigio, Austin’s Red, and Riesling. While the wine maker talks about each wine, I pour a tasting of each for the students.
After the tasting, the students take a tour of the cellars, and since I have already seen the cellars before I hang out in the tasting room. One of the things I look forward to at Grand River is the olive oil tasting tray! Once the students come back from the tour there is a little time to hang out and have a glass of wine. While the students are enjoying themselves, I as do as well. After some down time, it’s time to head home. I take a quick count on the bus and we are on our way back to campus.
And there you have it! Now you have experience a day in the life of a teacher’s assistant for wine’s of northeast Ohio! Should you find yourself attending Kent State University and have time in your school schedule to take this class, I highly recommend it!