Andy Hale is the director of the Asheville School of Wine and the primary teacher for the classes taught there. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine and was formerly a Sommelier at the Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. He has over fifteen years of experience in the food and beverage community and has also worked in wine...

Andy Hale is the director of the Asheville School of Wine and the primary teacher for the classes taught there. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine and was formerly a Sommelier at the Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. He has over fifteen years of experience in the food and beverage community and has also worked in wine distribution. He and his wife, Christina, moved to Asheville from Charleston, South Carolina in 2012, and added their daughter Josephine to the picture in 2016.

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August 19th Blind Tasting League Results

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August 19th marked our first "virtual" Blind Tasting League event. We offered the wines that were to be tasted for sale in the previous weeks and they were available for pick up already bagged and numbered so that they could be tasted blind at home. I tasted the wines live on Facebook and led the tasting while people watched and tasted at home.

Read all about our tasting notes and what we guessed the wines were here https://www.blindtastingleague.com/blog/entry/august-19th-blind-tasting-league

Our next Blind Tasting League will be on September 16th at 5:30. If you want to join in yourself, pick up the wines at Metro Wines and tune in at https://www.facebook.com/MetroWinesAsheville

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Foundations of Wine Class Returns in September!

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That's right, our wildly successful Foundations of Wine class at AB Tech is returning this fall!
 
Class runs every Tuesday night from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. starting on 9/29 and ending on 10/20.  Class size is limited to support social distancing and is held in a large spacious tiered classroom to allow for maximum space. We can only accomodate 14 students and the class will sell out fast!
 
Class covers topics and practical skills essential to a career in the wine industry, be it distribution, retail, restaurant
or hospitality settings. Focus on knowledge needed to prepare for entry level certification exams such as those
offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Society of Wine Educators. Explore the basics of wine,
global regional differences, service techniques and food pairings. Blind tastings included to develop distinction
ability. Hobbyists are welcome. Andy Hale will be teaching the class again.
 
If you would like to sign up, contact Sherry Lunsford at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The cost for the class is $106.35.
 
For more information about AB Tech's COVID-19 safety procedures visit their website here https://abtech.edu/about/contact/coronavirus-covid-19-information

 

Hope to see you in September!

 
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The Blind Tasting League Returns... Virtually

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Calling all blind tasters! Our in-house blind tasting class, The Blind Tasting League is all set to make its dramatic return… virtually.

We will be coming to you once a month via Facebook live with two wines, a red and a white. Both wines will be available at Metro Wines for pickup in advance of the tasting, we will have them in bags simply marked with a “1” and a “2” so that you can taste blindly along with me. No peeking! While we are tasting together virtually, you can comment on what you are tasting and guess what we are drinking, and I will be able to read them during the tasting, live. It should be interactive and a lot of fun!

If you have never blind tasted before, don’t worry. This is a very entry-level blind tasting class and meant for beginners, although hopefully even seasoned blind tasters will get some practice and enjoyment out of this virtual class!

If you are interested in joining our live event, watch my video below to learn the basics of blind tasting and download these helpful materials to make the tasting a little easier. It’s the blind tasting grid from the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as a cheat sheet of common tasting descriptions of different wine varietals.

Our first virtual Blind Tasting League will go live at 5:30 on August 19th on Facebook, the link is here. There is no need to RSVP or pay for the class, it is on the house! Pick up the wines at Metro Wines in advance so you can taste with me, or just watch and consider playing along next time.

Cheers and hope to see you on Facebook Live!

Get your cheat sheets for the tasting here!

Metro Wines' Facebook page is here

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Skype Tasting with Master Sommelier Joe Spellman from Justin Winery

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Join us on Monday, August 10th at 7pm EST on ZOOM for a tasting of three extraordinary wines from JUSTIN presented by Master Sommelier Joe Spellman. You will be at an online party with JUSTIN fans from cities around the country including Chicago, New York and Houston. The ZOOM presentation is on the house!

"This is a unique opportunity presented by one of the most well respected wineries in America and, judging from our sales here in Asheville, one of the most popular!" says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines.

The wines include two we have always shelved @MetroWines and a new one to our shop, JUSTIN Sauvignon Blanc.

JUSTIN Sauvignon Blanc from Central Coast, has been described as a "Bordeaux meets California" style that presents bright acidity, lemon and tropical flavors in a medium bodied crisp and clean wine. JUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon made in Paso Robles was chosen as the "#5 Most Popular Restaurant Wine in the US" by Wine&Spirits Magazine in 2019. And JUSTIN Isosceles, is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot scoring 94 Points from Wine Enthusiast. JUSTIN Cabernet and Cabernet blends are deep purple with a ruby core, full bodied, rich cherry wrapped in a Bordeaux style.

You can access the tasting by registering here: https://metrowinesasheville.com/store/product/justin-zoom-tasting-with-master-sommelier/

You do not need to purchase the wines to join in the online tasting. But when you buy any two of the three wines to be presented prior to the tasting, JUSTIN is presenting your purchase in an official JUSTIN tote bag while our stash lasts!

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Unique Italian Varietals

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Andy's Favorite Value Reds

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Starting a Wine Cellar Part 2

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Starting a Wine Cellar Part 1

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Corsican Wines

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Summertime Wines

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The School's New You Tube Channel!

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Hello all!

So, 2020 has been quite a year for all of us so far, and not in a good way. Of all of the semi-cataclysmic events that have happened this year, the widespread danger of COVID-19 has been the worst for us here at the School. Due to the size of our teeny-tiny classroom, we have had to put all of our classes on hold for the foreseeable future.

While we may host some virtual classes in the future (I’m technologically challenged), we have at least found a small way to stay connected with you all. We have started our own You Tube channel!

If you have found yourself missing the classes and live events that the Asheville School of Wine has brought to you in the past, you can watch our educational videos and stay in the know on all things Vino!

I’ll be posting them here on the School’s blog from time to time, but consider subscribing to our channel so that you can see the videos as they are uploaded.

Watch our videos and subscribe here! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnFIJi3rJ4BKppfO4Hd7pw

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A Wine Trip Through Europe: The Results Are In!

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I just got in my end of course evaluations from my sold-out class, A Wine Trip Through Europe. Not to toot my own horn but...toot!

 

"Andy is a natural teacher and is really enthusiastic about the topic of wine. He has developed a

beautiful script for the class with detailed notes and beautiful photos of the regions where the

particular wines are made. Many of our class of 14 had previous wine experiences in the

countries covered in the class, which coupled with Andy's information, made for a very

energetic and enjoyable time. We plan to take the class again whenever it is offered next."

 

"Andy is an engaging instructor who is thoroughly passionate about what he teaches and eager

to share the subject matter with his class. Andy enthusiastically delivers his instruction through

analogies to deepen our understanding and invitations to his audience to share experiences

and ask questions. For sure, Andy provided a comfortable environment for all. My past position

at university located in Philadelphia (I recently retired) required me to perform me to perform in

class teacher evaluations. As far as I'm concerned, Andy knocked all of my clients out of the

ballpark! What a natural! Thank you OLLI for engaging Metro Wine among your course

offerings!"

 

"Such an enjoyable class! Andy is an excellent presenter and shows his love of the topic. A

great ambassador for Metro Wine!"

 

"I had heard great things about the wine courses and was very pleased to find the

recommendations to all be true. What a delight!"

 

"Best course I have taken virtually anywhere in my life (and I have taken a lot of courses!). Very

much appreciated Andy's knowledge and tremendous patience. Thank you, Andy!!"

 

"The course was very well done, however I bought too much wine"

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"A Wine Trip Through Europe" Class Concludes as Tariff Worries Lessen

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Last week was the last of our four part series "A Wine Trip Through Europe" class taught through the OLLI Program at UNC Asheville. This class was meant to be a celebration of European wines with a lot of geography, wine regions and traditional grape varietals thrown in. It was intended to demystify European wine and to especially make navigating the French and Italian sections of wine lists easier.

Due to the looming threat of 100% tariffs on European wine, it became something slightly different. Still educational, but with a more somber undercurrent. We worried that this would be the last "hoorah" through European wine regions. We learned about the wines of Bordeaux, and then worried that what we had in our glass would become the last we would taste.

Of course, if a 100% tariff were to be passed, this would mean that most European wines would cease being imported. Nobody wants to pay $40 for a $20 wine. European wines would dissapear from wine shope shelves and wine lists throughout the country.

Fortunately, it seems that these apacolyptic tariffs have been avoided for now, although they could resume at the Trump Administration's will. There are still some tariffs on European wines in place, but they aren't enough to stop consumers from purchasing them. If you have noticed that your favorite French wine has increased by a few dollars, the current tariffs are probably responsible.

Fortunately, European wines will still grace the shelves of Metro Wines and wine lists around the US. I'll always remember my "Wine Trip Through Europe" class as a reminder of how close we came to losing these amazing wines.

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Foundations of Wine @ AB Tech - SOLD OUT!

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School is back in session at AB Tech and we are returning with our wildly successful Foundations of Wine class! This course is designed for people who want to break into the wine industry, or for those already in the industry who are looking to up their wine game or even take a Sommelier exam. Of course, it is open to non-industry folk as well who just want to learn some restauraunt-grade wine service skills and learn a lot of wine regions and grapes.

The course covers flavor characteristics of grapes from all over the world, proper steps of wine and Champagne service, information about the various Sommelier Certification programs and grapes and terroir of the wine regions of the world.

The Winter 2020 class is sold out, but it will return in the Fall Semester at AB Tech. For more information, contact Maria Spadaro 828-398-7925, marialspadaro@abtech.edu.

Cheers!

 

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Money, Mayhem, Murder: The Darkest Side of Wine

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By popular demand, we are bringing one of our most popular series of classes from the OLLI program at UNCA to the Asheville School of Wine, complete and unedited!

Money, Mayhem & Murder covers the worst crimes in the wine industry, both historical and modern day. We will cover everything from Arson to Fraud and, of course, Murder.

This will be a series of three classes, each one will be two hours long and include wines to taste that have been paired with the stories.

Each class is $30 plus tax or $75 for all three classes.

Class 1: Money

This class will examine the financial crimes committed in the world of wine. Theft, Ponzi Schemes, arson and counterfeit wine will be covered in this class.

March 10th from 5:00-7:00

Class 2: Mayhem

The “Wine Mafia”in France, wine terrorists, a scandal that tanked an entire country's wine program, a wine bottle brawl at 30,000 feet and why you should never mess with Chateau Cheyval Blanc.

March 17th from 5:00-7:00

Class 3: Murder

Murders and poisons in the world of wine. The Borgias, Rasputin, a Sicilian who helped women murder their husbands and a modern day murder–suicide in Napa Valley.

March 24th from 5:00-7:00

Buy Tickets Here!

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The Asheville School of Wine in the News Again!

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We were interviewed by Market Watch Magazine recently about our upcoming Beaujolais Nouveau Tasting and book signing. In it I made the bold claim that we are on the verge of a quality revolution for Nouveau. Just like all wines, I think we as consumers are growing tired of mass-produced, mediocre quality wines and are purchasing better quality products. That's why we have decided to focus on only quality Nouveau this year, instead of stacking cases of pinkish-hued plonk. This belief that we are buying better quality wines is what is feuling my belief that Nouveau will get better and better over time.

Having said that, Nouveau is different from traditionally fermented wine. We are talking about wine that hasn't been aged at all, the grapes were literally on the vine a few months ago. It will never rival Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but it isn't supposed to. Beaujolais Nouveau is a seasonal celebration of the current harvest. It should be simple, fresh, fruity and fun. It doesn't have to be any more than that.

Read the full article here!

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The Asheville School of Wine Teaches College!

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That's right! We've made it to the big leagues here at the Asheville School of Wine. We were approached by AB Tech's fantastic Craft Beverage Institute about adding some classes on wine to go along with their courses on Beer. Of course we excitedly agreed!

The course was designed to provide practical wine knowledge and service to professionals who are currently in the wine industry or want to get into the industry. We also wanted it to serve as a "first step" towards Sommelier Certification through one of the Sommelier Guilds. 

In our 12 hour course we covered everything from opening bottles of wine and Champagne, to blind tasting, careers in wine, sensory analysis, and steps of service. It also covered lots and lots of information on wines and wine regions of the world.

It was a fantastic experience and something I'm looking for ward to doing again. We will teach the same course again in early 2020. Contact AB Tech if you are interested in taking this course.

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Fall Wine Classes Announced!

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As the heat of Summer is starting to fade, it's time to announce our Fall Semester of wine classes here at the Asheville School of Wine! There are 8 classes lined up for you before the year is out.

Starting out, we have the Blind Tasting League, which returns on September 19th at 5:30. This interactive class will delve into the Sommelier art of deductive blind tasting. We will taste two whites and two reds in this fun, informative and funny class, as we try to guess the varietal and country of origin of each. $20 tax included!

Next, we will have our Fall series of classes, "Around the World in Wine." This four-part series will cover the famous wines and regions of the world. Starting with France on October 1st at 5:30, Italy on October 8th, Spain and Portugal on October 15th, and then Wines of the New World on October 22nd. These classes are $25 each plus tax or $85 plus tax for all 4 classes.

Expect to learn about the spooky things lurking in your glass of wine in the annual "Dark Side of Wine" class. Is your favorite wine made out of grapes, or something more sinister? Find out on October 30th at 5:30. $25 plus tax.

Confused by Port and Sherry? You aren't alone! Learn about all of the different styles of fortified wine in our course on Port and Sherry. November 19th at 5:30. $25 plus tax.

Finally, just in time for the New Year is our class on Sparkling Wine! What's the difference between Champagne, Cava and Prosecco? What in the world is Cremant? Find out in our class on December 17th at 5:30! $25 plus tax.

Buy Tickets Here!

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Recent Comments
Guest — decanter
Your wine glass is too cool!... Read More
Wednesday, 23 October 2019 04:22
Guest — Liza
Thanks for sharing winery information in this blog I read it and got much information by it. I guess it is the best blog of wine. ... Read More
Thursday, 26 December 2019 08:28
Andy Hale
Thanks for the kind words Liza! We had a fun Fall Semester. Stay tuned for our Winter Semester of classes which will be announced ... Read More
Saturday, 28 December 2019 11:40
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Blind Tasting League Returns!

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Stay tuned for details coming soon!

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Money, Mayhem, Murder: The Darkest Side of Wine

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By popular demand, we are bringing one of our most popular series of classes from the OLLI program at UNCA to the Asheville School of Wine, complete and unedited!

Money, Mayhem & Murder covers the worst crimes in the wine industry, both historical and modern day. We will cover everything from Arson to Fraud and, of course, Murder.

This will be a series of three classes, each one will be two hours long and include wines to taste that have been paired with the stories.

Each class is $30 plus tax or $75 for all three classes.

Class 1: Money

This class will examine the financial crimes committed in the world of wine. Theft, Ponzi Schemes, arson and counterfeit wine will be covered in this class.

June 13th from 5:00-7:00

Class 2: Mayhem

The “Wine Mafia”in France, wine terrorists, a scandal that tanked an entire country's wine program, a wine bottle brawl at 30,000 feet and why you should never mess with Chateau Cheyval Blanc.

June 20th from 5:00-7:00

Class 3: Murder

Murders and poisons in the world of wine. The Borgias, Rasputin, a Sicilian who helped women murder their husbands and a modern day murder–suicide in Napa Valley.

June 27th from 5:00-7:00

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