ABOUT CECILE BERGART ...
Hello and welcome to Hampshire Wine School. My name is Cecile and I have always enjoyed drinking wine. In fact, I was given my very first drop of Champagne at four hours old, and apparently liked it very much. But let me confess to even more ...
As a child, I learned to read using wine labels and count thanks to champagne vintage years. As an adult, I have uncorked, swirled, laid down, warmed up, cooled down, decanted, tasted or drunk several hundred bottles. Washed thousands of empty glasses and marked numerous white and innocent tableclothes for life. And the worst of my confessions? I do not spit, I swallow.
Eventually, little by little, I got to understand the difference between a Grand and a Premier Cru. Between Old and New World. Between a Chablis and an oaked Chardonnay. So if I can do it, so can you; and here's my wine school to help you enjoy everything wine has to offer. As a Sommelier and Champagne Expert, I will share my likes and dislikes with you. I will try to advice you on what to drink and how to drink it. And eventually, I sure hope to help you find out what your tastebuds enjoy.
But one thing I will not do is tell you that you have to like a specific wine, simply because a Master of Wine has given it a high score, because a celebrity has been seen drinking it, because it retails at such a high price that surely it can only be good, or because it is a brand name with huge adverts that can and will blind your judgment. Only you can find out what your palate likes.
So pull yourself a chair next to me and let's start drinking together.
Your tutor, Cecile Bergart, is a published Champagne and Wine Educator, a guest champagne expert for Champagne World Magazine, for Channel 4 'Superscrimpers', a regular guest speaker on BBC Radio Solent, as well as being an approved staff educator for Marks and Spencer. Trust us when we say that you will be in good hands to learn more about wine!
Read more about Cecile's numerous achievements in the wine industry on LinkedIn.
Please feel free to contact Cecile for any help or guidance on 02380 644350 or 07969 113382.
ABOUT KEVIN WHITE ...
My love-affair with wine started when I walked into the home of Michael Shuster, the renowned taster, teacher and author for a beginner’s wine course. It was pure luck that I had chosen Michael’s course (it was walking distance from my office in Islington) and what took me there was the fact that I had to order wine at business lunches in front of business clients, and thus felt the need to be a little bit more educated as far as wine was concerned. I was hooked, and I returned time and again, until I had my advanced wine exams and I finally felt ready to go out and experience the world of wine for myself. That was in 1984 and to this day I still find the same buzz of excitement when I taste a wine I haven’t tried before.
What Michael taught me is that wine is fun. It is actually meant to be enjoyed. It’s a serious business, that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. As Jancis Robinson says, “wine is one of life’s perks, an indulgence, a mood-lifter, a social mixer.”
I am also a keen biker and over the years a succession of motorbikes, perhaps not really suited to off-roading, have ended up following some dirt track to vineyards in strangely remote parts of Europe. I seem to have learned to say “I am not a trespasser, I am a wino” in many languages and always end up making new friends. It is probably no great surprise to learn that my favourite wines come from regions that also have great scenic roads; the Rhone valley, the Loire, Alsace, the Rhinelands, Piedmont, Chianti, Rioja. These places feel like home to me. Oddly, I tend to think of New World wines as exotic, mysterious, and ever-so-slightly naughty. I wonder why?!
ABOUT JACOPO MAZZEO ...
I am a beer writer and beer sommelier based in Southampton, member of the British Guild of Beer Writers and the CAMRA (South Hants Branch), and I also serve as a judge at the International Beer Challenge.
As a writer, I collaborated with the magazines Birra Nostra and Gambero Rosso. Currently, I have a monthly column on Cronache di Birra, the principal source of information on craft beer for the Italian-speaking audience. I mostly write about beer traveling and the British beer scene, but I also focus on beer reviews and beer and food pairing. My personal website features articles unavailable elsewhere and information on all professional services I can offer. My last beer venture has been the Belgian Beer Battle, organised by the Flemish Tourism Board Visit Flanders.
PS. in my ‘spare time’ I’m also a musicologist; I've recently been awarded the PhD at the University of Southampton with a thesis that investigates the medieval genre of conductus.