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April 6, 2013


Storytime and Wine Blending 101 at Dogpatch Wine Works

Dogpatch WineWorks Collage


As kids most of us at some point experimented with blending together various flavors of fruit juice and/or soda in an attempt to create the ultimate expression of aroma, taste and texture. You might have even tried dropping in a handful of Cheerios in hopes of gaining a bit of tannin extraction to round out the mid-palate only to have your little brother hurl his sippy cup across the kitchen in utter dissatisfaction with your grand cru cuvée. But, after many uninspiring vintages you realized that it was going to take more than simply mixing blue, yellow, orange and grape drink to revolutionize the beverage industry. Kool-Aid stained and exhausted you decided to divert your creative energies back to producing comedy sketches starring He-Man, Snoopy and Mr. Potato Head.


Stuart Ake


For hundreds of years winemakers have known that blending wines from different vineyards, varietals and in some cases vintages can produce a meritage that is far superior to the sum of it’s individual parts. With all the advances in viticulture and industrial wine production wizardry the art of wine blending remains an integral part of artisanal winemaking. This week I had the opportunity to attend a wine blending session at Dogpatch Wine Works led by wine educator extraordinaire and founder of Tasting Lab, Stuart Ake.


Wine Glasses


Before taking the plunge into wine education Stuart honed his teaching skills in the classrooms of San Leandro School District. From kindergarten ninja to super hero sommelier Stuart has the ability to captivate his audience with animated stories and charismatic interpretations of the various skills found in wine blending 101. Overall, Stuart did a fabulous job fielding questions, managing transitions and delivering the curriculum.

Who would have thought that mixing fruit punch as kids would help us develop useful skills that would transfer into our adult lives? The wine blending experience at Dogpatch Wine Works was a fun and engaging hands-on activity that I would highly recommend. Everyone in attendance had a great time playing in the blending lab and after two-hours of mixing and tasting like our ½ pint counterparts by 8PM we were a bit tuckered out and searching for our nap mats.



Notebook Wines


Wine Blending


A special thanks to Dogpatch Wine Works, Dave Gifford, Kevin Doucet and Stuart Ake for hosting a fabulous event. If you’re interested in taking a wine blending class head over to and sign up for their e-mail list to get the latest news on all their up coming events.


Notebook Question of the Day: What were some of your favorite toys growing up?

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Dave Gifford

You don’t get paws like these typing code all day. (Dave Gifford, Dogpatch WineWorks)

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