The word oenology, derived from the Greek oînos (wine) and lógos (science) refers to the science dedicated to the study and knowledge of wines. It also studies the cultivation of the vines, the production of the wine, its ageing and packaging, its tasting, its consumption and its marketing. Today, Louis Pasteur, having studied the action of yeast and bacteria as well as the process of fermentation, is considered to be the father of scientific oenology.
Understanding oenology means bringing the focus back to the vine and the different types of existing grapes, in order to then study the transformation of the grape into wine.
Even if we have been making wine since the dawn of time, it is because oenology has proved to be a true art form requiring specialist knowledge, as each wine region has its own distinctive natural environment. Therefore, what makes this art so interesting is the diversity of the vineyards, which allows for the production of unique and complex wines.
The title of oenologist, recognised in France since 1955, refers to someone who demonstrates the science of wine. An oenologist actually has several roles: ranking from technician to chemist, they are above all an outstanding wine taster who supervises, from the vine to the table, the different stages of wine production. This qualified expert with a love of wine therefore takes care of the winemaking process, the distillation, the blending as well as the bottling. Given their responsibility in evaluating the quality of the wine, an oenologist must have scientific knowledge of the chemical and biological processes which are under way during the winemaking. In order to remain a champion of wine tasting, it is essential that the oenologist continually develop their nose, their palate and their memory.
However, it is important to not confuse an oenologist with a sommelier: whilst the former controls the production of the wine and advises the winegrowers, a sommelier talks about wine, advises clients and is a specialist in the service and selection of the wine.
To discover the secrets of winemaking, to learn the blending process, or to familiarise yourself with the different stages of wine tasting, there are several workshops or oenological classes which allow you to immerse yourself in the universe of wine, whether you are a beginner or have previous experience. You can also choose to do an oenological course over several days or a wine weekend, if you have more time. To get off to a good start in oenology, an introductory class on the techniques of wine tasting is perfect for beginners. For example, here you will learn how to recognise certain characteristic aromas and develop your olfactory memory. This type of workshop is perfect for those who struggle to detect aromas, or confuse aromas (which are felt through the olfactory tract) and the flavours.
The workshops on food and wine pairing are also very successful, as they allow you to easily learn how to enhance your dishes, to delight your guests at your next dinner party with friends! To help you choose your oenological workshop, according to your level, your preferences and your budget, we have selected for you several specialists in oenology courses throughout France.
If you are looking to obtain technical oenological skills, take note that a simple wine tasting is not a workshop, and therefore will not be sufficient to discover the full complexity of this art form. An oenological workshop is often longer and includes both theoretical and practical elements.