by Fred McMillin
for May 21, 1998

Profile of a Wine Class


The demographics of my Ft. Mason, San Francisco wine class...

  • 100% work full time
  • 100% have attended college and 90% have at least one degree.
  • 60% in their thirties, 30% in their twenties
  • 60% women, 40% men
  • 60% are taking their first wine course.
  • 0% definitely will not take another wine course.
  • To join us, (415) 561-1840.

The Rest of the Story

So what kind of wines do these hard-working, well-educated wine students prefer? We tasted a number of affordable whites. Also, I had some veterans rate them and the two groups agreed. The winner was America's most popular white varietal, Chardonnay, produced by David Lett, the first vintner in Oregon's most popular wine district, the Willamette Valley. He and wife Diana planted a variety of Chardonnay clones back in 1966, and these mature vines provided the grapes for this full-flavored, yet gentle wine, fermented in 1993!

The Wine

1993 Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, Oregon
The Eyrie Vineyards, Dundee, Oregon
Educational Feature—If you've wondered what is meant by "Burgundian style" Chardonnay, taste this one. You'll find it more subdued than the big, explosive California models.
Phone—(503) 472-6315
Price—$l4 range


I mentioned that all members of my Ft. Mason class had attended college. So did David Lett. In fact, it was a vacation from the academic grind that changed his career plans. After earning his philosophy degree, he toured the Napa Valley before starting dental school in San Francisco. Pow! Goodbye molars, hello Merlots. Note—For more about the Eyrie Vineyards, see the Dec. 1,1997 WineDay titled. "The Lett Legend."

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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