Sommeliers and CMC Breckenridge partner for wine-education classes |

Sommeliers and CMC Breckenridge partner for wine-education classes

Suzie Romig
Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado – What kind of wine would go with this dish?

That’s a question chef instructor Doug Schwartz, recreational cooking program director at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge, is asked more and more these days.

With the increasing popularity of the recreational cooking classes at the campus – with more than 3,000 class signups since offerings started two years ago – more students are asking about which wines pair with their newly mastered culinary creations. So this fall semester, the campus’ culinary program rolls out a new series of wine-education classes, taught through a partnership with certified sommeliers who work in Summit County.

“It is quite common to offer wine classes at both professional and recreational schools,” said Schwartz, noting that students who build a relationship with a local sommelier are more likely to spend their wine dollars in Summit County. “People seem to be excited about the opportunity to take some wine-education classes.”

Sommelier and instructor Anne Dowling, owner of the Ridge Street Wine retail shop and wine bar in Breckenridge, said she is excited to be furthering wine education in the mountains.

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“A lot of people are interested in the culinary world, and they want to know what to pair with the dishes they are creating,” said Dowling, who received her certification through the international Court of Master Sommeliers. “For the general public, wine consumption has grown exponentially in the past 10 years, and more and more people want to know about what they are drinking. They come into the shop and ask questions all the time.”

Schwartz said the noncredit, self-funded classes will start with the basics, aimed at improving wine enjoyment. Participants will learn the fundamentals of how wine is made, wine terminology, understanding labels, proper tasting techniques and how to navigate a wine shop and a restaurant wine list.

Students must be 21 to enroll, and all wine will be served in a controlled tasting environment. Wine 101 classes will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays on Sept. 12, Oct. 10 and Nov. 7. The education series will continue late summer and fall with Old World Wines on Thursday, New World Wines on Sept. 22, Wines of France on Oct. 6, Wines of Italy on Oct. 27 and Wines of Spain and Portugal on Nov. 17.

Schwartz said a Colorado wines class is on tap for the future. More information is available by contacting him at 970-453-6757, ext. 2609, or

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