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Star Vintners Come Out for Meet the Winemakers Course

Annual Parks and Recreation series hosted by Mill Valley Market's Doug and David Canepa kicks off April 26, with a loaded lineup of central California wineries to follow on May 3.

Anyone who has ever bought a sandwich or a bottle of wine from has probably glanced up behind the checkstand and noticed the portrait gallery lining the wall.

You may have wondered who those people are pouring wine or pontificating over a glass. Those are some of California’s most notable winemakers and the event is the annual sponsored by Mill Valley Parks and Recreation and hosted by market co-owners Doug and David Canepa.

Besides providing a hands-on (or rather, taste buds-on) wine education and appreciation, Meet the Winemakers is also an interesting and fun social event. Each night is hosted by a different winemaker focusing on a particular region, varietal, or style of wine.

The winemakers will be pouring some of their own wines as well as those of their competitors for blind taste tests. Through discussion, tasting, and evaluation you’ll learn all about wine appreciation and winemaking, from the grape to the glass. No experience is necessary—experts and novices alike will take something away from this course.

Now in its 33rd year, the Meet the Winemakers series was started in 1980 by Jim Canepa. It remains one of the longest running classes offered by Mill Valley Parks & Recreation. With a focus on the wines of California, the course originally drew on the amazing pool of winemaking talent right here in our backyard, including such notables as Paul Draper from Ridge Vineyards, Joel Peterson from Ravenswood, Warren Winiarski from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Walter Schug (who, in a past class, notoriously voted his own wine the worst in a blind tasting against five of his competitors).

In 2009, the scope of the course expanded internationally. This year's series of five classes takes attendees around the world with a variety of diverse personalities and fine wines.

The first class on April 26, hosted by Peter Wellington of Wellington Wines, compares the White Rhones of France to the White Rhone blends of the United States.

The second class on May 3, possibly the highlight of the series, features five winemakers from the central coast of California each with several wines to try—Vailia Esh from Desperada Wine, Lino Bozzanno from Folkway Wine, Andrew Jones from Field Recordings and Fiction, Russel From of Herman Story Wines, and Curt Schalchlin from Sans Liege and Groundwork.

A Syrah tasting on May 10 follows with Dennis DeDomenico of Rock Wren, while May 17 features wines from the Basque region of Spain with J.J. Clifton and the final class on May 24 is a focus on Zinfandel with Fred Scherrer of Scherrer Vineyards.

Participants are required to bring six wine glasses to each class. Artisan cheese and crackers will be provided, but you’re also welcome to bring your own snacks and treats to nibble and share with friends.

Classes are held at the , Thursday nights from 7:30 to 9:30 starting April 26. The cost is $110.00 for all five classes. Participants are also eligible for discounts at Mill Valley Market on the wines tasted.

For more information or to register call Mill Valley Parks & Recreation at (415) 383-137o, Mill Valley Market at (415) 388-3222 or go the class website here.

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