Silver Mountain School of Hotel Management’s wine lab is breaking new grounds in imparting the fine art of wine etiquette.
Drinking—a word with varying meanings, but a relatively fun word at that. As fun as it may be, the subject of drinking has been chipped and declassed on occasion because of its ruggedness. In a world of convenient beers and heavy duty whisky, we always need a slender glass of Bordeaux to bring out the delicacy and elegance of drinking. Fortunately for Kathmandu, the wine lab at Silver Mountain School of Hotel Management (SMSH) is actually teaching the art of appreciating wine.
The wine lab, or oenology lab, at SMSH in Lainchaur, has been in operation since early 2015. The course and its workings have been designed by experts in Nepal, as well as by a sommelier from France. Since its establishment in 2002, Silver Mountain has built a reputation for providing well-rounded education in hotel and tourism management. Besides theoretical courses, students receive practical classes during the first two years of hotel management at the training hotel, which comprises of nine units of accommodation, two restaurants, and a bar and roof-top beer garden. All of this is available to the students to practice and work on their techniques, not to mention a perfect way to put theory into practice. The school currently provides a four-year Bachelor in International Hospitality and Tourism Management degree in affiliation with Queen Margaret University, UK, and a Diploma in International Culinary Arts degree, leading to the four-year hospitality degree. The oenology lab, although relatively new at SMSH, has already found its way into the list of the biggest prospects the college has to offer. It has gripped the potential student’s attention and interest as a unique course with high potential, and put wine on the map for further education here in Nepal.
Wine etiquette, as a subject, is rarely taught in any institution, so the introduction of an oenology lab at SMSH is a most welcome development, and a good reflection of the institute’s pioneering efforts at progressive education. They have regular 200 plus BHM students this year, who are being facilitated by the lab, with 12 theory classes a week. Occasional wine tasting sessions are conducted during all the semesters, where varieties of wine from different wine producing regions of the world are tasted. The college is also expanding its horizons by making oenology more than just a part of hotel management. Mr. Sagar Regmi, the Wine and Bar Facilitator at SMSH, said, “The college also provides wine etiquette and wine tasting classes as short-term courses, so that interested individuals can learn about the wine world. These classes cater to various people’s needs, including that of corporate professionals and housewives.” The short-term classes run from one day to one month, depending on the attendee’s interest.
The oenology lab basically touches on two things—wine, and what to do with wine. In the regular world, people often tend to gulp down their drinks without even looking twice at what they have in their hand. The purpose of the wine lab is to educate students on what actually to do with your wine. This includes looking at a glass of fine wine as more than just another drink. The lab teaches you the proper consumption method—observe, sniff, swirl, sip, aspirate, and repeat. This consists of, firstly, observing the contents of your glass and looking at your wine’s color and the hues around the edges by tilting the glass. Red wines usually have sediments settled at the bottom of the glass. Next, hold the wine glass by its stem (which prevents adding excess heat to the wine), and take a sniff of the preliminary wine just poured in the glass. Be sure not to dive right in or bury your nose in the wine. Instead, perk up your nose and smell the wine from the edge of the glass.
After this comes the swirling of the glass. You can swirl it most easily by keeping the wine glass firmly on a flat surface. During this period you sniff the wine again, and compare its smell, now that it’s aired, with that of the preliminary aroma. The right kind of bottled-up wine smells like burnt matches, or it has yeast like smell. If your wine smells like vinegar, it could mean it’s too acidic. Now comes the moment of glory. You purse your lips and take a small sip of the wine, letting the contents of the liquid unravel in your mouth. Note the taste, aroma, aftertaste, and the buzz on your tongue as you do so. Aspirate the wine after your first taste, exhaling through your nose, before you take another sip. Of course, the procedure at the lab is far more meticulous and rewarding. It teaches its students how to make poetry from wine. In other words, they put the fine in fine wine, in tune in their belief
SMSH believes that hotel management is incomplete without wine etiquette. The initiative taken by the founders of the oenology lab, and the perspective of the faculty and students at SMSH, is a refreshing and important development in hospital management education. This concept of progressive education and learning is hopefully a traveling wave, spreading with time. The future of oenology is blossoming at SMSH presently, and with it, the love for wine here in Kathmandu. They both go very well hand in hand, and it seems like their buzz is here to stay, aging like fine wine.