SEQUOIA GROVE’S SENIOR WINE EDUCATOR DEAN BUSQUAERT OFFERS SOME THANKSGIVING WINE PAIRING TIPS
According to a recent Nielsen study 50% of Americans over 21 are likely to drink wine for Thanksgiving, yet it’s hard to a meal more challenging for wine pairings due to the diversity of flavors as well as the sugar content in many of the dishes.
Dean currently works at Napa Valley’s Sequoia Grove, where he teaches guests how to pair Cabernet to food in an educational experience called “A Taste for Cabernet.” Some of the pairing tips Dean can discuss include:
• Have red and white wines on hand for a variety of different dishes
• Pair acid-driven white wines with sweeter dishes due to the wine’s lower tannin level and naturally smoother profile
• If you’re drinking a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, add acidity and salt to foods to soften Cabernet Sauvignon’s robust texture
Dean is extremely personable, eloquent, and great for radio. He has over 20 years’ experience in Napa Valley food and wine education, is a Certified Specialist of Wine, and has worked with wineries such as Sequoia Grove, Robert Mondavi Winery, Grgich Hills Estate, and Beringer Vineyards.
ABOUT SEQUOIA GROVE:
Sequoia Grove is a family-owned winery founded in 1979 in a 110-year old barn beneath a grove of Sequoia trees in Rutherford, Napa Valley. It is here where we’ve honed our craft of creating world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and other Napa Valley wines that emphasize elegance, finesse, structure and balance. Our consistent philosophy of making wines with varietal character that are reflective of the land helped establish Sequoia Grove as one of the premier Cabernet Sauvignon producers in Napa Valley. Our 24-acre Estate Vineyard and 50-acre Tonella Ranch Vineyard are both located in the heart of Rutherford, where the superb climate and gravelly-loam soils impart distinct flavor in the Bordeaux varieties.
ROBIN KELLEY O'CONNOR - WINE SPECIALIST, BLOGGER AND SOMMELIER – HOLIDAY WINE TREND
Robin serves as a guest wine instructor and examiner for the Intensive Sommelier Training program at the International Culinary Center. ICC is one of the leading culinary educational institutions in the U.S., with campuses in New York and Napa Valley. It is a world class institution dedicated to the culinary arts and vinous education.
Mr. O’Connor was previously Lead Specialist & Head of Wine, Americas for Christie’s Auction House. He is a Christie’s trained charity auctioneer. Prior to Christie’s, he was Director of Sales and Education for Manhattan wine and spirits retailer Sherry-Lehmann, winner of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2010 Wine Retailer of the Year Award. Preceding Sherry-Lehmann, he was Trade Liaison and director of trade and consumer education in the Americas for the Bordeaux Wine Bureau (Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux) for 20 years. He remains intimately involved with the Bordeaux wine community and was the first American to be certified as an International Bordeaux Wine Educator.
Robin also has worked with Italian Wine Merchants (IWM), where he was the Director of Education, resident Bordeaux expert, weekly contributor to the IWM blog and "Expert Picks," as well as a member of the editorial team for the daily IWM e-Newsletter.
Robin holds Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Certified Wine Educator (CWE) certifications from the Society of Wine Educators and passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Certified Sommelier exam. O'Connor served as president of the Society of Wine Educators from 2003-2007, is on the board of directors of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food and has been a regular panelist at the Food and Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen for over 25 years. He speaks annually at Pebble Beach Food and Wine, the premiere epicurean lifestyle event on the West Coast.
As a popular wine educator and spokesperson, he has conducted over 2,500 seminars; written for the Trenton Times, Santé Magazine, Wine & Spirit; and served as senior editor for Kevin Zraly’s Complete Wine Course 25th Anniversary Edition. For over a year during 2008-2009 he traveled around the world with Kevin visiting over 20 Countries, 80 wine regions, 500 appellations and tasted more than 7,000 wines.
Among his many professional honors, Mr. O’Connor bears the distinction of induction into the wine world’s most prestigious institutions, including the Commanderie du Bontemps de Médoc- des Graves et de Sauternes-Barsac, the Jurade de Saint-Emilion and Les Hospitaliers de Pomerol.