Fun Ways to Taste Wine: South Coast Winery’s Group Therapy

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I’ve always seen wine tasting as a form of therapy, so when I heard about a Group Therapy event hosted by South Coast Winery in Temecula, I had to see what it was all about. For those looking to get in touch with their inner wine geek, this online live-streaming event takes viewers through a guided wine tasting hosted by the winemakers. And the best part is you can taste along at home.

I signed up for the session at the South Coast website and in a few days, my at-home group therapy kit was delivered to my door. Included in the kit were four South Coast wines – Brut Sparkling, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo Rosé and Syrah – along with recipes to pair with the wines and a wine scoring sheet – all for under $60.

With my kit ready to go, I “begged” some friends to come over to watch, taste and learn. Online we were joined by proprietor, Jim Carter and winemakers Jon McPherson and Javier Flores live from their tasting room 90 miles away in Temecula. As our trained therapists for the session, they guided us through tastings of each wine.

While we sipped their featured 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, we learned that this wine was made from a Sauvignon Blanc/Muscat hybrid grape that develops more exotic fruit aromas when grown in a warmer region like Temecula Valley. With more “pretty” floral aromas (mango, pear, jasmine) and less intense mowed-lawn grassiness typically found in Sauvignon Blanc, my friends and I actually preferred the flavors of this wine over a more acidic Sauvignon Blanc we tasted earlier from a different Central Coast California winemaker.

For those friends who are more into the drinking part of wine tasting and not so much the learning, some of the discussion may be a little technical for some, but the winemakers are really good at breaking down wine-speak into laymen’s terms. I think this event appeals most to aspiring wine lovers who want to know more about the wines they are drinking. I recommend that you have your friends use the score sheets provided in the kit to rate the wines during the session. This is a good way to help tasters at home focus on which wines they like and why.

If you and your friends like learning about wine, this is a fun way to host your next tasting at home while getting to know the people behind South Coast’s award-winning wines.

South Coast Winery’s next group therapy session is set to happen this fall, but you can enjoy their featured wines anytime. Stop by their tasting room in Temecula or visit their website.  They are also a featured winery in the Wineopolis Citizen’s Guide to Temecula Valley.

If you’d like to have your next tasting event featured in the Wineopolis series on “Fun Ways to Taste Wine,” please email:

About Heidi
Heidi is senior editor at Wineopolis Press, and author of the Wineopolis® Wine-travel Guidebook series. She is the Certified Wine Expert® Program Director for Bartenders Association Internationale and editor of the latest edition of How to Test and Improve Your Wine Judging Ability. Heidi is a member of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, the Society of Wine Educators and Ladies Who Launch.

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