Note: Audio available for this story
What is wine?
Chapter 1 of Lorraine Hems’ new textbook, Passport to the World of Wines, opens with this question leading into a discussion about how drinking a glass of wine means more than quenching thirst. It is a toast, a passion, an extension of friendship, and it is sometimes used to seal an agreement. The study of viniculture, world and regional specialties, service and storage, and pairings with food are part of the book that will be used for the Wines of the World class that Hems teaches.
For Hems, a lecturer in the School of International Hospitality and Service Innovation since 2001, her first book is a collection of information she has gathered from 30 years of experience in the field of wines and spirits—in retail and academia, as a certified sommelier (a professional wine steward) and as a judge for local and national wine competitions.
The book delves into wines produced in the U.S., Europe, South America and Australia. It also focuses on New York state’s contribution to the world of wine.
“RIT has assisted and encouraged me to travel to wine regions, attend conferences, gain certifications and deliver industry training. This has led to an increase of course offerings and wonderful opportunities for my students looking to make industry connections,” says Hems. “We have alumni around the globe involved in the beverage industry in sales, winemaking, graphics, marketing and more. How rewarding to have students who took an elective feel my passion, get ‘bit by the wine bug’ and then integrate wine in their future employment.”