Eppelation - wine tasting education with a splash


I cook with wine.  Sometimes I even add it to the food. ~ W.C. Fields



Welcome to the September issue of Eppelation e-News! (You're right, it's not quite September yet, but near enough!).


It's hard to believe, but fall is just around the corner and we'll soon be cooking heartier fare, and drinking fuller-bodied vino. Until then, we'll enjoy Colorado's Indian summer and make the most of our summer wines. In fact, you'll find a recipe for a great dish paired with a delicious summer wine on our new wine & food page: spicy chicken skewers with Chermoula marinade, paired with Foxglove Chardonnay from California.  Super-simple, and super-tasty! 


In this edition of Eppelation e-News you'll find wine class updates, a new winemaking quiz, a feature article on harvest, plus much more, so pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy! 


We hope to see you soon in a wine tasting class. 



Mark & Karen Eppel

facebook fans

   Our Eppelation Facebook page is up and running. Like us on Facebook for tasting class information, wine events, special offers, competitions, industry news and fun wine stuff! See our September Facebook special below for a great deal on wine tasting classes!


Check out our page and feel free to ask questions and make suggestions - we're all ears!  You'll find us at www.facebook.com/eppelation.


september facebook special

15% discount on a wine class

Receive a 15% discount on a single wine tasting class of your choice. The catch? Easy - you need to be a fan of our Facebook page and register for a class between 1-30 September! Check here for more details.



wine tasting classes

  • new venue

We're excited to announce that we will soon have an additional venue for wine tasting classes in Loveland at Crossroads!  Brix Wine & Spirits is a new boutique wine store, opening soon, and has a great private tasting room in-store where we will conduct wine classes in an intimate setting.  Once the details are finalized we'll post class information on our website, so stay tuned! For details on all our wine classes, click here.


  • wine & cheese

Last week's Wine & Cheese tasting was sold out - the good news is that we'll be repeating this tasty class at our new venue, Brix Wine & Spirits, later in the year and will keep you posted on the date.  


Thanks to Shannon Brennan, cheese buyer for Wholefoods and our local cheese expert, for sharing his knowledge and passion for cheese during this tasting.


  • tapas & wine

Tapas & Wine, our September 12 tasting, is shaping up to be a fantastic class, with seven wine & tapas selections. This class is sold out but there's always the chance of a cancellation, so please join our waitlist via email.


  • wine elements: back to basics

Wine elements: back to basics is a great class if you're new to wine tasting or if you'd like to improve your tasting skills. Join us for this interactive class where you'll learn how to deconstruct a wine in simple steps - nothing too geeky about it really!



Mark recently worked with a great group of people for a private wine & food pairing dinner and also helped them plan a trip to California's wine country. We're sure they'll have a fabulous time in CA and wish we could fit in their suitcase! They were kind enough to share their tasting experience in this testimonial. Thank you, it was a great night!



Just wanted to say how much we and our friends enjoyed the private wine tasting dinner, hosted in our home, with Mark's expert guidance.  The wine and food pairings for each of the six courses Mark selected were delectable!  Mark shared interesting background and observations related to the wines he provided, gave us excellent insider tips for planning our group's upcoming trip to California wine country and answered our guests' many and varied questions throughout the evening. 


He shared his knowledge of wine in such a conversational and interactive manner, that we felt like we had just spent an enjoyable evening with a friend who happens to know an awful lot about wine!  We enthusiastically recommend a wine tasting event, led by Mark Eppel, for any group interested in expanding their knowledge of wine in a friendly and casual atmosphere.



K. McKee and J. Johnson


join our mailing list here!

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends, colleagues, strangers or anyone who loves wine and might like to join our mailing list for updates....

it's harvest time!

With the domestic grape harvest underway we thought it would be a good time to give a brief run down on the ins and outs of harvest - the process of getting grapes to the winery. 


Peak months for northern hemisphere harvest are August - October, and February - April in the southern hemisphere. Harvest is the busiest, and arguably the most exciting time at a winery, so if you have a chance to visit a winery during harvest you'll be in the thick of the action. We've both worked through several harvests and yes, it's crazy, but it's really a great time to be at the winery - we highly recommend it!


First grapes off the vine are those destined to make our favorite all-occasion sparkling wines - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. These grapes are harvested early, before they reach optimal ripeness, to ensure higher acid and lower sugar levels (brix). Next in line for harvest are generally the whites, followed by the reds.  Bear in mind that harvest time can cross over for whites and reds depending on the growing region, the grapes, the specific vineyard microclimate, weather (rain is not a winemaker's friend at harvest time!) and the winemaking style amongst other factors. Complicated? A little bit! However, winemakers have plenty of tools on hand to help them figure out the best time to harvest each varietal.


Last but definitely not least are the grapes that make dessert wines - longer hang time (time on the vine) allows the grapes to reach a high ripeness level, increasing sugar content and decreasing acid, allowing a sweeter wine to be made. Ice wine goes a step further - in very cold regions, grapes are left on the vines to raisin and freeze before being crushed.


For the best wineries, when and how the grapes are harvested is critical. Generally speaking, machine harvested grapes are destined for mass-produced wines, while higher end wineries will harvest grapes by hand. Hand harvesting is a gentler method and protects the grapes from skin damage before getting to the winery, thereby reducing risk of oxidizing the juice and protecting against bacteria. An increasing number of wineries harvest grapes at night and into the early pre-dawn hours, to keep the grapes (and the vineyard crew) cool, which helps retain the grapes acid/sugar structure so the grapes arrive at the winery in tip-top shape.


Email us with any harvest questions - FYI the Napa Valley harvest is about 3 weeks later than average this year due to a cooler, wetter growing season. Doesn't sound like much but in the winery world, that's a big deal!


web updates

new wine & food page- We all love good wine and good food, right? To give you some ideas and to share some delicious wine & food pairings that we've experienced first-hand, we added a wine & food page to our website. Feel free to share your own great pairings with us and tell us if you've tried out our recipes!


news & events page - FYI we try and keep our news & events page updated with class updates, wine events and in-store tasting info. If you have an event you think we can add, just let us know.


fun facts & wine terminology - From our homepage you can also check out a new fun wine fact and a new wine term. Tell us if you have any fun wine facts or wine related terminology you'd like us to explain. We love suggestions and requests!


wine quiz

We have another winemaking quiz this month! Click here for the answers.


1. What term describes the "sense of place" of a wine?


2. What do "bouquet" and "aroma" refer to when talking about a wine?


3. What term describes a wine in which all the sugar in it has been used up by the fermentation?


4. What is the deposit of yeast and solids formed during fermentation called?


5. What is the term given to the grape skins, stems and bits and pieces, that rise to the top of the liquid during primary fermentation, or first phase fermentation?



Eppelation | P.O. Box 851 | Ft Collins | CO | 80522