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Vintage Advice

Instructor will share his knowledge of wine during a six-week summer class.

June 25, 1998|LEO SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Randy Greenfield isn't afraid to have white wine with red meat--even in public. He actually looks forward to a break in the conventional pairing of food and drink.

"Most white wines in the world today serve perfectly well with any meat anyone can put in front of you," said Greenfield, a Ventura resident. "There is no rule that you have to have red wine with red meat."

That is one of the bits of wine wisdom Greenfield will impart in his "Wine Tasting and Appreciation" class beginning in July at Learning Tree University in Thousand Oaks. He has taught similar classes at UC Santa Barbara for 15 years.

Along with practical wine information, Greenfield will provide students with wine nuts and bolts: how wine is made, where it comes from and why certain wines come from certain regions of the world.

"I'm going to talk about all different kinds of wine and how wines have an affinity for foods that have originated in a particular [region]," he said. "Italian wines, for example, go with Italian foods--robust foods, foods that have significant flavor."

At the conclusion of the course, Greenfield said, students should be able to identify just about any wine with their eyes closed. And they should be open to trying any of the numerous varieties available, not just the old tried-and-true vintages and wineries.

"The most important thing is that when they go into a store, they will not be stuck on a single brand," he said. "Their eyes will be wide open to the whole world of wine--they will be willing to try anything. I will present them with wines they would never, ever purchase themselves."

Greenfield's own introduction to wine occurred shortly before he graduated from UCSB. He took his future wife to dinner one evening at the Ranch House in Ojai, he said, and he was overwhelmed by what wine had to offer.

"I was enticed to go to work as a sommelier," said Greenfield, who these days distributes wine as well as teaches about it. "I spent five or six years learning the trade and I have never been able to get away from it."

This will be the first time Greenfield has taught his wine class at Learning Tree University, but at UCSB his students tend to be people who have an interest in wine more as a social pursuit than as a hobby.

"They are generally professionals who want to enhance their social status," he said. "At one point in time, not many years ago, people came in and it was for the most part totally for pleasure. In the past five years they are coming for one purpose: They want to know that when they are entertaining or going out to dinner, they know the right things to say about wine."

The class will run from 8 to 9:30 p.m. on six consecutive Tuesdays beginning July 14. Cost is $79 per person, or $129 per couple. To reserve a space, call (805) 497-2292.

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Speaking of wine and the foods that go with them, Ventura's Wine Lovers wine bar and shop will host a French cheese tasting Tuesday with French cheese expert Fritz Leon of Beverly Hills. He will prepare and discuss a selection of cheeses and match them with champagne, cabernet and port.

Cost for the tasting is $20 per person. Wine Lovers is at 1067 E. Thompson Blvd. For more information, call (805) 652-1810.

' Most white wines in the world today serve perfectly well with any meat anyone can put in front of you. There is no rule that you have to have red wine with red meat.'

RANDY GREENFIELD

Wine teacher

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