Oenology Program at Cabrillo College

One of my latest articles discussed some of the different wine classes available in Santa Cruz and I didn’t include Cabrillo College’s Sue Slater. Sue is the premier wine instructor at Cabrillo, and for that matter, the premier instructor in Santa Cruz as well. She teaches a variety of different wine and culinary courses and is looking to start an oenology program at Cabrillo. I recently had a chance to sit down with Sue and discuss some of her classes and future plans at Cabrillo.
In February she taught an all encompassing Spanish wines course including Rioja, Jerez (where sherry is made), and every other up-and-coming Spanish region. This Summer she will be teaching a beginners two weekend course, which will focus on California and French Chardonnay the first weekend and Pinot Noir the second weekend. This short course will also include some Champagnes and sparkling wines made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay making it that much more intriguing.
In the fall Sue will teach a California wines class about territories, wine service, Terroir and tasting technique. Her cohort, Sal Godinez, will teach a wine faults class which will focus on detecting flaws in wine, such as corked bottles. These classes are the first to be in a 16-unit wine and service certification program designed by Sue Slater. It is very exciting that Santa Cruz will finally have a program like this available to the public where you can actually get certified! The program will be comprised of roughly eight classes and will include a wine service class, as well as a wine and food pairing class. Sue explained to me that her, “Eventual goal is to create a 30-unit oenology program including wine making courses.” The wine making course would actually take the students out of the classroom and into a wine making facility where they would get hands-on instruction. This program would greatly strengthen our local wine industry; it would allow for locally taught wine makers to continue practicing their craft here in the Santa Cruz Region.
After sitting and talking with Sue for only an hour I was already jealous of her extensive wine knowledge. I couldn’t detect a single area of wine that she didn’t have expertise in. We are truly lucky to have her knowledge and skills available to us as students. Do yourself a favor and sign up for one of her upcoming culinary or wine classes. I know I am!


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