For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been on a wine tour of Austria. Now, I’m no expert on Austrian wines, but I’ve been traveling with someone who is: Beau Jarvis.
Strictly speaking, I haven’t actually been to Austria in a few years. But for the past weeks, I’ve been touring the Austrian wine country with Beau Jarvis via his wine blog. It’s the next best thing to actually being there. Reading Jarvis’ stuff, I can almost taste the wines myself.
Who is Beau Jarvis? Well for starters, he’s a Utahn'or at least, he makes Utah his home. And Jarvis is the founder/proprietor of Salt Lake City-based Basic Juice, a business devoted to spreading the good news and educating people about wine.
Jarvis is a bona fide wine expert in much the way that I am not: He has a sommelier certification from the Sommelier Society of America, underwent wine training at New York City’s French Culinary Institute and earned an advanced certificate in wine and spirits from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust of England. As for me, I just drink the stuff. But don’t get the idea that Beau Jarvis is any wine snob. He isn’t. The articles and blogs he writes for his Basic Juice Website (BasicJuice.com) are as fun as they are informative. And they’re really informative. Despite all the credentials, Jarvis calls himself “first and foremost a wine enthusiast.”
“When it comes to wine,” says Jarvis, “I constantly experiment. I enjoy discovering great wine-and-food pairings. I strive to take a fun, unique approach to wine and do away with wine snobbery. After all, wine is basically just fermented juice.â€
It’s that perspective and an embracing attitude toward the topic of wine that makes Basic Juice’s wine classes'held in private homes or the Salt Lake Basic Juice classroom'popular and approachable. They are intended, Jarvis says, “for anyone who wants to feel more comfortable buying and ordering wine.” But the classes run the gamut: There’s something for experts as well as newbies. Basic Juice wine classes include topics like “Wine ABCs,” “The World in a Glass,” “Which Wine Goes With â€¦ ?,” and Jarvis will even create custom classes for a party, corporate retreat, wine dinner, bridal shower, or just about any other get together you can conjure up. Most of the Basic Juice wine classes cost $40-$50 per person.
Whether you take an inkling to Basic Juice’s wine classes or not, I strongly encourage anyone with even a passing interest in the fermented grape to visit the very well organized Basic Juice Website. You’ll find a bonanza of Beau Jarvis’ provocative wine articles archived there'ones with titles like “Romance Under $20,” “Indestructible Wine,” “The Ten Wine Commandments“ and recent writing on the “White Ships of Spain.” Even better, you’ll find Jarvis’ wine blog, which is how I happened to accompany him on a virtual tour of Austria.
You can join the tour as well: Through June 21, Basic Juice is “broadcasting” daily from Austria’s wine country via Beau Jarvis’ Basic Juice wine blog (BasicJuice.blogs.com). Exploring Vienna’s wine bars, interviewing Austrian wine personalities and visiting the terraced slopes of Styria (Austria’s Tuscany) are just a few of the current topics of Jarvis’ daily wine blog. It’s great stuff, especially if you’re stuck for a while in the Beehive State.
Regarding his on-the-spot reports from Austria (which include podcasts) Beau Jarvis says, “Wine travel can be much more exciting than simply sitting and sipping in tasting rooms. My goal is to capture it all'to help my readers and listeners feel as if they are traveling with me while we explore the Austrian countryside.” Check it out.