When Richard Kinssies, founder of the Seattle Wine School, was offered his first job in the wine industry, he had a confession to make. “I really don’t know much about wine.” His soon-to-be boss laughed it off saying, “nobody does!” Fast-forward several decades and not only has Kinssies’ knowledge positioned him as a wine leader, but industry popularity has led to increasing numbers of consumers and professionals looking to building their wine tasting skills. Building on the reach of the online class marketplace Connect2Classes, Kinssies aims to reach a larger audience who are searching for wine classes in the Seattle area.
Through weekly classes at the Seattle Wine School, Kinssies offers some of the most popular classes in the area, particularly because of his pragmatic approach to wine. He believes that wine, like art, can be appreciated on many levels. A painting evokes a certain feeling upon sight and can be enjoyed on a surface level. If the viewer digs deeper, the artist’s intention and processes can be understood and a greater appreciation can be gained.
With wine, a sip can be enough to pronounce it good or bad but if the taster understands the particular characteristics of the grapes used, learns how the soil, altitude, slope of the vineyard, climate and farming processes work, the quality and personality of a wine will lend a greater understanding. Kinssies calls this the ‘geeky’ part of wine and believes that it is what motivates people to dedicate themselves to studying the subject.
In his expansive career, Kinssies has explored a multitude of jobs within the wine industry. He has worked in retail sales, as a sommelier and a winemaker; he has owned a restaurant and a wine bar, written two books and hosted two radio shows. He was the wine columnist for the Seattle Post Intelligencer for nearly 30 years. Kinssies has developed wine certification programs for the Washington wine industry and for the government of France, training American wine professionals in French wines.
Kinssies saw a need within the industry for basic education for wine professionals and started the Seattle Wine School in 1981. He eventually decided to open the school up to the public so that non-professionals can develop a professional level of wine education.
Over the years, teaching has remained a constant in Kinssies’ career. He proclaims it has given him the most professional and personal satisfaction. Guiding students towards understanding a certain aspect of a wine and seeing them grasp it is what fuels his passion. Anyone can learn wine, Kinssies believes, however, time and resources can be a limitation that he wants to help students overcome by making learning accessible.
Classes at the Seattle Wine School offer great value and are consistently scheduled on Monday evenings to make fitting it into a busy lifestyle easy. Kinssies does offer one warning: studying wine is like studying physics. “You can learn a lot, but you will never learn it all,” Kinssies says. “Just savor the journey!”
To find Seattle Wine School classes, go to Connect2Classes.com.