For most of us, our knowledge of wine extends to our favorite order at restaurants or the same wine in the grocery store that you've bought for years.
But there's a whole world of information surrounding wine -- where it was made, what's in it, and most importantly, what it tastes like. There are careers built around the fruit-based drink, including people who get paid to taste it.
Meet Lorri Hambuchen, owner of The Wine Center, and professional wine taster.
THV11's Adam Bledsoe first visited with Lorri on the phone and two things happened:
- She learned how ignorant he was about wine.
- He learned Lorri was the perfect person to visit about her unique job.
The passion oozed through her conversation. She was throwing out words and concepts way beyond our vocabulary. When she started talking about Masters of Wine and learning this craft in another part of the world, we were both lost and amazed.
Lorri invited Adam to the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center at Pulaski Tech in Little Rock to visit about what she does.
First, before anything else, it's worth noting our first impression of the culinary center. This place is huge, modern and very impressive.
Adam met Lorri, a spunky, energetic, sophisticated and extremely friendly lady, who instantly calmed us of our worries. She was nervous about the whole TV thing, but Adam was nervous about not being classy enough to have this conversation. They both did fine.
The neat thing about Lorri is she does so many things with her craft. One of the things is teaching at the culinary center. There are several different courses one can major within the culinary world, and most require learning about the wine industry. Sounds boring, right? We thought it would be too until we watched Lorri teach her students about the industry.
We must admit, just with the short amount of time we had to spend with her, we were still overwhelmed by the information.
But it’s just like anything else: It takes time to truly learn about this topic.
Some may think a wine tester is someone who wants to sit around and be all snooty, or maybe they’re just a person who wants to drink alcohol. We quickly learned neither applies to Lorri Hambuchen.
Lorri has spent countless hours studying the intricacies of the wine industry. She’s even traveled across the world in search of knowledge and a better understanding of wine.
Why? Lorri has become passionate about teaching others about wine. Besides teaching, Lorri loves to write articles to help readers develop a greater appreciation for fine wine.
During our visit, Lorri showed us how important it is to use your nose to pick out certain notes within the wine. She was a fantastic teacher. Some wine smelled super sweet and fruity, almost like bubble gum, while other’s smelled blander.
Here’s an interesting fact about our visit: How can a wine expert not taste wine while doing an interview on wine tasting? Lorri is also very passionate about social responsibility with the consumption of wine and alcohol She is interested in the science behind wine. For example, the geography of the grape harvest, which includes the type of soil, ambient temperature, breed of plant, etc. These factors are more interesting to her than the consumption of wine for the aftereffect.
Through it all, Lorri had an incredible story to share.
Our photojournalist John Young (JY) nailed it on the head for us.
“Adam, good wine is wine that tastes good,” he said.
He’s got a point and Lorri agreed.
We couldn't help but look at Lorri as she sniffs wine and think, "You get paid for that??" She's living the dream.