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Michael Mondavi: Wine Coach

Michael Mondavi: Wine Coach

Michael Mondavi (Courtesy Michael Mondavi

Carrie Strong | Chef's Blade

Wine starts with the earth, the vine and the grape. Simple nature creates an amazing, complex, euphoric drink.

So how can something so simple leave us speechless and confused? How does one make sense of wine names? What are the differences between grapes? Why does the region matter? How does a year make a great vintage? When choosing wine, we become self-doubting and helpless in the hands of strangers that we trust know better about what to put in our mouths. But how do we find the right information when it comes to choosing something to drink?

With more than 40 years of experience in the California wine industry, coach and founder of Folio Fine Wine Partners Michael Mondavi is creating an opportunity for consumers to understand just that. He is making the Folio website into an educational outlet for wine consumers everywhere, providing a vast array of wine information online. Michael can be seen as a virtual mentor on the site encouraging every step of the wine education process.

“The U.S. is the largest premium wine market in the world," Michael explains. "If we can take the mystery out of wine but retain the magic, consumers will enjoy wine, not only more on each occasion, but they will also enjoy wine more frequently.”

Folio was originally created to find one-of-a-kind wines and distribute them to consumers via local restaurants or retailers. Their mission statement emits a family centered quality one might find in a small community: “We love sharing high-quality, authentic wines from small wineries, where families have passed down their wine-making traditions from generation to generation.”

Michael has taken this idea of sharing wine one step further by creating the Folio Fine Wine College educational experience, breaking down the confusing information barriers and bringing wine lovers of all levels to the intricate, creative art of wine. As the site states, “In the culture of wine, passion and knowledge have always been intricately linked. Enter the Folio Fine Wine College to learn more about making, tasting, pouring and serving wines. With the right knowledge, enjoying a glass of wine can become an art.”


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With the Folio Fine Wine College, consumers now can learn about the making of wine, pairing with food, grape varietals, storing and serving suggestions, wine definitions or even how to host a wine event. Currently, Folio only produces information online. Still, the site is intended ultimately for online courses with an interactive environment.

Could it be true that a one-stop site dedicated to informing consumers about wine is exactly the type of thing consumers need to become confident when choosing wine?

According to Michael, one of the biggest hurdles to learning about wine isn’t necessarily the lack of information but rather that people do not trust their own palates.

“Novice wine consumers have just as good taste buds as wine expert," he said. "If a wine tastes good and smells good to a novice there’s a 98% chance it is a good wine.”

Perhaps we should follow his advice: “Trust your palate.”