Understanding Napa Valley's top grapes and wine styles

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Join Vanessa Conlin MW for an in-depth exploration of Napa Valley’s top grape varieties.

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Whether you discuss Napa Valley wines on a regular basis or are in the early stages of your wine journey, this session will help you understand the characteristics and differences between key grapes and the resulting signature wine styles.

This hour-long, instructor-led webinar includes an information-packed presentation with a focus on Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel.

Participants will start with a brief history of the rise of the top grape varieties and the key influences on the general wine styles. Each top grape variety will then be covered in detail with interesting facts; the grape’s structural characteristics, natural aromas and flavours. It’ll also include information on how these wines develop in the vineyard and cellar and the general winemaking and styles found in Napa Valley today. After covering the top whites, the top red styles will be discussed and compared in due course.

This webinar is a beginner level introduction to wine suitable for those starting a wine career or pursuing an interest in wine. Learn more about the Level 1 Award in Wines here.



Vanessa Conlin MW DipWSET

Vanessa has served as the Director of Sales and Marketing for several of Napa’s most prestigious luxury estates, including Arietta Wines and Dana Estates. Previously she was the wine buyer for two prominent Manhattan wine retailers and the Wine Director for a Manhattan-based wine bar.

As an avid supporter of charitable causes, Vanessa is on the Board for Jameson Humane, a Napa Valley-based animal rescue and sanctuary, and has chaired the organization’s annual charity wine auction four times, raising over 7 million dollars.

Prior to falling in love with wine, Vanessa worked as a professional musician, performing internationally and on Broadway, and holds a Master’s Degree in Music.

She is an instructor for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and was the recipient of the Niki Singer Memorial Scholarship from the International Wine Center. Vanessa became a Master of Wine in 2020.

This event does not necessarily constitute official WSET course material and should not be used as such.