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Wine, Beverage and Culture online class being offered

by Allen Wallace
February 13, 2017

A class on alcoholic beverages? It might sound like a party, but it’s a new online class at The University of South Carolina that studies the history, culture, religion and agriculture behind wine and other beverages.  Wine, Beverage and Culture (HRTM 590J) is being offered as a two-week online class for the first time Maymester 2017 and is open to all USC students.

“It’s not just about how alcohol is formulated and the difference between a chardonnay and a pinot noir,” said Sandy Strick, professor and certified wine specialist at USC’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. “It’s a look at how beverages fit into people’s lives around the world.”

Strick teaches a variety of popular hospitality and tourism management classes that focus on wine, as well as seminars for the public and industry professionals. The new, web-based course makes the popular curriculum more accessible to students of all ages and majors.

Students who complete the class with a passing grade will also earn a Hospitality/Beverage Specialist Certificate from the Society of Wine Educators, which is recognized throughout the hospitality industry and could be a boost to students seeking jobs and internships.

Strick said some students may be surprised by the range of topics in the class, including the ties of alcoholic beverages to religion and politics.

“Most alcoholic beverages started with some role in religion,” Strick said. She added that the influence of long-ago events on present-day culture may be a revelation to many. “Prohibition still has a huge effect on attitudes in the United States about alcohol.”

Strick will also compare and contrast cultures for the students, including the differing views of wine as a beverage in the U.S. as opposed to Europe. “For Europeans it’s just part of their everyday culture. So it’s an opportunity for students to gain global perspective – especially those who haven’t yet traveled internationally,” she said.

Students in the class will be graded partly on their participation in online discussion boards, and the final exam will double as the test required for the specialist certificate. “It’s only 14 days so we will be packing in a lot of information,” Strick said.

For more information on the class, designated HRTM 590J, contact Sandy Strick