Barry Gump, professor of oenology, lifts a glass of deep purple wine to his favorite nostril, the left one. He takes a long, careful sniff and pronounces: “I get raspberries, big ripe fruit, maybe even prunes.”
”Let’s have a toast,” calls out one of his students. “Hurrah for Professor Gump!”
”And hurrah for FIU wine,” Gump replies, beaming.
Gump has brought five of his master’s-degree students from Florida International University’s hospitality school to an ultra-modern winery near Homestead to taste and bottle the wines that students are making from fruit.
They’ll present their wine from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Public Grand Tasting Village tent at Ocean Drive and 13th Street, in the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The students aren’t studying to be winemakers. After graduating from the FIU program, they’ll take entry-level jobs in the hospitality industry, hoping to be hotel or restaurant managers, restaurant food and beverage directors, and hotel owners.
But to do those jobs well, they need to know a lot about wine.
Their starting point: Schnebly Redland’s Winery, a $2.5 million facility in Homestead where winemakers are making from locally grown mangoes, lychees, passionfruit, guava and even avocados.
Today they are making merlot wine. Carolina Cemborain, 33, a student from Venezuela, steps up to the big bottling machine and inserts an empty bottle, being careful not to get the purple wine on her white blouse as the liquid gushes out. She hands the bottle to another student, who puts it into another machine that neatly inserts a cork.