For your hosts, wine has nothing to do with being a snob, but everything to do with exploring new horizons: eating, drinking and experiencing.
Uncorked Wine Appreciation hatched in Zürich in 2010 over wine with dinner at local favorite Brasserie Schiller. Wine students, aficionados and founders Robert and Stephanie H. imagined a grand wine & food party for new Zürich friends--a lovely but slightly misguided group focused more on cocktails than wine. A few inspirational sips later, the party idea was canceled (too high risk of red wine stains on the dog) in favor of a wine course similar to the one they graduated at Purdue University (U.S.): Food Science 470, Wine Appreciation, taught by the esteemed Dr. Richard Vine (no kidding, Vine!), Professor of Enology Emeritus, wine author, and American Airlines' lead wine consultant for 21 years.
The goal was to foster a similar passion for the world's great wine grapes and styles--especially paired with food--in a practical, non-pretentious way focused on everyday enjoyment. Ten gullible friends fell for it, an 8-week curriculum emerged and the course was a hit. Friends told other friends and colleagues, each "vintage" of students and wonderful new acquaintances followed another, and positive momentum motivated expansion and full-time focus in 2012.
Robert H. - Founder
Robert H. heard destiny whispering when Wine Appreciation was the most invigorating elective among the molecules and mathematics of a Chemical Engineering B.S. degree. A chemical industry management career in Chicago along with a masters degree from the Kellogg Business School of Northwestern University and subsequent move to Zürich in 2007 were all-too-briefly interrupted by annual wine region vacations. Robert gained wine instructor certifications from the Society of Wine Educators (U.S.) and WSET (London) and replaced polymer science with "grape biochemistry" and a full-time plunge with Uncorked in 2012.
Stephanie H. - Founder
Stephanie H. demonstrated early culinary aptitude when first cooking a side of bacon at age three--unsupervised while her parents slept. A semester of wine study completed her B.A. degree from Purdue University, followed by international brand marketing roles in Finance and Hospitality in Chicago, stepping up to Switzerland in 2007. A proficient travel researcher, Stephanie meticulously (obsessively?) organizes holidays around wine & food experiences, leading goose chases to find the best regional offerings. A WSET certified wine educator, her passion is developing food, flavors and finesse in the kitchen to make each wine sing
Ralph Schädler - Host
The charm of the wine world lured Ralph from 10 years of slightly-less-charming international SAP consulting into professional "taste bud consulting". Trained at the Wine Academy in Rust, Austria, at ZHAW Weinbau in Wädenswil and achieving the esteemed WSET Diploma and Weinakademiker title, Ralph fosters a back-to-basics approach teaching introductory wine & food pairing courses for new students at Lucerne's BHMS hotel management school and keeps in touch with important roots--with his fingers!--since founding and running Ticino's Weinstoff winery in 2011, producing authentic, characterful Merlots.
Zoe H. - Co-Founder
Uncorked's wine prodigy, Zoe H. left her mark on several famous winegrowing territories including the Pfalz, Alsace and Burgundy before age six months. A fervent admirer of terroir, Zoe finds that nearly all soil types warrant further digging. With olfactory sensitivity over 100 times greater than that of famed wine critic Robert Parker, Zoe is mesmerized by the earthy, farmyard, leathery and sweat-sock aromas inherent in great growth Burgundy, which inspired her masterwork: "Côte de Bone: Les Grands Chews".