Photo via Wikimedia Commons

At most colleges, undergraduate students return from winter break, dig into their books and hit the ground running in early January. At Hopkins, students are afforded a softer entry to their spring semester with fun or exploratory mini-classes, such as this year’s “Wine Appreciation” course.

The one-credit class being offered this year focuses on the chemistry of fermentation of wine, beer and cheese. Instructor Charles Lawrence, a retired JHU employee and psychologist, is instructing students on how their favorite alcoholic beverages and cheeses are made, according to the JHU Hub. Pupils learn from him how to tell the taste and smell of a good wine – not the most easily learned skills for many American college students – and what differentiates various types of beer.

Unsurprisingly, the class is already at capacity, a university spokeswoman said.

The course also delves into the origins of different wines from around Europe and the varieties of grapes fermented to make wine. “You don’t only just taste wine, but you learn something about the history of wine, the making of wine, comparisons of different wine, and so forth,” Lawrence told the Hub.

Intersession is a unique opportunity offered by JHU, thanks to its abnormal academic calendar. Since students can return in early January but don’t actually start spring classes until the end of the month, they get to pick from a multitude of two-week courses or can study abroad.

Two years ago, the school offered the ever-useful “Dorm Cooking 101,” taught by a particularly skilled student with a knack for making gourmet food with very few tools or appliances. That one should almost be a general education course for freshman bound for the dorms.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...