Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Hubert Germain-Robin Offers Brandy Distilling Class

Charentais still at McMenamin's Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Distillery 

Just over the transom from The American Distilling Institute comes word that Hubert Germain-Robin is leading a brandy distilling class this November in Portland, Oregon. Germain-Robin was co-founder with Ansley Coale of Germain-Robin distillery in northern California in the early 1980's, though his family has been in the cognac business for centuries.

Writes ADI president Bill Owens:
This week-long workshop will combine traditional techniques of Cognac-style brandies with three decades of experience in working with New World varietals to create new flavor profiles.

The workshop addresses the conditions a craft distiller must be mindful of in the vineyard, the winery and throughout distillation. In keeping with the traditional methods of distillation the participant is encouraged to use all their sensory perceptions in creating their product.

Participants will get hands-experience with fermentation, distillation, barrel management and blending. A variety of tastings will include eaux de vie from different varietals of grape, Cognac, Armagnac, American brandies, and wines appropriate for distilling brandy.

The course will be conducted on the Charentais alembic still at McMenamin's Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Distillery. Participants will stay November 4-9 at McMenamin's Crystal Hotel in downtown Portland.
I may try to get there. Haven't decided yet, but I've a weakness for Portland and deep respect for Hubert. [Update 9/21/12 I'm going; see you in Portland] Those attending need to get to Portland on their own, but the course fee runs $3,500 and includes "instruction, hotel, bus tour of local distilleries, and most meals." The ADI website does not yet include registration instructions. If you're keen to do hands-on brandy distilling with a master of the craft, keep an eye on the ADI's website ( for updates or send them a check:

Box 577
Hayward, CA 94543


Sylvan said...

Any word if there is an non-hotel option for locals? I'll be damned if I'll stay at a fucking McMenamin's for any reason.

Matthew Rowley said...

Didn't look into it, but it sounds perfectly reasonable. I'd tap Amber Hasselbring at ADI. Yeah, the price pretty much makes certain that folks with casual or passing interests in distilling or brandy do not sign up. I imagine for most attendees, this is a business expense.