Take This Class: Hospitality Management 120


Professor Brian Knirk discussing the wines they are tasting in his Hospitality Management class at American River College Nov. 5, 2018. (Photo by Hannah Yates)

Breawna Maynard

Located in the Fine Arts department there is an all-white classroom filled with students dressed in their culinary uniforms and others casual — all with their full attention ready to learn.

Hospitality Management 120 is the study of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages that are used in the food industry, according to the course description. It also teaches students about the production, methods, regions of the beverages and how to pair with food. This is a great class for students that have an interest in culinary but alcohol is not served at American River College as a beverage.

Professor Brian Knirk pours a glass of wine for a student in the Hospitality Mamangement class on Nov. 5, 2018, at American River College. (Photo by Hannah Yates)

Brian Knirk, a professor in the Hospitality Management department, starts the class off with students turning their midterm assignments in then moves into lectures about new world wines located in the southern hemisphere. After a lecture, the class jumped into tasting wines; students who did not want to participate in tasting were able to leave class early.

The wines tasted were a bottle of Yellow Tail wine from Australia, Gascon Malbec from Argentina and Starborough from New Zealand.

“We started off this semester with tasting non-alcoholic drinks, such as coffee, water, and tea. Then we move into beers, spirits and spent a lot of time talking about wines of the world and tasting the wines also gave us that perspective,” Knirk said.  

Knirk mentioned that in terms of the wine tasting, students are limited on what they get to taste due to California’s sip and spit law so you are only allowed to come in and taste only if it is for academic purposes and if you’re in the hospitality management course.

Maryssa Silva, a student in the hospitality management class and a culinary major, says she enjoys the class and likes being hands-on and the creativity in expressing yourself through food.

“I like how we get to learn about different drinks and taste them as well,” Silva said. “Learning about where the drinks originated from is good for a restaurant and being knowledgeable of what they go with in terms of food.”

Knirk says the class also spends time looking at the financial side of the beverages. How much it will cost, how much they need to charge on a menu and breaking down a charge for things.

Professor Brian Knirk pours a glass of Yellow Tail wine from Australia for American River College student Maryssa Silva, Culinary Major, on Nov. 5, 2018. (Photo by Hannah Yates)

So far the class has moved into new world wines within the United States all the way to South American wines. They discussed how tea is produced, tasted waters, sodas, talked about bar management, responsible service of alcohols in a business, the production of the culture and how wine is produced, grown and the process of it too. They are also learning what their clientele wants and satisfying their target market.

“I love seeing students experience flavors and be able to talk about flavors like they haven’t talked about before, whether it’s wines or sodas and just recognizing the flavor differences,” Knirk said. “So when they start to develop a palate and can use descriptive words to describe it, that is probably the most exciting thing.”