Why take a wine course – it’s just drinking, isn’t it? Every knowledgeable wine lover knows the best way to hone your skills in wine is to taste it, and you can do that on your own, right? True, but you need a foundation on which to build your wine knowledge and the simple fact is that we learn almost everything better and more deeply by sharing the learning experience – with a mentor, with professionals and with fellow wine lovers.
I’m about to begin teaching a round of Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses in the Miami area and a friend asked why she should invest in a wine class instead of purchasing a few bottles and having a liquid study session at home. I think it’s a great question.
You can buy packaged food, so why take a cooking class? And yet, look at the number of cooking programs (most of them highly questionable to my mind) proliferate on television. There are almost no wine programs available and yet… most of us who love wine spend a huge portion of the cost of a dinner out on wine and spirits, often more than we spend on the food.
Learning about wine seems a foreign concept to many but it’s actually a great deal of fun as well as financially rewarding – the more you know about wine, the better your wine purchases will be. You need to know at least enough to understand what makes you happy. I know, wine makes you happy. But, which wines make you happiest? Until you try a well-curated selection, how do you know? Learning the WSET Systematic Tasting Method will give you great insight into how your palate works. In the WSET courses, we taste almost 20 wines each day - you will get great tasting experience.
The Terror of Terroir
Are you secretly in terror every time a wine list is offered at a restaurant? I don’t blame you – wine lists are often confusing, and the people who hand them to you may or may not be particularly helpful. I don’t want you to learn about wine in order to do battle with sommeliers, I want you to be confident about wine to have a more enjoyable and helpful interchange with sommeliers, retailers and your friends. A good sommelier is a great asset, and the more you know about wine, the better a customer you are: a good somm (you'll also learn this is trade-speak for sommelier!) is eternally grateful for a passionate, well-informed customer who is open to new tastes.
Your dinner will taste better. Seriously. And so will your wine. One of the things we explore is the relationship between food and wine and how wine seldom changes the taste of food, but food nearly always impacts the taste of wine. When you know how to taste and, more to the point, when you really understand what you taste, you will pick better wines for the price and better choices for your meals. Or for happy hour, for that matter.
In our WSET courses we spend a great deal of time on the mechanics of tasting and how to express what you taste, and on the basics of wine and food pairing. We also talk about a lot of grape varieties. Oh yes, we also taste a lot of wine. Note I say “taste,” and not “drink.” Drink comes after class!
A Class Act
There is no better investment in your wine collection and tasting than bolstering your knowledge about just what is in that glass before you. And there are no better wine classes available than those offered by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). You will also be empowered by sharpening your skills for sharing your discoveries with others, and a certification (they called it "award") from WSET is the gold standard of wine education. Ask any of the many people who have joined me for WSET courses and I think you will hear that the classes are helpful, informative, fun and thirst quenching. If you have questions about the WSET courses coming up, leave a comment on this post and I’ll get back to you. We are offering Level 1 on October 17 and Level 2 over three days, November 1, 7 and 8. Both courses are at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
For more information about WSET and the course offerings, visit the Fine Vintage, Ltd. website.
Ready to register? You need to act quickly! You can sign up on this page: