Tasting wine is a joy, a pleasure and a passionate pursuit and while I don't believe it should be a pretentious endeavor, I do believe it is possible for any taster to hone her analytical skills, to enhance his appreciation of what is in the glass by understanding where the wine came from, how it was made, why it tastes the way it does, and why one likes (or just as importantly, doesn't like) the wine.

Why? For one thing, understanding wine greatly increases your odds of getting to drink wines you love because you understand what you want. And it's also fun. Wine is a great vehicle for sharing, and in a good wine course, you'll not only learn about wine, you'll meet like-minded people, some of whom may become regular tasting partners as you develop your skills and increase your pleasure. You'll find more reasons to take a wine class here

It's my pleasure to work with Fine Vintage, Ltd, North America's largest provider of courses of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Founded by Master of Wine James Cluer, Fine Vintage offers the full range of WSET courses as well as some other highly specialized programs including a terrific course aimed at honing your olfactory skills (that means, helping you better understand what you smell and taste!). Below, I list all the Fine Vintage courses I teach and upcoming class dates. On our schedule for 2019, I'll be leading courses in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami and New York.

WSET and Great Wine

One of the key tenets of the Fine Vintage approach to wine education is that you cannot learn about great wine by drinking mediocre wine. We take great pride in the quality of the wines we use in our courses and often do side-by-side comparisons of wines made from one grape in two different regions, or wines from the same region but of different quality to point up the subtle elements that make wine so enjoyable. Is the $15 Chilean merlot a better value to you than the $100 St-Émilion poured alongside it? You decide what is subjectively best for your budget, but here you will learn the objective differences between the two.

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust was created 50 years ago to provide dependable, consistently high quality wine education to both consumers and the wine and hospitality trades. Today, a certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust is considered the gold standard of wine education with its broad emphasis on how wine is made from vineyard to glass, why it tastes the way it does and how best to describe and communicate what you are tasting. Whether you are a complete novice beginning your wine adventure with a Level One foundation course, honing your existing skills in Level Two, pursuing an advanced certification with Level Three or plan to go all the way to achieving the coveted Diploma, Fine Vintage, Ltd. has a WSET wine course that is a perfect fit for you. In addition to the WSET curriculum crafted by Fine Vintage founder James Cluer, MW, we also offers courses outside of WSET to enhance specialist knowledge, including sensory workshops, and specialist courses on French wine and, coming in 2019, American Wine.

The Courses We Offer

To learn more about a particular course and the date(s) it is being offered in your city, or to register for one of our entertaining programs, follow the links below.

Wine is a great vehicle for sharing, and the more you know, the more you can share!

Wine is a great vehicle for sharing, and the more you know, the more you can share!

WSET Level 1 Award in Wine - the "Foundation Course"

This is WSET's introductory course, ideal for everyone who likes wine and wants to learn more about it. This qualification provides a hands-on introduction to the world of wine. You’ll explore the main types and styles of wine through sight, smell, and taste, while also gaining the basic skills to describe wines accurately, and make food and wine pairings. WSET updated the course in the summer of 2018 so we are offering a wonderfully entertaining exploration of wine fundamentals in a one-day class that is fun, entertaining and very informative, and it leads to your first WSET certification. We have completely updated the course this summer so it's fresh and exciting, just like great wine! I regularly lead Level 1 courses in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York and Miami.

WSET Level 2 Award in Wine &
Spirits - the Intermediate Course

This intermediate course is given over three full days of tasting and discussion. By the end of the course, you'll have tasted more than 50 wines and some iconic spirits to give you a solid grounding in the world of wine. Click the button for a full description of this entertaining and informative course. Please note that you can often take Level 2 immediately after Level 1 - you don't need the results from your Level 1 exam to register. There are Level 2 courses coming up in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami and New York.

The WSET Level 2 course - significant wine expertise

The WSET Level 2 course - significant wine expertise

WSET Level 3 certification has a strong emphasis on tasting with WSET's structured approach to tasting

WSET Level 3 certification has a strong emphasis on tasting with WSET's structured approach to tasting

WSET Level 3 Award in Wine - the Advanced Course

This advanced course is designed for people in or who hope to enter the wine trade as well as serious consumers. WSET mandates a minimum of 30 hours of classroom study for the Level Three but at Fine Vintage we believe it is essential to have more class time - our program is an intensive course that spans six days, usually scheduled over three consecutive weekends. Many providers offer tastings of 70 or 80 wines, but to provide the best preparation for the blind tasting exam, we taste over 100 wines in the Fine Vintage, Ltd version of the course. In short, Level 3 is serious business and we take it very seriously. Level 3 is usually offered one or two times per year at each of our schools. For the full schedule click the button below.

Fine Vintage's Sensory Masterclass

Taste happens on your tastebuds,  flavor  is realized with your sense of smell.

Taste happens on your tastebuds, flavor is realized with your sense of smell.

This course is suggested for wine lovers of all skill levels - whether you are a practicing sommelier or a relative novice as a taster, this course will significantly increase your ability to smell and taste wine, build your vocabulary and give you an in-depth knowledge of the components of wine aroma and flavor. Your tastebuds are limited to sensing the five basic flavors - sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. It is your olfactory sensor that expands on that foundation and creates a perception of flavor.

The only prerequisite for this course, developed with a world class perfumer and our own Master of Wine James Cluer, is that you have a passion for increasing your knowledge and awareness of wine. If you are a professional in the wine trade and have tasting exams in your future, this course is an essential aid to your ability. You will be astonished how this guided experience will enhance your skills. For details on what the course entails, click the button below.

Fine Vintage's French Wine Professional Course

Gigondas in the Rhône Valley (Photo (c) Lyn Farmer)

Gigondas in the Rhône Valley (Photo (c) Lyn Farmer)

Many countries grow grapes and make wine but I think it is safe to say that the single country with the most famous wine regions, the most prized properties and the most classic wines is France. Wine did not begin here, though for many of us, our love of wine may well have begun with a bottle from France. In this course, we have crafted a two day celebration and exploration of French wine: where it is grown, how it differs from region to region and, in each major region, the classic grapes and types of wine. Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, the Loire and more are given extensive treatment in both discussion and tasting. Altogether,  you will taste nearly 40 wines from a dozen regions and, at the end of the course, an exam will certify your accomplishment as a French Wine Professional. You must have your WSET Level 2 certification to take this class. For more details on what the course entails and upcoming dates, click on the button below.