8 Wine Education Experts & Courses You Should Know About
Written by Alyson Aiello on October 19, 2017
As entrepreneurs who love wine and love to help people learn about wine, ongoing wine education is a priority! While our proprietary Sommology program keeps us in the know and allows us to share wine wisdom with our Hosts and Guests, some of us also turn to some of the leading minds in wine, as well as online wine education courses and resources, to supplement our knowledge. If you love wine like we do, here are eight knowledge experts and courses that will improve your wine education, and provide some enjoyment for you as well!
Jane A. Nickles, CSE, CWE
Nickles, also known as the Bubbly Professor, has taught wine classes for more than 20 years; she previously served as an executive chef, sommelier, and food and beverage director. Currently, she serves as the Director of Education and Certification for the Society of Wine Educators, where you can get your Certified Specialist of Wine certification. Nickles’ website is an excellent place to enhance your wine education online.
Jay Youmans, MW, is the educational director and owner of the Capital Wine School; he is an Advanced Level Sommelier (AS), a Certified Wine Educator (CWE), a French Wine Scholar (FWS), an Italian Wine Professional (IWP), a Bordeaux Wine Educator, a Burgundy Wine Educator, and Washington, DC’s first Master of Wine (MW). We were fortunate to hear Youmans speak at Harvest 2017; and we know all wine enthusiasts will benefit from his wealth of knowledge.
In addition to being described by Decanter magazine as “the most respected wine critic and journalist in the world,” Jancis Robinson is an author, wine judge, adviser and more. She leads a team of other writers who contribute to her website; they are all dedicated to “fine wine” writing in all aspects.
Feiring is an author and creator of the Feiring Line, the world’s first independent natural wine newsletter. The newsletter’s website is an “ever-growing, fully searchable database packed with the best people, vineyards and bottles the natural wine world has to offer.”
Wine & Sommelier Courses
The Society of Wine Educators (SWE), founded in 1977, is a nonprofit organization “focused on providing wine and spirits education along with the conferral of several certifications” from a self-study course. The mission of the Society of Wine Educators is to set the standard for quality and responsible wine and spirits education and professional certification. According to its website, the Society of Wine Educators offers several wine certification programs, among them Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS), Certified Wine Educator (CWE), Certified Spirits Educator (CSE), and Hospitality/Beverage Specialist Certificate (HBSC). TThese self-study wine certification programs are internationally recognized and highly regarded in the wine and spirits industry for both their quality and relevance to the industry. The SWE website is the best place to begin if you’re interested in a wine education certification; the “Start Here” section walks you through, in detail, the certification information you need to know.
The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) provides globally recognized education and qualifications in wines, spirits and sake, for professionals and enthusiasts. WSET offers in-class as well as self-study wine courses for nine qualifications.
The International Sommelier Guild (ISG) is the “world’s leading licensed provider of Sommelier education.” The ISG takes a classroom-based educational approach, using a curriculum developed by wine and hospitality industry professionals to teach wine enthusiasts how to become certified sommeliers. ISG instructors are chefs, restaurant owners, hospitality consultants, wine directors, importers, distributors and retailers.
The Court of Master Sommeliers was “established to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants” through education. Enthusiasts who earn their Master Sommelier title guarantee potential employers that they are “among the most qualified in the industry, with outstanding tasting and evaluation skills, wine knowledge and outstanding abilities in service and beverage department management.” According to the CMS, this wine education course is focused on the areas needed for superior beverage department management, which include tasting, theory, and service, and also encompass spirits and beers, as well as global wine knowledge.
The Institute of Masters of Wine is a professional body whose members, Masters of Wine (MWs), “have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine (MW) examination, recognised worldwide for its rigour and high standards.” According to the Institute, to become a Master of Wine you need to have passed the Stage 1 Assessment and the Theory and Practical components of the MW Examination, completed a Research Paper, and agreed to abide by the Institute’s Code of Conduct. The program is self-study.
And there you have it—an all access pass to your own wine education! If keeping wine social while becoming an expert is more your speed, consider becoming a Wine Guide with Traveling Vineyard! You’ll enjoy knowing more about wine and sharing what you’ve learned with others.