Ok so now that I have jumped onto the internet blog bandwagon here’s a quick update on some key things. We know I have passion, practice, and interest. I’m self taught and have visited too many tasting rooms to list. But I want more.. Recently I went to a friends birthday gathering, the theme was a wine tasting party conducted by a Sommelier. While I may not have been the professor sitting in the room, I did know the a majority of the information that she was sharing. We did a tasting of 9 different wines, in 4 different segments: Chardonnay, Rhone Reds, Bordeaux Reds, and dessert wines. Each segment offered a tremendous range, showing the guests the diversity of wine.
I loved it and will go into the differences and walk you through the tasting in another post someday. The point here was that my passion was on fire. I spoke with the “instructor” who strongly suggested that I pursue my interest in formal training. This is where the true confusion began – where does one go and how to begin?
In doing my standard google searches, I ran across what would later come to be known by me as the “big boys” of wine education – Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), Society of Wine Educators (SWE), and Court of Masters (COM). I think I’ve ruled out the Court of Masters programs as they are highly geared to on-premise personnel training (restaurant/hotel/bar workers). While the program looks informative, I don’t think its for me.
This leaves me bouncing between WSET and SWE programs and I can admit that I’m frustrated, confused and excited, and back to frustrated. Here in Los Angeles there is a well known local wine retailer that offers the WSET Intermediate program that I am interested in to get started. I think this is the one I’ll take. On the other hand, the SWE offers training materials and a test for their CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine) which has tremendous appeal for me as well. Oooh ok, well maybe this one. I think I’ve ruled out any of the local college/university programs, but maybe not as some of them seem to offer a nice, base level education, maybe to be used as a lead in for the CSW exam. See, told you, I’m confused.
What to do? Both of these two programs offer what I want, nice well rounded, recognized, wine education. One is more of a home study that you do in conjunction with other outside courses, and one is a sit down seminar series. I do know or think I know that I want a weekly seminar type program, I want tasting involved (partially to learn, and partially to drink), and I want a recognized exam at the end (ideally one that I can pass). Each of the above looks very cool and I’m interested.
Anyone know which way to go? Advise? Thoughts? What have you taken??