Six new ways to become a wine, beer or spirits expert in 2020

Get an introduction to European wine

The SWS programme is not the only thing Wine Scholar Guild have been working on. Speaking to the drinks business earlier this year, Lisa Airey, the Guild’s education director, said a new “foundation” level course for Italian, Spanish, and French wines is set to launch next year.

The foundation courses include three classes which can be taken either over three weeks, or in one crash-course day, much like the Level 2 program with the WSET. Airey said the guild will launch the Italian foundation course in spring 2020, with France and Spain to follow later in the year.

However, Airey told db comparing the WSET’s course structure and Wine Scholar Guild’s approach is “like comparing apples with oranges”.

She said the foundation course will cover the top appellations that are widely commercially available, “things they can find on the wine list and retail shelves – all the while giving them a little background as to why those wines taste the way they do. We’ll be putting our toe into terroir, and also bringing in cultural aspects around those regions, so history and food, for example.

The education boss said the Wine Scholar Guild’s strategy of adding historical and culinary context to their teaching helps students to get a more grounded understanding of the regions themselves, “so the wines aren’t in a vacuum.

“If this class is being given in a classroom the teacher can get the appropriate cheeses to supplement the wine tasting so its’ more of a whole experience.”

This is not the only way the foundation course differs from the WSET: the exam at the end of your three sessions is optional.

“If yo want to test your knowledge then you can, but it’s just a bit of a different spin.

“We feel once people get a taste of specialised study this would give them the confidence to go out and purchase wine, to explore a little further.”

One Response to “Six new ways to become a wine, beer or spirits expert in 2020”

  1. David Glancy says:

    Great article and I would add one more. We launched Northwest Wine Appellation Specialist (NWAS) in 2019 to complement California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS) which we launched online in 2013 and in-class in 2012. These are in addition to San Francisco Wine School offering all 3 of Wine Scholar Guild’s programs, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from Society of Wine Educators, Somm Essentials, Wine Program Management, Intermediate and Advanced Tasting programs and collaborating with Grape Experience for their offering of WSET programs. Our school launched in 2011 with the mission of bringing all relevant credentials under one roof and being a hub for wine professionals and enthusiasts alike. We have grown to become the largest wine school in the USA with intensive and online available for students globally. Our 4,000 square foot education and event center is near San Francisco International Airport.
    David Glancy, MS, CWE

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