Best Wine Schools

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Wine Oh TV Best Wine SchoolsThere is no shortage of students lining up to study wine. Some use wine education to pursue new careers, add to a resume, or to improve foundation skills necessary to refine their ability to taste. Sorting through the most appropriate route or class can be a daunting task; classes and certification programs are pricy and failure rates on certification tests are high. For those wanting to acquire more letters after their name, students must remember hundreds of tastes and smells, memorize every wine region in the world, and learn the science of winemaking, spirits, wine service, and sales. Then regurgitate it on a test. The certifications typically require a combination of education, coursework, at-home learning, examinations and industry experience. Luckily for those not wanting to pursue a certification, fun and exciting courses are offered at the consumer level. Wine Oh TV evaluated some of the many wine schools and certification programs offered across the country and found schools that make pique your interest.

United States Sommelier Association

Location: Miami, Florida; Livermore , California,

Certifications offered: Sommelier Certification- Intermediate and Advanced

What to Expect

Affiliated with the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, this school is mostly geared to the wine professional. Books, instruction, and lots of wine are provided! Classes are rigorous and review all the major wine regions of the world, spirits, beer, and service. Students can also learn how to sabré a bottle of champagne! The 5-day Immersion course students are treated to fantastic lunches, tours of famous Napa wineries, and meet-and -greet with a famous chef! A new location is San Francisco is starting soon!

Approximate cost per class: $695 and up

Website: www.ussommelier.com

Wine & Spirit Educaiton Trust (WSET)

Location: London, England & Approved Program Providers (APP) worldwide

Certifications offered: Intermediate, Advanced (AWS), and Diploma (DWS)

What to Expect

WSET is a certification board and recruits APPs to teach their curriculum and proctor tests. Many of the APPs teach other courses as well and it is advised to check individual websites for upcoming courses. For the certification programs, WSET provides a 4-day course, handouts, a book, a variety of wines from around the world to taste, and an instructor to assist you in understanding the material and pass the test. Candidates who want to sit for the Master of Wine must pass the diploma course.

Approximate cost per class: approx. $1500

Website: www.wsetglobal.com

Society of Wine Educators

Location: Worldwide

Certifications offered: CSW (Certified Wine Specialist), CWE (Certified Wine Educator), CSS (Certified Specialist of Spirit)

What to Expect:

Students can attend the SWE Wine Academy; a “comprehensive, interactive series of on-line modules,” to help pass the exam. This do-it-yourself program offers a self-study program that allows the student to choose when and how they want to study. The easier of the two (CSW), can be done at home. However, the CWE is substantially harder and the CWE preview seminar is recommended and a wine faults kit available for purchase. CWE Candidates have to pass a multiple choice exam, wine identification, wine faults test, written test, thesis, and a presentation skills demonstration.

Approximate cost per class: $300-$550

Website: www.societyofwineeducators.org

Court of Master Sommeliers

Location: Worldwide

Certifications offered: Certified Sommelier, Advanced Sommelier, Master Sommelier (MS)

What to Expect:

The introductory course held over 3 days gets your foot in the door. After that, you are on your own to climb the ladder of one of the most prestigious wine certification boards in the world. Each level is difficult to pass and you must be recommended to take the MS certification. If you want to know if you are even in the running to get your basic certification, go to the website and click on their syllabus. If the syllabus looks like it is written in Greek, you may need to step back, read more books and take more coursework.

Approximate cost per class: approx..$500 for each exam

Website: www.courtofmastersommeliers.org

Unvisersity of California, Davis

Location:Davis, California

Certification offered: BS, Enology, MS Enology

What to Expect:

UC Davis is one of the leaders in viticulture research and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field. UC Davis also offers courses in their continuing education program in winemaking and wine appreciation. Students can also qualify to be a state judge through their Advanced Tasting Seminar.

Approximate cost per class: Classes begin at $350.00

Website: www.universityextension.ucdavis.edu

Institute of Masters of Wine

Location: London, England

Certification offered: Master of Wine (MW)

What to Expect:

One of the top certifications in the wine world, the MW takes years to pass. It is a self-study program that last a minimum of three years. The examination can be taken in Europe, North America, and Australia. Students are expected to attend a one week program each year, followed by several essay assignments to assess if students can advance. The final exam consists of a blind tasting, several written papers, and a dissertation. Each student is assigned a mentor to help guide them through the process. Candidates are required to have many years experience, have a bachelor degree in enology, or hold the WSET diploma. Currently only 297 worldwide have passed the MW exam

Approximate cost per class: $3700

Website: www.mastersofwine.org

Culinary Institute of American

Location: St. Helena, California

Certification offered: Certified Wine Professional (CWP) and Advanced CWP

What to Expect:

The CIA offers a variety of weekend warrior wine appreciation courses, but if you are after a certification, the school has designed the program for graduates of their hospitality management and culinary degree program. A 30-week program, you will delve into the world of wine and service. At the end of the course, students can pursue the 8-hour exam given over two days consisting of essays, multiple choice, true/false, blind flight identification, and a wine service demonstration.

Approximate cost per class: Begins at $650.00

Website: www.ciachef.edu

Lindsey Roffey

Lindsey is a general manager of a small family run winery in the Livermore Valley. Currently she poses her CSW, is an Advanced Certified Sommelier through the USSA, and has her advanced certificate through WSET. In her spare time, she continues to study and take wine certification courses.

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PUBLISHED DATE: August 14th, 2012 | WINE CATEGORY: Wine Reviews
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