A friend of mine asked me where and how he could take a “common folk” wine appreciation course without breaking his bank account and without attending pointless group tasting sessions where everyone knows they have wasted precious time but nobody cares because they are in varying degrees of drunkenness. My friend does not wish to be a sommelier, a wine expert, or even a wine professional of any sort. He simply enjoys good wine (even though, as we know, “good” is in the eyes…and palate…of the beholder). He would love to reach for the wine list when the server walks over to his group’s table and waives the padded wine menu for someone to courageously seize it. He would love to be able to ask intelligent questions on his next wine tour…in Tuscany. And he would love to participate and actually understand what is meant by such mythical description such as “Its aromas of mushroom and bark counter balance its fruity scent of plum…or better still…”An incredibly sexy nose of smoke, black fruits, cappuccino, and toasty wood is followed by an expansive, terrifically concentrated wine with a sumptuous texture, no hard edges, beautifully integrated acidity and tannin, and a long, 35 second finish.”
Everyone tells him that he should only buy and drink what he likes not what everyone else is recommending at that particular time. All that matters is what HE likes, not price, brand, terroir, or what his brother-in-law thinks.
But how can he define what he likes? How can he learn enough about the tasting, pairing, and enjoyment of wine, without all the intimidation and time commitments of attending these quasi wine tasting cult sessions where everyone seems to know WAY more than you do…right from the first day!
He searched the internet jungle far and wide. The traditional formula of wine classes, with endless (and seemingly worthless) certification levels, its very pointed content (ie. A Wines of South Africa), and its dizzying price tags ranges of $400 for level one to $5000 for level four, etc, etc.
He finally discovered what he calls a contemporary, civilized, and non-intimidating alternative. And it doesn’t require that you take out a loan to pay for it. In fact, he discovered that a Canadian company called Wine Awakenings- The Wine Education Company has invented a totally comprehensive and certified wine appreciation module that one can do at home and totally at one’s own pace. Your purchase entitles you to a wonderful tool chest which contains everything you need to immerse all your senses into actually experiencing all the facets of wine appreciation (tasting, aromas, feel, touch, color, and taste) and instructions for enrolling in a virtual classroom which allows you to ask any questions that may arise during your self-learning journey. Once you have successfully completed the 8 chapters and completed your on line final test, you will receive a decorative and official wine appreciation certificate.
My friend ordered this modern marvel of wine education right from the company’s website and received it within a few days. Appropriately named Wine~Expert~in a~Box ™, he describes the experience as being like reading a very good book: you can’t put it down…except for some well-deserved field research…