Upon rediscovering this blog, I rediscovered this post.
How naive that turned out to be. I am now proud holder of WSET3 (with distinction, as well as the same for 2) and French, Spanish and Italian Wine Scholar qualifications (all with highest honours. Entirely unsurprisingly I got completely hooked on wine education.
Level 1 was just interesting enough to get me to do level 2. Level 2 was just interesting enough to do level 3, which is where the fun really started! By fun, of course, I mean this is where the courses started to get hard. I got 100% in both Levels 1 and 2 without any work. Level 3 was a serious step change. Thankfully this serious step change made the group of people doing it much more social, and involved studying and drinking together groups. The other big difference is it moved away from just facts and learning about how to taste into putting that tasting into practise. As well as the old school tickybox exam of the first two levels, there’s a written answer exam and a BLIND TASTING EXAM. You spend most of the course time actually tuning your palette to the tutors and learning exactly what each wine word descriptor means in terms of taste, to analyse the wine as systematically and objectively as possible. Then you get examined on this. I really enjoyed it and wanted more.
The Wine Scholar Guild <insert country here> Wine Scholar qualifications are a different kettle of fish. They’re back to just knowing facts, but the depth you need to go to about the grapes, laws and geology of the different areas is so comprehensive that it still seriously engaged my nerd brain. The place where I did mine also gave us 8-12 (yes, 12) wines per night as well, which really helped with the engagement and enthusiasm! It was a lot more chaotic and biased (how many sweet Italian wines are “One of the finest Passito wines”? All of them as far as I can tell!), and great fun. I’ve done all available countries.
All this leads to a question of “where next?”. I’ve realised having done other courses that given this is “for pleasure” I don’t get on with the WSET systematic style tastings (as much as I am a clinical nerd, it’s not what I want from a glass of wine), so the WSET Diploma is out. Plumpton College in Sussex runs viti/viniculture course which have a definite appeal, but involve rather a lot of driving too and from. As much as I know I’d love the hands on growing of grapes and making of wine aspects, this is a level of hassle/commitment that I’m not sure I’m able to give. Stupid having a job and a mortgage and all sorts of other boring responsibilities.
I am seriously considering the shoe making option.