Top online wine courses to try in self-isolation
Burgundy expert in 90 minutes, BIVB
As Decanter.com recently reported, the BIVB, Burgundy’s regional wine board, has revamped its online learning resources, including new content and updated rules on appellations.
Although aimed at the trade, it is free for anyone to take part. It is divided into four modules, which each take around 20 minutes, followed by a quiz at the end. The modules cover a range of topics, including grape varieties, appellations, food pairing and tasting wine.
Available: Anytime, via the BIVB website. Languages: English, French, Chinese, Japanese. Price: Free
The online wine course run by the University of Adelaide made headlines in 2016 when more than 11,000 people signed up.
The course runs over six weeks and is designed to take a few hours each week. It is still free, although you can pay for a verified certificate once completed.
The course is designed to help you describe the taste and aroma of wine, understand grapevines and vineyard methods, and compare different winemaking techniques.
According to the course description, you can even virtually ‘make your own wine’ once you’re done. There’s only one way to find out…
Available: Most recent course started April 7th. Enroll on website. Language: English. Price: Free, $199 for certificate.
The Champagne regional body, Comité Champagne, has also launched its own online course, to allow users to become experts on France’s premier fizz.
The course is divided into classic and premium sections.
Classic is free and covers Champagne production methods, terroir, the history of the region and how different Champagnes taste in the glass. It takes around five hours to complete.
For €49, the premium version of the course gives you access to extra learning videos, the chance to test your knowledge and a certificate of completion.
Available: Anytime, register online. Languages: English and French. Price: Free for classic, €49 for premium.
California’s UC Davis is a world-famous institution when it comes to wine research, and many top winemakers have graduated from its classrooms.
As Decanter’s Jane Anson put it, university staff have taught a ‘dizzying array of rockstar winemakers from Christian Moueix to Cathy Corison to Alberto Antonini‘.
The university also offers an Introduction to Wine and Winemaking course online.
It’s not free, but it’s comprehensive. Learn about wine regions around the world, as well as the winemaking process, how to read wine labels, the basics of wine tasting and the history of wine.
You can do this either as a standalone course, or use it as stage one of the Winemaking Certificate programme, which can also be taken online but takes two years to complete.
Other online learning resources for wine lovers
Decanter Know Your Wine app
Decanter’s own learning app, Know Your Wine, helps you fit-in wine learning around everyday life. It uses a technique called ‘s p a c i n g’ – or what some have called ‘spaced repetition’ – to deliver learning in highly efficient short bursts. It’s currently available on iPhone only. You can learn more and download the app here.
The Decanter archive of wine quizzes is also a great way to test yourself when revising for exams.
The WSET’s globally-recognised qualifications are generally seen as the formal training one needs when pursuing a career in wine, but it has also seen a rise in students beyond the wine world who are keen to improve their knowledge.
Courses are run in person and online, both directly and via affiliated institutions, although check with your local provider about the latest news regarding the coronavirus situation. Many courses have had to postpone exams, even for online-only courses.
The WSET Online classroom teaches in English, but now course providers can deliver courses in local languages through online conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The WSET School London is now offering a ‘blended learning’ programme for its students, giving the option to continue their studies online through digital classes, webinars and live Q&A sessions. Online exams have now been launched for Level 1 and 2 Awards.
Look out for your favourite wine producers providing masterclasses via social media channels and websites, particularly during the current situation.
Although you won’t be provided with the wine, it’s still a good opportunity to hear from the winemakers and learn what goes into the glass. Those doing online sessions include Ornellaia, Nyetimber, Churchill’s Ports and Ridge Vineyards, to name just a few.