Fine Wine Course
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I organise numerous individual fine wine tastings, tailor-made training courses for
trade clients and entertainment events for corporate clients, along with my 'core' business
of courses run for amateurs as well as professionals. There are three basic principles
which underlie them all however:
These apply, in essence, whatever the price of the wines or level of tasting expertise
involved; whether I am doing the first evening for a group of amateur 'beginners', or
providing a number of well-honed Master of Wine candidate palates with yet another
opportunity to practise. The degree to which you look and probe, and the depth and scope
of the answers you come up with are of course what make the difference. And the extent to
which you want to, or can, do this depends first on the quality of the wines involved, and
then of course, on questions of choice, time available, expertise and motivation. Just as
would be the case with a work of art or literature, a piece of music, a fine building or
garden and so on.
I run more of my Beginners Courses than anything else and, in addition to providing
students with the simple mechanics of tasting, I want them to go away at the end of six
weeks with a system which helps them compare, describe and remember wines, as well as
enabling them to assess quality. I also hope they feel able to see more patterns, and
therefore able to make more sense of wine's enormous variety.
- The selection of benchmark quality wines to taste, whatever the price level.
- Providing guidelines in the act of tasting itself, in how to 'see what there is to see'.
- Making sense of what one has tasted, in terms of the numerous questions which might
follow relating to description, quality, style, typicity, preference, value for money,
drinking context etc.
Ideally they end up with a better developed combination of personal taste and objective
judgement - and a clear appreciation of the difference - which should make them feel more
at ease when confronted with the vast choice there is available to them, as well as more
confident when judging and enjoying what they buy.
© Michael Schuster 2008