Tasting, training and taking it all in…

I often look back to my school days and think “if someone had told me then that working in wine is all science and geography I would have probably paid a lot more attention!” Therefore, these days, I like to make it my mission to spread the word that there is so much more to wine than just a cheeky ‘wine Wednesday’ tipple!

At Hennings we are very proud that we’re a WSET approved provider. This means that we are qualified to teach both Level 1 and Level 2 courses from the WSET. You wouldn’t know unless you’ve attended onen but The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) offers qualifications in wines, spirits and sake, for professionals and enthusiasts.

A couple of weeks ago we held a level one day course in our Chichester branch, and I’ll let you into a little secret – teaching these courses is one of my favourite parts of my job. Colin (Nicholson #RM) and I get to meet people from different corners of the wine world, whether that be customers from our trade outlets, members of our own team or retail customers who are keen to find out more about the vinous delights we recommend to you each week!

The Level 1 course is great fun and is a day course that is jam packed with enough wine knowledge to give a confidence boost in both choosing and recommending from a wine list. We cover how wine is made as well as the impacts of climate; winery technique; principle grape varieties; food and wine matching and a whole heap of tasting! For good measure we also throw in a few activities from word searches to grape dissection!

For me it’s great when the room starts to get as interested and excited about the structures and stories behind a wine as I do. Once our budding Level 1 candidates have passed the day course with flying colours, we love to see familiar faces book onto our Level 2 course. This one is much more in depth and runs for two hours a week for eight weeks. Over these weeks we get to build a great relationship with our students, each week covering a wine region or specific grape variety in much more detail and of course we taste and analyse a plethora of wine styles to ensure we keep the palates happy with the practical elements of the course!

You may now be wondering what makes me so qualified to impart all this wine knowledge upon other people? Well, beyond the fun and fascination of Levels 1 and Level 2, comes the serious business of Level 3 and the Diploma. Two years and five exams down (three to go) I am very near the completion of my Diploma which looks into the global market, vitification and vinification, alongside every wine and spirits style you can think of…in the world. Yes, it is intense and a huge amount of reading, tasting and understanding but the level of information and fascination I now have is both exciting and thoroughly interesting. Ultimately, this leads me back to being able to spread the word from the wine gospel to all you keen enthusiasts out there!

So yes, it turns out it is all science and geography, but it’s also a huge amount of fun! Hopefully I might see you in one of our courses – we’re very welcoming and try to keep them as fun as we can! They also make great gifts for budding wine enthusiasts so please do get in touch for more information and I’ll look forward to seeing you in our classroom soon!