Whether you are into wine or not, it is always nice to learn something new. Wine is more than just a drink, it is an art, a wide spectrum of knowledge and science, becoming a sommelier is not an easy task. There are a few wine tasting programmes and courses available around, depending on what you are looking for and your aim, there is always one that suits you.

Recently I had been invited to attend a wine tasting evening at Le Cordon Bleu in London. For those are into culinary, you are probably familiar with the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute. Courses and programmes from pastry, boulangerie, wine to culinary management, the institution offer state-of-the-art equipment, professional and experts from the industry and multiple recognized training opportunities.

The evening class is for those who want to start looking into wine and decide if they want to explore further. Basically a “Wine Essentials”, the course provides a systematic approach to wine tasting, alongside sensory analysis, viticulture and winemaking techniques, wine legislation, food and wine pairing, storing and serving wine, and the ageing process. Tasting up to 40 different wines, in 7 evenings of 2 hours each, you will walk out the classroom gaining a fundamental knowledge of wine.

The evening class I attended was taught by one of the greatest Masters Matthieu Longuere MS.  trained in France, Matthieu had been in the industry in London working with world-leading hotels as head sommelier since 1994, by 2005, he received the Master Sommelier Diploma, the highest achievable status for professional sommeliers and a status which is only held by just 256 people around the world.

 

We tasted 6 different wine from different regions and time of production. Matthieu had a specific reason for picking each and every wine, including the sequence of tasting and pairing with few pastries on the side.

 

These were the 6 wine chosen for the evening. Every detail from the journey to the bottle down to the design of the label was explained thoroughly.

In case you’re wondering how do people do wine tasting classes without getting drunk? The answer is simple, either you are : 1. You are very tolerant of alcohol 2. You love drinking a lot that you don’t mind 3. You don’t drink, but spit it out every time you had a sip. See that black holder there on the table, that is for this purpose. This is what most people do in wine tasting classes. First to keep yourself sober, so all your senses are staying sensitive and sharp. Second, if you go onto to take spirits tasting classes, we will be talking about vodka, tequila, gin tasting…so that goes back to #1 or 2.

If you want to take it to the next level, there are also courses ranging from a few months to year-long certificate programmes. For example, there are Wine Master Classes, similar to the one I attended, consisting of few sessions, a total of about 20 hours maximum, giving you a crash course into a specific area of your interests. the Certificate in Wine and Beverage Studies that last for 3 months, you will be learning wine regions of the world, food and beverage pairing, wine appreciation and wine handling etc. The Diploma in Wine, Gastronomy and Management will take up 6 months of your time with an internship option at the end of the course. This will include more on the hospitality and events, market research distribution and commercialisation, other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages modules, giving you a more overall picture of the industry as a whole.

It was a very interesting evening learning about wine. There is so much more to learn and understand, even though taste is a very personal choice, the beauty of winery is there is always something for someone (of course, if you like wine/ alcoholic beverages). The next time if you are in London, why not consider taking a course or two about wine if time allows? Of course, there are so much more to offer at the school as well on the culinary side.