I am relatively new to the wine industry outside of my own consumption and am looking to get some type of certification. I have searched around my state (IA) but have not had much luck in finding any type of class. Are there any noteworthy online type certifications that can be obtained? If so, what would you recommend and what type of costs are involved?

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I truly have no clue although I am sure you can find something.

However, the ONLY way to really learn is to drink it. If you do it with someone who knows what he is talking about and who can explain what you are tasting, so much the better. But if you can't find such a person (the reason for the existence of classes), you can still do it.

So I would ask around in some of the better stores and restaurants - many will probably offer some kind of tasting or class. But you can and should also find a group of people to taste with. Post some flyers in local stores or on the net, and see if you can gather a group of 10 -12 people to taste regularly.

Then set a budget and theme and you're off.

In one of my groups we set a budget at the beginning of the year. Everyone kicks in. Then we decide on what to taste. One person is responsible for acquiring and coordinating the tasting. We reimburse members if they contribute from their cellars, otherwise the coodinator buys the wine and is reimbursed by the treasurer. Everyone has 12 glasses that they supply themselves and the wines are poured, evaluated for an hour or so, rated, and only then discussed.

So you can decide for example, that you want to learn about the difference between sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon. Buy 6 of each from the 2004 vintage, bag the bottles and pour. I guarantee that by the end of that tasting, you will know which is which. That kind of tasting forces you to focus your attention and if you keep your notes, you will learn. Good luck!
Hi Jonny,

Try the Society of Wine Educators SWE for the CSW certification and or the Wine and Spirit Education Trust WSET Intermediate Certification. I have both. I personally thought the SWE course was better. I did most of my study by their book and excellent online tutorial. I then chose an exam sitting near my home. The WSET was a 2 day intensive course at various locations. I believe some places have longer time frames. You come back later and sit their exam. That couse is very euro centric and only as good as the instructors. I honestly felt I could have passed that exam from what I learned in the SWE course . The CSW was also considerably less expensive. Right now I am doing the new online course at Robert Parker. It is very simple and I am not sure what if anything the certification will mean. Good luck to you- H
Originally posted by Happy CSW:
I think it was around $260 plus a pro membership at $150. The $260 gets you the written study guide, the online tutorials and sitting the exam. The membership has other benefits. Check out the website or contact Carla at SWE

Happy CSW, thanks for the tip. This sounds like something I would like to try.

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