With Distinction

Back in the fall, my work buddy Brian and I enrolled in the Intermediate course offered by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a UK-based organization that offers certificate and diploma programmes on the way to the prestigious Master of Wine designation.

Each week, for eight weeks, we swirled, sniffed, and sipped wines, taking copious (or not so copious) tasting notes. We learned about each of the major wine regions of the world, and learned a methodical process of tasting and describing what we’d tasted. At the end of the eight weeks, we wrote an exam.

Though the course is offered through the local Independent Wine Education Guild, here in Toronto, the tests had to be sent back to Jolly Old England to see if we tipsy colonists had passed muster. Today, I was proud to receive in the mail my very first wine certification, the “WSET Level 2 Intermediate Certificate in Wines, Spirits and Other Alcoholic Beverages.” The best part? Since I scored 96%, they printed “Pass with Distinction” on my certificate.

The next level, the Advanced certificate, is being offered in January, but I know it will be much tougher. It’s 14 weeks long, and the exam contains a tasting component. Though my head is now chock-full of wine knowledge, I still consider myself the owner of a wobbly set of tastebuds. I have much more tasting (and spitting, if I know what’s good for me!) ahead, so I think I’ll wait until next fall to take the next level.