The Wine World Can Be Confusing
Looking at the world of wine from the outside in can sometimes be more confusing than hair and fashion styles of the 80’s. Most of us have had that moment walking into a supermarket or restaurant and looking at an extensive selection of wine and thinking “ I don’t know what any of this means” . Personally speaking, I always loved going wine tasting with friends or sharing a couple glasses while at a get together but knew there was a whole world of wine outside of California I was unfamiliar with and curious to explore.
Learning Wine from Grape to Glass
From a personal standpoint, I had been working for an aerospace company for several years and was interested in getting my foot in the door in the wine industry. Having been in sales, it seemed like a natural transition to wine distribution but I didn’t want to represent major brands that you find on every shelf in every store. I would much rather work for a smaller distributor who thoughtfully chooses producers who make high quality wines with a story to tell. Little did I know a few years later I would be fortunate enough to find a company like LBV to distribute wines for in the Bay Area. Incredibly high quality wines from small producers offering a true expression of French wines at a great value.
WSET? Why Not?
How does one go about getting a crash course in the theory of wine though? After doing a little bit of research I discovered the WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) program. What is the WSET? The simplest way to describe it would be a beginner level introduction to wine for those looking to start a career in wine or just pursuing an interest in wine. My WSET 1 class took place at the Napa Valley Wine Academy over the course of 2 days (Sat and Sunday, but online is available too), and had quite a diverse selection of students who attended of all ages. One couple was from Texas and they opened their own winery specializing in Texas Tempranillo (yes, you heard that right). There was another couple who attended because the husband bought his wife the classes for their anniversary. Some others in attendance either had started working in the wine trade and wanted to get up to speed on wine theory and some were looking to try and get a foot in the door within the wine industry and wanted a base level of knowledge.
Last but not least I found the class to be pretty fun overall, learning about stuff that you can apply to everyday life and bring to the table next time you have dinner or meet up with friends. The vibe of the class wasn’t super serious in tone and it wasn’t intense rigorous course material. Sure there were some in the class that had a bit more experience or knew a little more than others, but it wasn’t high brow or condescending that sometime comes with the connotation of wine. So if you have a free weekend to spare and really want to up your wine game in a short amount of time (or do it online) , I highly recommend giving consideration to the WSET course(s). It led me to taking the WSET II class, CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine), and Intro to the Court of Master Sommeliers. Working with LBV coupled with the coursework has also led me to an opportunity as a part time sommelier at a small Italian restaurant in the Bay Area.
Still Loving This Wine Journey
Even though I still consider myself to be at the start of a long journey through the world of wine, the WSET classes really allowed me to discover how much I appreciated and would grow to love French wine. Especially with the shelter in place happening right now, makes me realize how much I miss being out and about talking about LBV wines. I know that when I am out and about at a wine bar or a restaurant I am personally looking for small production wines at a great value (French if possible) and if I can find one I look forward to trying them. So being able to provide these wines that I enjoy consuming brings it back full circle for me.