Teaching the French Wine Scholar (FWS) and Italian Wine Scholar programmes (IWS) brings me such a great sense of joy and achievement. There is such a wealth of information about the wines and food of France and Italy which is so engaging for the students. I suppose my strong love for languages, travel, wine and food is what motivates me to teach these classes.
The Wine Scholar Guild has done an excellent job with their study manuals covering the history, grape varieties, climate, geography, soils, topography and even notable personalities who have shaped wine production in their respective countries. Reading the manual, you almost feel you are there with the people and places. It really is that immersive!
I am so pleased when my students post on social media or contact me to let me know that the FWS or IWS Manual is their go-to reference before their trips to France or Italy as they can find everything they need to know about the places, wines and local cuisine of each and every region.
We learn about many grape varieties, some we are familiar, others less so (which is a lovely challenge as well as learning experience) and we become familiar with the names of the regions, towns, villages. As the course progresses, we get a real sense of achievement as it all starts to fall into place and we develop an intimacy with each country through their wines and the people who make them.
Through the hard work of our fantastic wine buying team led by our head wine buyer Andy, we have sourced some fantastic wines for the courses, many of which many of us haven’t tried so every class has surprise after surprise. Wine tasting is a way to transport yourself to all the places we look at which should keep us all going until we arrange our next tours!.
But what brings me the most satisfaction is when my students say how much they have learned and how their eyes have been opened to the world of French and Italian wines and how these courses have helped them in their various wine industry roles or as consumers, many of whom have travelled to France and Italy saying how these courses have made their trips so much more enjoyable and meaningful.