While some may prefer to brew up a cold beer, we all know nothing takes the edge off like a nice glass of wine. At a time when almost everything can be found online, wine courses are no exception. No longer do you need to go as far as Napa Valley or enroll for a hotel management/hospitality course; courses on wine are available at your fingertips. Thus, whether you’re just an enthusiast who wants to sound like they know what they’re doing the next time you order wine, a winemaker, an industry professional who wants to learn more, or just want to leave behind the cheap wines of your early 20s, there are online training programs to cater to every type of need.
To give you a headstart into your wine education, here’s a roundup of some of the best online wine courses that will help you master the wine skills you need.
James Suckling Teaches Wine Appreciation — Masterclass
James Suckling Teaches Wine Appreciation is our number one pick for best online wine course. James has tasted more than 200,000 wines and is called one of the "world's most powerful wine critics." In this 11 module course, James tours Tuscan vineyards to teach students about wine. He dives deep into stories, history, and people so students can understand what is behind every bottle. The first few modules of the course explore tasting techniques as well as flavors and aromas. As the course goes on students will meet the makers of top wines, go on location with James, and learn about about pairings, storing wine, and more.
Wine Tasting: Sensory Techniques for Wine Analysis — Coursera
This course from Coursera pays tribute to the long history and relevance of wine in the human world, as well as its importance today — the international wine market is valued at $304 billion annually. Great for beginners who are just taking their first steps into the study of wine, this course aims to help these students understand the physiology in wine tasting. The course’s first module explores the different types of wine while also helping students set up their own tasting and start developing sensory vocabulary. In the later modules, students review wins from around the world and learn to identify the various flaws and shortcomings that can make an appearance in wine. In the last module, students will learn to pair wine and food, with the course culminating in a peer review project that includes assessing a specific wine.
World of Wine: From Grape to Glass — edX
Learning the finer details can take years, but with this course, it’ll only take you a matter of 6 weeks. This edX course aims to give students a wider understanding of the grape-growing and consequent wine-making process, and how this impacts the appearance, flavor, taste, and aroma of the wine. Students will also gain knowledge on the interrelation between research and the sustainability of the global wine industry; this course has a little something for everyone, whether experts or amateurs.
Additionally, students will learn how to describe wine using formal language, explain the functioning of grapevines and different vineyard management practices, as well as the differences in the different techniques of winemaking.
WSET Level 1 Award in Wines Online — WSET School, London
The WSET School, London, offers a Level 1 Award in Wines Online Course for students, spread over 4 weeks and designed to fit around students’ existing commitments. With an interactive online classroom that lets you study under a mentor’s guidance, students learn how to taste wine in a systematic manner and identify the different styles of wine, and apply these in their own food and wine choices. Students will have to taste a minimum of 6 wines through the course with guidance from mentors and on completion of the course, earn a certificate and a lapel pin.
The school also offers levels 2 to 4 for more advanced learning.
The ABCs of Wine Tasting — Wine Spectator School
The Wine Spectator School doesn’t just offer one course but a variety of online courses on wine tasting, but the one most apt to gain a wider understanding of wine is “The ABCs of Wine Tasting” where students learn what to look for in a glass of wine as well as how to describe the main attributes of wine. Students learn what goes into winemaking as well as how to taste both red and white wines. You can continue learning about wine with the next level “Understanding Wine” course. The best part? You can enroll for a course at any time!
ABCs of Wine Sales and Service — Wine Spectator School
Designed for professionals, this course consists of 4 modules — Tasting Prep, Tasting Whites, Tasting Reds, and Sales Strategies. This course, due to its systematic building up of course material right from the very basics to the more advanced aspects, works both as a refresher course as well as a systematic way to learn the professional aspect of the wine world. Students learn everything about the journey of grapes from the vineyard to the glass, tasting whites and reds and how to sell wine as well as recommend food pairings confidently.
Discovering the World of Wine — Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s International School of Hospitality and Tourism Management threw open the doors of this course for everyone from sommeliers to chefs to wine importers, distributors and sellers to retain wine store owners. Created by famed wine writers and educators, Ron Kapon and Pat Savoie, with tasting videos by Philippe Newlin. The course consists of 26 lessons and helps students develop wine knowledge, learn wine by the grape, find new approaches to wine and food pairing and new ways to enjoy wine more.
Winemaking Certification Program — The University of California Davis Campus
Designed to meet the needs of those who aim to become serious winemakers, the Winemaking Certification Program is spread over 5 quarters of 10 weeks each, with coursework being graded and students requiring a minimum “C” or higher to successfully pass the course. In the course, students get an introduction to wine and winemaking, wine production, quality control and analysis in winemaking, wine stability and sensory analysis and viticulture for winemakers.
Understanding Professional Wine Sales and Service — Wine Spectator School
Another course aimed at professionals from the Wine Spectator School, “Understanding Professional Wine Sales and Service” is a comprehensive course with 10 modules. Through the course, students get an introduction to tasting white and red wines, international varieties, major regional varieties, classic wines from regions of Europe such as France, Germany, Spain and Italy, newer wines from California and other wine-making regions of America, winegrowing and winemaking and recommending and pairing wine confidently.
Intermediate Wine Course — International Sommelier Guild
Designed to cater to those who have longed to learn about wine but never found the time to commit to a full-time course (or the finances!), this course helps enthusiasts become more comfortable with the world of wine. Whether you want to expand your knowledge, feel more confident, or develop a deeper appreciation for wine, this course has a little something to cater to every purpose. Students will learn about the unique features of grapes used to make wine, including how they’re grown and how they’re made into wine. Students will also be introduced to basic wine terminology and storage techniques, as well as pairing food and wine, through extensive videos, text, online lectures and a list of wines suggested for tasting.
ISGM Online Diploma — International Sommelier Guild
Also referred to as Professional Sommelier Certification, the ISGM Online Diploma gives students access to a wide range of resources, including over 300 live video class lectures and 400 live structured tasting videos. Students also receive an interactive book with comprehensive information about wines. Additionally, passing the course requires passing 6 examination components. This is the ultimate course for those who are seriously interested in becoming sommeliers.
Advanced Wine Certificate — International Sommelier Guild
Also referred to as AWC or Level 2, this course allows you to build on your learning from the previous learning, helping you delve deeper into the understanding of wine on a global scale. Students taking this course will be equipped with sufficient knowledge to decide whether to develop the love of wine into a possible career. Through the course, students also learn how the local landscapes and cultures affect wine flavors by studying different variables such as the local law, climate, soil, grape variety and the like, as well as understanding how diverse the world of wine is.
We’ve tried our best to round up a range of courses perfect for both novices and sommelier aspirants; these courses are some of the best available out there, providing comprehensive knowledge with easy-to-follow syllabi, making for some easy learning. Developed in a systematic manner, each of these courses explores all there is about wine, right from the growing of the grapes till its final destination — the glass! Some of them also go on to explore its journey beyond the glass, delving into the sales, distribution and management aspects of the global wine industry. Therefore, these courses are just as great as refresher courses for experts, serious wine enthusiasts, and sommeliers as they are for novices and beginners. So, whether you’re an enthusiast or expert, enroll in any of these courses to expand your knowledge of wine!