16-10-2012

A wine educator that’s certifiable?

Certification programs whether they be Sommelier, Master Taster, Supreme Wine… I don’t know… Drinker, seem to be popping up faster than CO2 during initial fermentation these days. In the US, random certifications are like opinions in that everyone seems to have one and they generally garner an “oh, okay” unless they’re something exclusive like the Master of Wine. Then one day, while perusing Twitter, I came across someone with “certified Spanish Wine Educator” in their bio. That was a bit of a head scratcher, so I searched around and found out that it’s given by the very creatively named The Wine Academy. (Update: site appears to be no more…)

What’s most important to look at in this website is their program which costs nearly 1,000€ for two days after which, those who participate become what they deem to be “Spanish Wine Educators”. While I find it to be extremely expensive, that’s irrelevant as most programs in the certification craze of the last couple of years are all expensive and it appears to be what the market will bear. My bigger issue is in the two day curriculum outlines.

The program essentially has 12 units wherein they cover all of Spain. While the lucky Aragón unit receives a whole hour of time, other regions receive considerably less, like Catalonia which, unless my ability to read time has been compromised, receives all of 15 minutes. While regions vary in size throughout the country, Catalonia has 12 DO bodies, 600+ wineries and several thousand wines. Somehow this is compressed in to a 15 minute lecture? I have to scratch my head…

If this course was just serving to be a very broad overview of Spanish wine for people to take casually, then, despite the cost, I say to each their own. Though, honestly, I think you could learn a great deal more by just spending a couple of hours reading the Spanish wine and Spanish wine regions articles on Wikipedia, and then going to your local wine store and buy a few bottles to drink at home. But, the fact that those who pass the program feel they’re entitled to then run around calling themselves “Spanish Wine Educators”, and actually believe that they can educate anyone on Spanish wine, is questionable to put it lightly.