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Dream to Reality

A young man with glasses in a red short-sleeved coloured shirt and blue jeans standing on a pier.

Remigijus is an LCBO employee who recently completed several wine and spirits courses with IWEG. He shared with us how he is turning his dream into reality:

Why did you pursue your studies?

I always had passion in wine, but it was on hold. A couple of years ago, I received a book about major wine grape varieties. I think this was a turning point where I started to consider it as a way of life. A few years down the road, I joined the LCBO in hopes of making my dream a reality. And it’s hard to believe, but that was a great idea. I was able to apply for tuition and be involved in the courses IWEG provides. After completing a couple of courses, I look forward to where this is going to take me. Will I become a product consultant at the LCBO or join another great company to advance my carrier in the wine industry? I know for sure whatever I do next will be related to wine.

Do you have any study tips for other students?

During my studies I tried different approaches to advance my knowledge. I used flashcards, rewriting the textbooks in my own words, memorizing facts, and looking for resources outside of the class in order to expand my knowledge. One thing that unites all is proper time dedication for studying. I dedicated an hour or so of my time every day to submerge myself in it. Somebody once said, “if a person dedicates an hour of his time to any subject, he/she can become an expert in the next couple of years”. I want to become one of them.

Starting Soon: Italian Wine Scholar

A bottle of wine, a glass of red wine and the Italian Wine Scholar study manuals for unit 1 on the wines of Northern Italy and unit 2 on the wines of Central and Southern Italy.

The Italian Wine Scholar is an extensive two-unit specialist certification focused on the diverse wines and wine regions of Italy. It is designed by the Wine Scholar Guild to provide current, accurate information on all of the wine regions of Northern, Central and Southern Italy, and to validate proficiency in the wines and wine regions of the country.

Unit 1 is 16 hours and covers Northern Italy and Unit 2 is 14 hours and covers Central and Southern Italy. The course provides detailed coverage of Italian wines, as well as an introduction to Italian history, geography, viticulture and winemaking. The units can be taken in any order and are sold separately ($1150 for each course).

You will:

  • Develop specialist knowledge of DOC and DOCG wines of 21 Italian regions
  • Appreciate the cultural context of Italian wine
  • Consider the vineyard and winery factors that contribute to wine styles
  • Taste and assess a range of Italian wines, which illustrate regional or grape varietal typicity, as well as diversity of styles by authorized Wine Scholar Guild instructors

Italian Wine Scholar: Central and Southern Italy (Unit 2) 
Date: Tuesdays, January 24th – March 7th at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Register Now!

Close up of a man smiling

The Wine Scholar Guild (WSG) courses were very informative and I felt the tests were quite fair. The online study aids (presentations and quizzes) were great in terms of studying the need-to-know topics, along with the textbook which provided a bit more depth to the material. I originally took the WSG courses to bolster my understanding of these classic wine regions as I make my way into the wine industry, but while doing so I also ended up meeting and connecting with some very cool classmates. – Kevin

What to Expect on a WSET Wine Course

Has it been a while since you were last in a classroom environment?

We understand you might not be feeling too confident about stepping back into this kind of setting. But ultimately, learning new knowledge, revising, and eventually sitting an exam is a challenge worth facing!

To make sure you have all the tools and guidance you need, rest assured – the WSET product development team aren’t just experts in wine, spirits or sake – they have extensive expertise, experience and training in education, ensuring that they are creating engaging, enjoyable and approachable courses for everyone. This article unpacks some of the key elements of WSET courses to help you feel ready and prepared to sign up for a qualification today.

Taste and Explore with John Szabo

Man in blue suit and blue dress shirt sitting at a table with his arms crosses gently. A bottle of wine and two glasses are beside him.

Master Sommelier John Szabo was the first Canadian to add the “MS” after his name in 2004. He holds the international Wine & Spirits Education Trust Diploma with honours, as well as the Canadian Sommelier Guild diploma. He’s principal critic for WineAlign.com, Canada’s premiere wine resource, and co-host and producer of the podcast Wine Thieves with a global following in the trade. He writes a monthly wine advisory for Canaccord Genuity, a global financial services management company headquartered in Canada, as well as a column for Grapevine Magazine, and contributes to many international trade and consumer publications. He’s currently co-writing on a book on wine chemistry.

On the consulting side, John builds wine programs across Canada, and is currently sourcing wines for Accor/Fairmont/Sofitel Hotels in Québec. He is a regular guest speaker at events worldwide and has delivered masterclasses for virtually every major wine trade associations and has taught countless wine courses over the years, among others, for the CMS and IWEG. He has travelled to virtually every wine producing country on earth in pursuit of fine wine and to keep on top of this fascinating industry, including two visits to New Zealand. In his spare time, he tends to his new vineyard in Prince Edward County.

Join John for tasting and exploring in 2023 at the following masterclasses:

Explore New Zealand Pinot Noir with John Szabo

With the support of New Zealand Wine Growers, join Master Sommelier and IWEG visiting instructor John Szabo for an evening of tasting and exploration of New Zealand Pinot Noir. The masterclass will take place on Thursday, February 2nd, 2023 at 6:30pm – 8:30pm. Sign up now!

Taste the Austrian Grand Crus of the Danube Valley with John Szabo

With the support of Austrian Wine, join Master Sommelier and IWEG visiting instructor John Szabo for an evening of tasting and exploration of the Austrian Grand Crus of the Danube Valley. The masterclass will take place on Thursday, March 30th, 2023 at 6:30pm – 8:30pm. Sign up now!

Focus on the Grand Crus of the Napa Valley with John Szabo

With the support of Napa Valley Vintners, join Master Sommelier and IWEG visiting instructor John Szabo for an afternoon of tasting and exploration focusing on the Grand Crus of the Napa Valley. The The masterclass will take place on Monday, May 1st, 2023 at 2pm – 4pm. Sign up now!

Sláinte Mhath! Celebrate Robbie Burns Day

It’s the 261st birthday of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns! Robbie Burns Day, or Burns Night, is an institution of Scottish life. It is celebrated yearly around the poet’s birthday, celebrating his life and contribution to Scottish culture (you may have heard of Auld Lang Syne, his most famous work). Celebrate Burns Day this year with some classic Scottish food and Scotch whisky pairings.

Learn more about Scotch in 2023: 

WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits is an intermediate-level course is for those entering a profession in the industry as well as for enthusiasts who wish to broaden their knowledge in a structured way. You’ll learn about the fundamental production methods, principal raw materials and how they are used to make key spirit styles. You’ll also explore the key practices and principles of serving spirits and the use of spirits in cocktails.

In-class:

WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits

Date: Mondays, February 6th – March 27th at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Register now!

This in-class course will be taught by industry leaders Alex Boyd and Chris Robertson

Online:

WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits

Date: Monday, March 20th – Sunday, April 23rd
Register Now!

Laptop with black notebook, a glass of whiskey and a red tartan in the background

The online Certificate in Scotch Whisky from the Edinburgh Whisky Academy comprises of six online modules of interactive exercises, videos and pop quizzes to enhance your knowledge and appreciation of all things aqua vitae.

Discover more about the history and business of Scotch before covering the entire production process, from raw materials to distillation, maturation and bottling. You’ll come away knowing so much more about the golden liquor in your glass.

This beginner to intermediate course is for professionals looking to break into the industry or who are new to the industry, as well as to enthusiasts looking to improve their knowledge.

The flexible, self-paced format allows you to learn in your own time and, with quizzes at the end of each module, you can measure all the knowledge you’re distilling as you go.

Certificate in Scotch Whisky
Enrollment is open at any time 
Register Now!

New Zealand Wine Week 2023

Vineyard landscape in New Zealand

New Zealand Wine Week kicks off on January 30th until February 7th! Join us throughout the week for bitesize “wine adjacent” webinars covering research at the forefront of New Zealand wine, the wine regions and the country’s commitment to climate change. In these sessions, local producers and international trade will have conversations about sustainability, site, and Sauvignon. Take a look at the sessions and register!With the support of New Zealand Wine Growers, you can also join Master Sommelier and IWEG visiting instructor John Szabo for an evening of tasting and exploration of New Zealand Pinot Noir on February 2nd. Sign up now!