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Formalize Your Knowledge

Black and white photo of man in a suit with a black and white polka dot tie gently smiling.

Michael Tremblay‘s foray into wine and sake has been 25 years in the making. We invited him to share what drew him to his recent learning journey, the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines:

As a student, instructor, sommelier and now author, why did you pursue the Diploma?

I have always loved learning about the many fascinating pockets of the world out there. I find that using wine and Japanese sake as a lens to explore these unique regions is the perfect conduit. While I teach a lot of sake courses and work in a Japanese restaurant with one of Canada’s largest sake programs, I am also hugely passionate about wine. Diploma was an opportunity for me to focus on wine for a couple of years. 

Were there any specific goals or objectives you hoped to achieve?

I love to teach and have been teaching advanced level sake courses and mid-level wine courses for seven years, in addition to conducting seminars for the amazing staff at Ki. My pursuit of the the WSET Diploma is to enhance my knowledge and allow me to teach advanced level wine classes. The challenges of teaching advanced courses helps to enhance my knowledge.

How does it help you in your work or career goals?

I have been involved in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years. Diploma formalized my knowledge on the many aspects of wine. Some of it was subject matter I already knew, but the course tackled some of it from different angles. I plan to stay surrounded by wine and sake for years to come (and maybe write more books!), and Diploma provides all kinds of benefits and limitless opportunities for my future.

Can you share your experience and any tips you may have for the next Diploma cohort?

Diploma is a beast of a course and I love challenges! What worked for me is setting aside a few blocks of time that stayed the same each week so that I could get into a ‘study rhythm’. Keeping a consistent schedule and not letting yourself break away from that schedule was important for me and a crucial part in passing the Diploma units on the first shot. In addition, I eschewed reading the latest Murakami novel for a subscription to wine magazines like Decanter. An important part of Diploma is writing about wine, through a research paper and structured answers during the theory exams, so reading articles on wine provided different author perspectives and even tasting notes to compliment the Diploma textbooks. I not only learned a lot about wine from reading wine articles but also how different wine writers express themselves when talking about it. 

Do you have any advice to the next generation of students?

I have been considering taking WSET Diploma for more than a decade. The 2+ year commitment was the biggest obstacle. There never is going to be a perfect time to commit.  Don’t wait to take this rewarding challenge if you are thinking about it! Just dive in now since it rewards you ten-fold. You will meet many like-minded people that will form a part of your wine community…a community filled with awesome wine people you will know for years to come.

Next steps/goals for you?

I will focus on teaching wine and sake courses for a while, then take the Italian Wine Scholar course. My hope is to travel to a few more wine regions if I can. And…I haven’t ruled out going for Master of Wine either!

Michael Tremblay DipWSET, Sake Samurai, Sommelier at Ki Modern Japanese + Bar is co-author of the forthcoming book “Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake: Rice, Water, Earth” (Tuttle Publishing, May 10, 2022). He is a Sake Judge for the International Wine Challenge and U.S. National Sake Appraisal.

Cover of book Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake. Rich, Water, Earth. Written by Nancy Matsumoto and Michael Tremblay, Foreword by John Gaunter.

Pre-order Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake Sake at:AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters Indigo, or IndieBound.

Michael will be teaching the upcoming WSET Level 3 Award in Sake course at IWEG. 

WSET Level 3 Award in Sake

This advanced-level course is for industry professionals as well as dedicated enthusiasts who want to develop expertise in this fascinating beverage. You’ll have a thorough understanding of production methods, the factors that account for the style, quality and price of sake as well its cultural and commercial importance in the Japanese and export markets. You’ll learn how to use your tasting notes to make objective conclusions on a sake’s style and quality.

You’ll learn:

  • The main techniques that are used in the production of sake and how they influence style and quality
  • The principal and specialty categories of sake
  • The sake industry and the commercial importance of sake in the Japanese and export markets
  • The principles behind the storage, selection and service of sake
  • How to appreciate the historic and current cultural and commercial significance of sake in Japan and in export markets
  • How to assess and describe sake with confidence, and be able to make selection, storage and service suggestions
  • How to taste sake, describe their characteristics and evaluate their quality, using the WSET Level 3 Systematic Approach to Tasting Sake® (SAT)

The course will take place on Saturdays and Sundays, June 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th and 18th at 9:30am – 4:30pm. Learn more!

WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines

Man dressed in black smiling while smelling a white wine

The market-leading WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines qualification provides expert level knowledge and develops key analytical skills for success in the global wine business. Perfect for both the trade professional and the serious enthusiast, the course will arm you with specialist-level skills and experience, plus international recognition as an expert in the field of wine.

Holders of the Diploma will be able to identify characteristics of the principal wines of the world, make informed assessments of a product’s quality and value, and identify appropriate opportunities for the products within a given market.

You will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to underpin the job requirements in such roles as Food & Beverage Manager, Wine Buyer or Sales Executive.

The Diploma fulfills the prerequisite for the wine qualification requirement for entry to the Master of Wine (MW) program.

The IWEG experience

As the leading organization in wine, spirits and sake education in Canada, IWEG has offered the WSET Level 4 Diploma since 1988.

Our Diploma graduates over the years have gone on to become vital members of the wine and spirits industry in Canada and worldwide. IWEG holds the record for having the largest amount of Diploma graduates in Canada!

IWEG has been offering Diploma studies for longer than any institute outside of the WSET School in London, which means we enjoy a long history of student success. Our passionate and highly qualified Diploma educators, who come from different fields within the trade, provide on-going support to help you master the analytical tasting skills and supplemental theoretical knowledge necessary to succeed.

Learn more about the in-class WSET Diploma.

Learn more about the online WSET Diploma.

Wines of Portugal Academy: Intermediate Level – last chance!

Bottle of wine on a pile of books with a backpack and blackboard in the background. The bottle says wines of Portugal. The blackboard says Portuguese 101, saude! and ola!

Wines of Portugal Academy: Intermediate Level
Date: Sunday, April 24th @ 9:30am – 4:30pm

This ViniPortugal course covers fundamental knowledge about Portuguese wine. Explore the history, taste a variety of wine styles, and further your knowledge of the native grape varietals of this great winemaking region.

This one-day course is ideal for trade professionals seeking professional accreditation and Portuguese wine enthusiasts.

Discover the 10 most important native grape varietals, understand traditional vinification systems, tour the unique sub-regions and taste 16 diverse wines showcasing Portugal’s diverse terroirs.

You will:

  • Develop an extensive knowledge of Portuguese wines
  • Be able to recognize the iconic wines, the famous fortified wines, the 10 main grape varieties, the typical blends and the contribution of each variety in the composition of the blend for wines of Portugal
  • Be able identify and know the main characteristics of the main regions (including Beira Interior and Azores)
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge on the harmonization of international gastronomy with Portuguese wines

Upon successful completion of a test, you will receive a certificate and the title of Wines of Portugal Certified Ambassador.

Prerequisite: None.

The course is taught by Wines of Portugal Academy educator Sofia Salvador.

Become a More Confident Spirits Taster

Black and white photo of a man with a bear smiling away from the camera in a bar with a cocktail in front of him.

WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits
Date: Mondays, May 16th – July 7th at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Register Now!

WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits covers the main categories of spirits and liqueurs and examines the influences of production methods on the different styles available in each category, building on the introductory knowledge gained with the WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits. Throughout the course, you’ll develop analytical tasting skills while exploring the use of spirits in cocktails.

You’ll learn:

  • How to taste and describe spirits using the WSET Level 2 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine®(SAT)
  • Major spirits categories and styles, as well as liqueurs, vermouth and cocktails
  • The four main steps in spirits production
  • What labelling terms mean
  • Assessment and description skills as you sample a range of benchmark examples
  • Basic principles of spirits storage and service and about cocktail equipment, ingredients, basic techniques and main cocktail families

WSET Level 2 Award in Wines at Wine Academy

Close up of wine glass with red wine being poured in. The wine glass has the Wine Academy logo.

WSET Level 2 Award in Wines – Wine Academy
Date: Tuesdays, May 3rd – June 7th at 6:30pm – 9:30pm at Wine Academy, 67 Richmond Street West #B101, Toronto
Register Now!

This intermediate-level course is for those entering a profession in the wine industry as well as for enthusiasts who wish to broaden their knowledge in a structured way. You’ll gain knowledge of the principal and regionally important grape varieties of the world, the regions in which they are grown and the styles of wine they produce. Through a combination of tasting and theory, you’ll explore the factors that impact style and quality and learn how to describe these wines with confidence.

You’ll learn:

  • How to taste and describe wine using the WSET Level 2 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine®(SAT)
  • How environmental factors, grape-growing, winemaking and maturation options influence the style and quality of wines made from eight principal grape varieties:
    • Chardonnay
    • Pinot Grigio/Gris
    • Sauvignon Blanc
    • Riesling
    • Cabernet Sauvignon
    • Merlot
    • Pinot Noir
    • Syrah/Shiraz
  • The style and quality of wines:
    • Made from 22 regionally important grape varieties
    • Produced in over 70 geographical indications (GIs) around the world
  • How grape varieties and winemaking processes influence key styles of:
    • Sparkling wines
    • Fortified wines
  • Key labelling terms used to indicate origin, style and quality
  • Principles and processes involved in the storage and service of wine
  • Principles of food and wine pairing

Located in the heart of the Financial District, Wine Academy is an exciting new private social club built around a masterpiece wine cellar worthy of housing the worlds’ most storied and finest wines.

Wine Awakenings Offer

Woman sitting at table smelling a wine with various wine aroma kit tools and scents around her.

Wine Awakenings’ aroma kits are an educational tool to increase knowledge of each aroma found in wine. These learning tools can help students evaluate the subtle nuances in wines and whisky in order to develop personal scent memory.

“Wine Awakenings aroma kits are an incredible tool for wine beginners, enthusiasts, students and teachers! …aroma kits are a fun and effective way for people to develop the aroma vocabulary and train their senses.  The 60 aroma Wine Awakenings Master Kit is a must have for serious wine aficionados!”- Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, Master of Wine 

Use promo code SP01 to receive $50 off any $300 purchase. Check out the product offerings.

Wines of Germany Qualified Study and Certification Program 

Together with IWEG, the German Wine Institute has developed the first of its kind Wines of Germany Qualified Study and Certification Program for the Canadian market.

The course is offered free of charge, courtesy of Wines of Germany.

Designed specifically for industry professionals, this Wines of Germany online certification covers fundamental knowledge about German wine.

This is a self-paced course which should take approximately 12-15 hours, including study time to complete.

Three online learning modules and downloadable learning materials are complemented by synchronous sessions on a video conferencing platform moderated by Christopher Waters DipWSET, Wines of Germany’s accredited instructor for this course.

Prerequisite: None, however prior wine knowledge (eg. WSET Level 2 Award in Wines) would be advantageous.

You’ll learn:

  • Germany in context: wine basics, geography and climate
  • German wine law and quality
  • The richness and diversity of German wine regions and main grapes/styles of wine

Upon successful completion of an online test with passing grade of 75 per cent or higher, you will receive a personalized and downloadable Wines of Germany certificate at the end of the course.

Course materials include the downloadable German Wine Manual and profiles on the main grapes and styles of wines.

Enrollment opens on March 13, 2022. Access to the course is limited to sixty days from the published start date.