Skip to content

To protect the health and safety of our students, instructors, partners and staff, IWEG has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for all in-person tasting workshops, examinations and classes.

Read our mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for more details.

How to Taste Wine

Build your confidence when tasting sake, buying a bottle or pairing sake with food

Man and woman in a sake class. The man is holding up a kanji sign.

WSET Level 1 Award in Sake
Date: Saturday, March 19th @ 9:30am – 5pm

WSET Level 1 Award in Sake provides a hands-on introduction to the world of this diverse Japanese beverage. You’ll explore the main types and styles of wine through sight, smell, and taste to develop an understanding of the key factors affecting flavours and aromas.

This 6-hour course provides a hands-on introduction to the world of sake and sake and food pairing.

You’ll learn:

The main types and styles of sake
The basic principles of sake production
The main types and styles of sake
Factors affecting the flavour of sake
How to serve sake
How to describe sake using the WSET Level 1 Systematic Approach to Tasting Sake® (SAT)
Prerequisite: None.

The course will be delivered by IWEG’s WSET Sake Lead Educator and Sake Samurai Michael Tremblay DipWSET.

Michael Tremblay

Man wearing a black hat smiling while holding up an extremely large bottle of sake.

Michael’s foray into wine and sake has been 25 years in the making, traveling around the world and using wine and sake as a lens for learning about the history and culture of different regions. Michael is one of 70 Sake Samurai in the world, a title bestowed by the Japan Sake and Shochu Maker’s Association at Kyoto’s 1300 year old shrine to sake, the Matsunoo Taisha. He is the co-author of the forthcoming book on sake “Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake: Rice, Water, Earth” which will be released on March 8, 2022 and published by Tuttle. Moreover, he is a seasoned sake judge, having assessed sake in Japan, London and Hawaii for the International Wine Challenge and US National Sake Appraisal.

Michael enjoys traveling to Japan whenever he can and has worked in renowned sake breweries in Niigata, Shizuoka, Shimane and Gifu prefectures, practicing his ‘work-in-progress’ Japanese and learning from the Toji (master brewers). His experiences visiting more than 80 sake breweries throughout the country culminated in the development of the Sake Scholar Course, a course dedicated to exploring every sake region in Japan in detail. Michael is currently the Sake Sommelier for Ki Modern Japanese + Bar, where he manages the largest sake program in Canada. He is dedicated to being Ki’s ambassador for sake, educating guests and staff alike in the beauty and subtle art of sake, wine and food.

Teaching approach:
Having been lucky enough to travel extensively throughout the world’s most famous wine regions and every corner of Japan’s sake world, I make it a point to connect the topics at hand in the course with stories that shed a little more light on these subjects. In essence, I want each student to feel like they have travelled to those regions and in doing so, make a myriad connections for the student with what they need to know for the exam.

Gain knowledge of the principal and regionally important grape varieties of the world

Woman sitting a table with bottles of wine and text books while holding a glass of red wine

WSET Level 2 Award in Wines
Date: Tuesdays, March 29th – May 17th at 6:30pm – 8:30pm

The WSET Level 2 Award in Wines is an intermediate-level course 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.
WSET Level 2 Award in Wines is the perfect wine course for anyone wishing to learn about a wide range of grapes and styles, as well as those seeking to build on the introductory knowledge gained with the WSET Level 1 Award in Wines. 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.

This 17-hour course provides fundamental product knowledge and systematic tasting skills. Expect to spend 11 hours on preparation and review outside of the classroom.

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

Stepping Stone to Diploma: WSET Level 3 Award in Wines

Man sitting at t table with various glasses of wine in front him. He is holding up and looking at a red wine.

WSET Level 3 Award in Wines
Date: Saturdays, March 26th – May 28th @ 10:30am – 4pm

Complete the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines this spring to prepare you for the next WSET Diploma program!

The WSET Level 3 Award in Wines is an advanced-level course is for industry professionals as well as dedicated enthusiasts who want to develop a broader and deeper understanding of wine.

You’ll have a thorough understanding of grape growing and wine making and the factors that account for the style, quality and price of the principal still, sparkling and fortified wines of the world. You’ll learn how to use your tasting notes to make objective conclusions on a wine’s style, quality and readiness for drinking.

This 40-hour course provides in-depth and detailed understanding of how human and natural factors in vineyard and winery affect wine style, quality and price. It further develops systematic tasting and description skills. Expect to spend 50 hours of preparation and review outside of the classroom.

You’ll learn:

  • Grape varieties, wines and wine-growing regions in detail
  • The key factors in the production of wine: location, grape growing, winemaking, maturation and bottling
  • How these key factors influence the key characteristics of the principal still wines, sparkling wines and fortified wines of the world
  • How to apply your understanding to explain wine style and quality
  • How to make appropriate wine recommendations
  • How to taste wines, describe their characteristics and evaluate their quality, using the WSET Level 3 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine® (SAT)

The course will be delivered by IWEG’s WSET Certified Educators Kim Berdusco DipWSET, Debbie Shing DipWSET and Erin Salmon DipWSET.

Kim Berdusco

Kim Berdusco

Kim’s wine journey started in the United Kingdom where she lived for 18 years. While working in the trading room for a large banking organization, Kim started taking WSET courses at the head office in London, UK. Once immersed in wine studies, she never looked back! She completed the Diploma with WSET in 2011. After returning to Canada in 2012, she became a certified sommelier by both the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She is a certified educator with WSET and a director on the Board of the Toronto Winetasters Society. She does private tastings and events and is the wine representative for the Toronto Newcomers Club.

Kim teaches WSET courses at IWEG. She also teaches the Spanish Wine Scholar and the Italian Wine Scholar.

Recognizing Kim’s passion for “all things wine”, she was awarded the “Teacher of the Year” at IWEG in 2017. Other interests include running, reading and playing bridge. She is currently a student for the Master of Wine qualification and is enrolled at UC Davis in their Winemaking Certification Program.

Teaching approach:

I am passionate about teaching wine. I love to have a thorough and extensive discussion in the class where students contribute to the subject material. I think of myself more as a facilitator of information/education than as a lecturer. I want students to come away from the class and not just recall material but understand it.

How do you taste wine?

Side profile of a woman with curly hair and earrings tasting a glass of white wine.

Or to put it another way, how can experts sense various fruits and spices in something which we would just describe as ‘nice’? This article can explain and will help us all to enjoy more from a glass of wine. Learn more.