In response to the overwhelming effort to stay-at-home-and-stay-safe, the Wine and Spirits Education Trust has expanded the number of classes being offered online for wine and spirits Awards. New England Wine Academy has incorporated these new classes to bring more options to those who may be looking to advance their careers, or simply looking to learn more about an interesting topic while social distancing.
All levels of offerings in Wine and Spirits education have been added to for the remainder of the 2019/2020 academic year, which ends August 1. See the full list below and enroll today in the best class for your needs. Please be mindful of the registration deadlines as these are hard dates for getting into these limited sessions. We will also be posting the 2020/2021 academic calendar dates in the near future, so if you are looking down the road and planning to take a session in the fall or later, these will be available for you to review.
NEW ENGLAND WINE ACADEMY
CLASSES AND TRAINING SEMINARS
FOR 2020 ACADEMIC YEAR
Please be aware that all of the sessions on offer below are online-learning classes. The schedule for these classes runs through to the Spring, with exam dates in August. The material covered in online classes is exactly the same as in-person sessions. The current situation is a bit fluid and we will do our best to communicate updates as the need arises. All students will be scheduled with exams as soon as the dates are reasonably allowed and safe.
NEXT CLASSES BEGIN:
Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 1 Award in Wine ONLINE
Mon 4 May 2020 -> Sun 31 May 2020
Mon 25 May 2020 -> Sun 28 June 2020
Mon 29 June 2020 -> Sun 26 July 2020
Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Award in Wine ONLINE
Mon 11 May 2020 -> Sun 14 June 2020
Mon 25 May 2020 -> Sun 28 June 2020
Mon 8 June 2020 -> Sun 12 July 2020
Mon 22 June 2020 -> Sun 26 July 2020
Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Award in Wine ONLINE
(Students should hold the Level 2 Award in Wines, or be able to demonstrate relevant knowledge)
Mon 27 April 2020 -> Sun 28 June 2020
Mon 11 May 2020 -> Sun 12 July 2020
Mon 25 May 2020 -> Sun 26 July 2020
Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 1 Award in Spirits ONLINE
Mon 1 June 2020 -> Sun 28 June 2020
Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Award in Spirits ONLINE
Mon 11 May 2020 -> Sun 14 June 2020
Mon 25 May 2020 -> Sun 28 June 2020
I know, most restaurants are not open right now, so why give a tip about service? Well, this is a tip about service, but also a tip about surviving life. Smile. Its that simple. Smile when you take or place an order in a restaurant. Smile when you are checking out at the grocery store. Smile when you are asking for directions or clarification on something. Smiling goes a long way to making the whole process, whatever that process is, go easier and quicker and with less conflict than if you are just neutral, or worse a grouch.
Maybe its my age, but I have learned to be happy and friendly when interacting with friends and strangers. Sure, I get annoyed by someone who affronts me in some way or is difficult giving and order - especially if nothing is satisfying to them. But, I have found that if simply put a smile on your face - things will go a lot easier; it deflates a lot of conflicts.
Be careful not to appear condescending or insincere. An honest face and smile will make you have a much better interaction. Guests will appreciate it and you will have a less stressful service period. And if you are a guest placing orders, keeping a friendly nature about you rather than being demanding is going to work much better in the long run. Sure you want your order done properly, but if you are a grouch about it, then things will go wrong. All anyone wants is to get the best plate or drink or other service aspect done to your liking, so help it along with a courteous manner and a smile.
At the moment (April 18, 2020), we continue to adapt to the stay-at-home-and-stay-safe efforts, with schools, events, and most other functions of daily life now of course at a standstill. It places, though, looks as if we ARE MAKING PROGRESS! Great News, but vigilance is still needed. With this in mind a few notes.
First, New England Wine Academy wants to assure its current students that there will be no disruption to online studies. All existing and scheduled class sessions are taking place. Keep studying!
For any current student with an exam date scheduled on March 28 or June 6, or students enrolling in up-coming Spring classes, exams will be (re)scheduled to the weekend of August 1. If things open up and an earlier date can be scheduled then we will certainly put that in place, but with all of the uncertainty at the moment it is impossible to say for sure what we will be doing until the State of CT allows for people to gather and businesses to re-open. The tasting workshops associated with any of these classes will also be rescheduled as needed and consolidated with the Spring class sessions.
WSET is working to expand offerings for online and webcasting, and you will notice that the online class offerings from NEWA have been expanded over the next several months to include more opportunities to take WSET sessions in both wine and spirits. We will also be posting the 2020/2021 session dates in the very near future, so please stay tuned.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to NEWA and we will be happy to discuss. Cheers
One of my tasting associates sent a picture this week of a bottle she was enjoying at home - it was Colpetrone Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG, which is a deep rich, tannic red wine from Umbria; vintage 2011. The remarks came back about how good it was and how it was just settling down with respect to the tannin level and the intensity of the wine. Underlying this though was an elevated level of acidity and ripe fruit - even at 9 years of age. This is what I would expect from this wine, though.
Sagrantino is a grape that is in all likelihood indigenous to Umbria, or at least central Italy. For many years it was used to produce grapes that were dried to produce rich, sweet wines of the recioto style. For the past 25-30 years though, much more attention has been on this great grape for dry wines, mainly due to a few producers elevating it to a style that competes with some of the best Italy has to offer. From Umbria, this grape produces wines with extraordinary tannin AND acid - not a typical combination. The tannins in the grape are so high that few other grapes can match it - think antioxidant powers. Early budding, early flowering, and late harvest all equate to a grape with intense color, aromas and flavors - and long aging potential. All of this makes for beautiful wines that have lasting power, often only beginning to show their best at 10 years or more.
Intrigued, I knew I had a bottle of Colpetrone in the cellar, but mine was of the Montefalco Rosso DOC, 2014 (now known as Rosso di Montefalco).
What is interesting is that Colpetrone put a Diam 3 cork in this bottling. Even with a year of aging in barrels, that still means this wine is four years at the time of drinking, so it seems weird that a 3 year estimated cork life would be used(?) My wine was in perfect shape though and the cork was not an issue.
The Rosso is built around Sangiovese and Merlot, as well as Sagrantino. This seems to be a fair and generous combination, as the wine is balanced with ripe red fruit aromatics that carry to the palate. The tannins are firm-ish - a little tight, but well on the way to be resolved with the other components. Beautiful red fruit dominates all the way through the wine. Acidity provides a great counter to the tannin and fruit making this a wine to have with food. We enjoyed with roasted root veggies in broth over polenta - YUM!
Umbria is a region that is landlocked. In fact, it is the only region of Italy that does not touch the sea in some way. This means that the climate is slightly more continental, with colder winters and hotter, dryer summers. Some think this is why the Sagrantino grape is perfectly suited to the region, as it does best when left to ripen over a very long season, allowing for super thick skin development that results in high tannins and deep color/flavor components.
Being in close proximity to Rome, Umbria has been both a get-away and resource since antiquity. Lakes and rivers in the mountains provide refuge from "city life", while ample rolling hills and valleys provide places for a diverse range of grape and other agriculture produce that was able to get to the Roman market fairly quickly. I visited the region in 2007, and was enchanted by the rolling hills, quite countryside and tranquility of the region, despite being just and hour or two form Rome. Orvieto is a beautiful Etruscan city with just enough rusticity left to make you feel like you are a few years behind the rest of the world.
Umbria is one of the regions of Italy, at least from a wine perspective, that does not always get a lot of worldwide attention, but makes solid wines. There are a number of key, classic regions and styles to be aware of, and the Sagrantino wines are certainly part of that list. Salute!
Monday April 6th is the last day to register for the April 13th start date for Level 3 Wine Award. Those wishing to participate in this hybrid class should click here for full details and to register for the class. The April 13 start date runs through June 14, and as of now will have an expected exam date of August 1.
The Level 3 Award in Wine is a comprehensive class that looks to devote about 90 hours of study time, and involves the review of wines from around the world.
For a complete list of class dates and description of class details, please click the link to the CLASSES page. For any questions related to this or other offerings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lioco Winery Carignan Sativa, 2016, Mendocino
Who, what, where, and why does it matter?
Lioco is a winery founded about 15 years ago and now owned by Matt and Sara Licklider. The focus on the winery is to produce wines in a style that is more about nuance, finesse and flavor, rather than power and alcohol. Sourcing fruit from cooler, coastal regions in Santa Cruz, Sonoma and Mendocino, they are able to craft wines that are more in the pleasure than pain spectrum. This Carignan is a prime example of that.
Sourced from a vineyard planted just after WWII, and at elevation of about 2400+ feet, Carignan is not one of those grapes that immediately comes to mind when thinking California wine. Carignan is a grape that is most often seen in blends coming from northern and western Spain and southern France. A compliment to grapes like Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, it is often a powerful wine with deep color and flavor. Grown on a higher site (think cooler climate), such as the Pine Meadow AVA vineyard owned by Jim McCutchen, the fruit becomes elegant and berry focused, developing deep intensity, but not high sugars. The back label on the Lioco Carignan boasts tons of information, including the 22.6* Brix, which correlates to the 13.2% alcohol in the wine. Be careful, this wine is a pounder for sure.
Beautiful black raspberry fruit develop on the palate, with supple tannins, giving and immensely drinkable wine. Easy to have this wine with a steak or pizza, it will stack up to more sophisticated dishes as well due to the length of fruit and juicy acidity.
Found at retail for $28 (you may need two bottles)
Check out the winery website here
I was conducting a staff training with a group of servers, and I asked them to join in a roll-playing exercise where a manger pretended to be a guest who was looking for help in making a choice of which wine to order.
The "guest" asked the server to make a recommendation on wine pairing for the dish he was panning to order - he wanted something "classic" to have with his selection, and he had the wine list open in front of him. The server thought for a second, leaned over the guest, ran her finger down the page of the wine list and stopped at a certain wine. She then declared that "she-anty" would be a great choice to have with his meal.
What is the problem here? Well. to begin with, this was a server that had worked at that restaurant for nearly 10 years, and over the course of those 10 years, she had not learned the wine list. Had not learned the format of the list, the pricing schemes, and more importantly the selections on the list. There was also a lack of knowledge when it came to wine basics - in this case how to say Chianti, correctly - but also of main grapes, regions, and food and wine basics.
Some of this is of course on the restaurant and their lack of focus on training efforts, but the server had also never really taken any time to learn what was on the menu; there had been a lack of commitment on her part to be fully invested in the job. This had probably worked for her and because regular guests often simply order their regular food and drinks, and she didn't have to do much other than take orders, for the most part.
This only gets you so far, though, and when pressed she had no idea how to make a suggestion that made sense. The guest can read the list can probably read the list as well as she can - and certainly doesn't need a server leaning over them to read the list. And the fact that she could not pronounce a wine's name from the list shows her lack of professionalism.
Here are a few quick Survival Tips to Service for understanding and mastering the wine list in your location:
This may seem like a lot, and there are certainly some service personnel that will not get this involved, but in my experience the best service staff take the time to learn the menus and understand what their restaurant has to offer. Knowing the full spectrum of options to guide a guest decision will go a long way to enhancing your ability to bring a top-level guest experience, which will translate to better gratuities.
ABOUT THE Author
Brian Mitchell runs The New England Wine Academy, and is responsible for the content of this blog. With over 25 years of drinks industry experience, Brian has learned a few things, but everyday he is learning more. This blog helps to bring that knowledge to you.