There is no better place to study French wines than the French Wine Society. This is a partially self-serving statement as San Francisco Wine School is the exclusive provider of their programs in the San Francisco area.However, they offer online study programs and immersion trips that do not involve us. They offer so many options that it can be a bit overwhelming what to choose. San Francisco Wine School’s primary work with them is the French Wine Scholar (FWS) credential program. If you take the courses with us, you will get 2.5 hour classes one night a week for nine weeks with an exam on the tenth week. This is supplemented by the FWS printed study guide, online learning modules and quizzes and webcasts. All of the materials are produced by the French Wine Society with support from the various grower/producer councils of France. We present 8-10 wines weekly to help tell the story of the regions. There is also an option to take the course purely online directly with the society. You can buy the book separately or register for the online or in-person exam with your own method of preparation. The FWS program launched in 2005 and as of June 2012 there were 304 people worldwide to earn the FWS credential. San Francisco Wine School trained roughly 10% of them in the last year.
They also offer membership to their society which provides access to their online continuing education programs. This can be done with or without taking the FWS credential program. There are webcasts and live webinars with a host of wine experts from all over the world. A good way to gauge the quality of their material is to take advantage of their current one month free trial.
Before, after or instead of taking the FWS certification program, you can take a Master Program on one of the regions. Bordeaux Master and Rhone Master were offered as a series of 20 webinars followed by an exam and I was one of the many guest presenters. Burgundy and Sud de France have had the lead instructor present in-person at the Capital Wine School in Washington, DC and at San Francisco Wine School. Space is still available for the Sud de France Master in San Francisco.
The most recent addition to the French Wine Society’s offerings is Wine Immersion Trips to France. Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon itineraries are scheduled. Master of Wine Matthew Stubbs will be leading the Languedoc-Roussillon tour and sommelier Kelly McAuliffe will be leading the Rhone tour. Details and registration are available online.
Learn French wine from a French perspective in amazing detail with numerous options for in-class, online or overseas study with top wine professionals.
What did past students of FWS like best? If you have not studied with FWS or San Francisco Wine School, what questions do you have about any of the programs?