Wine tasting is a critical element of our Certified Specialist of Wine program. Program participation includes tasting, or having access to, up to 18 wines from around the world. Students are required to report on two wines per week. Because online students are located in different geographic locations, it is not reasonable to assume students will have access to the same wines. Therefore, and in order to maximize your learning experience, here are some guidelines for selecting wines, which may be done weekly or all at once, even in advance of the program commencement.
Purchases by the glass or half bottle are recommended when available. Tasting groups are encouraged so students can pool resources to taste the same number of wines for less money. Wines may vary dependent upon selection, location, and availability. A great resource to find wines through retail worldwide is www.wine-searcher.com. Using the parameters below for each week you can type in search terms for styles with some retailers and you can certainly ask your your local retailer or restaurant server for help in making your selections. Full bottle purchases could cost up to $450 in total. This total is based on an assumed average of $25 per bottle. You may be able to find some wines at closer to $10 a bottle but some regions covered will average more.
During each weeklong course, you will be asked to taste and report on 2 different wines corresponding to the topics or regions covered that week.
CSW 01 – Tasting, Chemistry & Flaws
The primary focus of this week is wine structure (acid, tannin, sugar, alcohol & body).
Ideal Tasting Selections: 1 unoaked Sauvignon Blanc from anywhere in the world with 13.5% alcohol or less to compare with 1 barrel fermented &/or barrel aged Chardonnay from anywhere in the world with 14% alcohol or more
Other Options: 1 Pinot Noir compared to 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 low alcohol wine like Vinho Verde or German Kabinett Riesling compared to 1 California Zinfandel or Australian Shiraz of at least 14.5% alcohol
CSW 02 – Viticulture & Enology
The primary focus of this week is the influence of various winemaking techniques.
Tasting Selections: 1 bulk fermentation sparkling wine like Prosecco compared to 1 methode traditionelle sparkling like Champagne or 1 Cötes du Rhone rosé compared to 1 Cötes du Rhone rouge with similar blend of grapes
Other Options: 1 blanc des noirs sparkling wine compared to 1 rosé sparkling wine
CSW 03 – Wines of Northern France
The primary focus of this week is the grapes and regions of northern France.
Tasting Selections: Choose any two of the following: Muscadet, Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, Chablis, Vouvray demi-sec, Alsace Riesling, Chinon or Bourgeoil, village level red Burgundy (any level)
CSW 04 – Wines of Southern France
The primary focus of this week is the grapes and regions of southern France.
Tasting Selections: Choose any two of the following: village level or premier cru vineyard white Burgundy from the Cote d’Or, Condrieu, Tavel or a Cotes de Provence rosé, any Cru Beaujolais, IGP Languedoc, Chateauneuf-du Pape or Gigondas, Cahors, any red left bank Bordeaux, any red right bank Bordeaux, any VDN (Vin Doux Naturels)
CSW 05 – Wines of Italy
The primary focus of this week is the grapes and regions of Italy.
Tasting Selections: Choose any two of the following: Gavi, Soave, Barolo or Barbaresco or Nebbiolo d’Alba, Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, IGP Toscano Sangiovese/Cabernet blend, Taurasi or other Aglianico red, Amarone
CSW 06 – Wines of Spain, Portugal & Greece
The primary focus of this week is the grapes and regions of Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Tasting Selections: Choose any two of the following: Assyrtiko from Santorini, Rioja, Priorat, Ribera del Duero, Douro, any Greek Xynomavro, any Greek Agiortiko, Madeira (Sercial, Verdelho, Bual or Malmsey) Port (Tawny or LBV)
CSW 07 – Wines of Germany & Eastern Europe
The primary focus of this week is the grapes and regions of Germany, Austria or Hungary.
Tasting Selections: Choose any two of the following: Sekt, any German Prädikatswein Riesling (Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, BA, Eiswein or TBA), Franken Sylvaner, any German Spätburgunder, Austrian Riesling, Austrian Gruner Veltliner, Austrian BA or sweeter from any grape, Tokaji Aszu
CSW 08 – Wines of North America
The primary focus of this week is the grapes and regions of California, Oregon, Washington, New York and Canada.
Tasting Selections: Choose any two of the following: Sonoma Coast or Russian River or Carneros Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast or Russian River or Carneros Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Napa Valley or Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek or Rock Pile Zinfandel, Washington State Syrah or Merlot or Bordeaux style blend, Niagara or Okanagan Ice Wine
CSW 09 – Wines of the Southern Hemisphere
The primary focus of this week is the grapes and regions of Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Tasting Selections: Choose any two of the following: Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca, Chilean Cabernet from Maipo, Argentinian Torrontes from Salta, Argentinian Malbec from Mendoza, Australian Semillon from Hunter Valley, Australian Shiraz from Barossa, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand Pinot Noir from Otago, South African Chenin Blanc or South African Cabernet