MASTER THE WINES OF SPAIN: An in depth program designed by the Wine Scholar Guild and endorsed by Wines from Spain
The Spanish Wine Scholar™ education program was created by Wine Scholar Guild's Spanish wine specialist, Rick Fisher, and designed to provide the most advanced and comprehensive specialization study program on Spanish wine bar none!
Launched in Fall of 2019, this Spanish Wine Scholar™ course mirrors the unparalleled level of depth, accuracy, detail and academic challenge offered by the acclaimed French Wine Scholar™ and Italian Wine Scholar™ programs.
Recognizing its exceptional depth and breadth, Wines from Spain (ICEX - Spain's Trade & Investment Government Agency) has proudly endorsed this important program.
Set yourself apart from your peers. Specialize in the wines of Spain!
Beginner Students should consider taking Intro to Spanish Wines or Wines of Spain, Portugal and Greece before attempting the more rigorous Spanish Wine Scholar program.
2022 Session Dates & Times
July 11 to Sep 12
No classes July 25 and Sep 5
Hybrid - Room/Zoom - NEW!
We've recently invested in some serious AV technology upgrades to create an integrated Hybrid Room/Zoom experience for all students. Both "Roomers" and "Zoomers" are able to engage with us and each other during these live classes. Recordings are also available after the class. Whether you are excited to return to our beautiful venue in person with wine in your glass or are enjoying the convenience of home learning with a tasting kit, you can choose the experience that's right for YOU! Learn more...
Guided Blind Tasting Exercises
Students will taste over 55 Spanish wines throughout the week to bring learning objectives to life and practice blind tasting techniques. All wines are selected by Master Sommelier David Glancy and our instructors to represent a broad sampling of the classic wines of Spain.
Spanish Wine Scholar consists of 10 Chapters covering the following topics. The first class within the full program is available as an a la carté workshop. This is a great way to preview the program. If you decided to continue, your workshop fee will be credited towards the full program tuition. Click on the link to learn more about that workshop and sign up!
The Spanish Wine Scholar™ program presents each Spanish wine region as an integrated whole by explaining the impact of history, the significance of geological events, the importance of topographical markers and the influence of climatic factors on the wine in the glass. No topic is discussed in isolation in order to give students a working knowledge of the material at hand.
In order for Spanish Wine Scholar candidates to study the wine regions of Spain from a position of strength, Chapter One covers Spanish wine history, wine laws, geography, climate, grape varieties, viticulture and winemaking in depth. It merits reading, even by advanced students of wine, as much has changed, especially with regard to wine law and the new research on grape vine origins.
Rioja’s wine culture represents a composite of tradition and modernity. Rioja was one of Spain’s first demarcated wine regions yet it continues to reinvent itself. It has set itself apart as one of the world’s greatest wine-producing areas and has maintained that allure for centuries. It is largely responsible for the growth of Spain’s wine reputation around the wine world; it is also the country’s most recognizable wine region by consumers around the globe. Find out why!
Workshop 2: Chapter Three - The Duero River Valley
The region of Castilla y León occupies one-fifth of mainland Spain and is home to some of the country’s top wine growing areas such as Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Toro. This is a high-elevation, high-quality production area that experiences extreme seasonal temperature variations. In fact, an old Castilian saying states that the year is comprised of nine months of winter and three months of hell. Yet Tempranillo thrives within this hostile climate—and it produces some of Spain’s most esteemed reds.
Workshop 3: Chapter Two Green Spain
Spain is normally associated with the production of red wine, but the four regions comprising Green Spain—Galicia, Cantabria, Asturias, and País Vasco—craft some of Spain’s most interesting and unique whites. Local grapes such as Albariño, Godello, Treixadura, and Hondarribi Zuri stand in the spotlight, with the exciting red variety, Mencía, moving ever closer to center stage. This dynamic region redefines the preconceptions of what Spain has to offer the global wine market.
Workshop 3: Chapter Five - The Ebro River Valley
The Ebro River Valley is the birthplace of Garnacha. Wine growing areas such as Navarra, Cariñena, Campo de Borja, and Calatayud are garnering international fame for what is done with this grape. The pure versatility of Garnacha has everyone talking. From rosés to old vine reds, from single varietal to blend, Garnacha has elevated itself from workhorse to thoroughbred. And the world is watching. The Ebro River Valley has also distinguished itself for its many Vinos de Pagos or single vineyard wines. This area is a hotspot for both tradition and trends.
Workshop 4: Chapter Six - Cataluña
Cataluña is home to cava, Spain’s traditional method sparkling wine. Utilizing local Macabeo, Xarel.lo, and Parellada grapes, Cataluña has put a very Spanish accent on this classic winemaking process. Did you know that the prototype of the gyropalette was developed here! The cooperative concept was also given a brand-new image here! Dubbed “wine cathedrals” many are stunning examples of modernist architecture. In Cataluña, wine has always been elevated to art.
Workshop 5: Chapter Seven - The Central Mediterranean Coast
The Central Mediterranean Coast, occupying nearly half of Spain’s Mediterranean coast, is not only home to Spain’s national dish, paella, but to two underrated, local grapes quietly taking the world by storm—Monastrell and Bobal. Monastrell has been globe-trotting under the radar for a long time. Fondillón, a dessert wine crafted from this grape, is believed to have been the first wine to join Magellan as he circumnavigated the globe! Explore the legacy that is the Central Mediterranean Coast.
Workshop 5: Chapter Eight - The Meseta
Castilla-La Mancha is the largest wine-producing region in the world! There are approximately 1,100,000 acres/450,000 hectares under vine which represents nearly one-half of Spain’s total vineyard area! Once known for bulk wine, this area is now home to more than half of Spain’s Vinos de Pago or single estate bottlings. These wines are creative and fresh expressions of an ancient land; they represent a vinous frontier that lies right beneath the feet.
Workshop 6: Chapter Nine - Andalucía
The dazzlingly white limestone-rich soils of Andalucía have been given voice by the Palomino grape. The combination of sea and heat and sun have taken wine and elevated it into something that reflects the passage of time—in barrel under a film of surface yeast or in barrels via a complex fractionalized blending process known as the “solera.” These fortified wines bear the salty tang of their birthplace, the heat of their climate and the soul of a winemaking process that honors wine with a hauntingly beautiful patina of age. Discover sherry!
Workshop 6: Chapter Ten - The Balaeric and Canary Islands
The vines compete with the tourists as the consummate sun-worshipers of the Balearic and Canary Islands. Sunburn and wind burn are serious problems for human and grapevine alike! The islanders have developed some unique viticultural practices to block the westerlies, collect rainfall and trellis the vine. And the grapes they grow—Prensal, Listan Blanco, Callet, Manto Negro, and Listan Negro—are equally singular. Just as the islands themselves represent but a small fraction of the landmass below the waves, wine production is distinguished not by its volume but by its sizable sweep of character.
Workshop 7: Review Session & Vinos de Pago
This review session covers the six prior workshops and the entire Spanish Wine Scholar Study Guide. As we travel through the book and classes geographically from region to region, we'll also revisit 19 Vinos de Pago spread between the regions of Castilla-La Mancha, Navarra, Aragon, and Valencia. We'll make sure to taste a small sampling of these beautiful wines as we gear up for the SWS exam.
About the Certification Exam
The Spanish Wine Scholar exam is one hour long and consists of a 100 multiple choice questions. The exam must be taken in person at San Francisco Wine School.
The Spanish Wine Scholar title and SWS post-nominal will be conferred to those individuals who achieve a score of 75 or higher. Candidates scoring 85-90 pass with “Honors”. Candidates scoring 91-100 pass with “Highest Honors”.
This SWS certification provides a validation of your Spanish wine expertise and enhances your resume; it also serves as a point of distinction within the wine trade.
The curriculum and teaching materials for the Spanish Wine Scholar Program are the same regardless of whether you study in California or Calgary. Our curated tasting exercises and industry leading instructors will make the difference in your learning experience.
*Installment plans available. Group rates available for parties of 5 or more. Contact email@example.com for more information
- SWS In-Person Exam Fees
- The official 315 page, full-color Spanish Wine Scholar study manual
- 1-year access to the Spanish Wine Scholar online study program for class preparation and review
- 21 Hours of in-class education
- Tastings of over 40 Spanish wines
- San Francisco Wine School Water Bottle
- SWS pin and certificate upon successful completion of the complete program
Requirements & Recommendations
All attendees must be 21+ years. This program is designed for intermediate and advanced students. Those who want to strengthen their foundational knowledge of Spanish wine before attempting this certification are encouraged to take one of our beginner level programs and / or Intro to Spanish Wines