By Paige Norman (Party Designer)
Great wine is always enhanced by great food and here at deWintons by The AC we provide both of those elements for every event we work at. I have always been interested in food and wine which is one of the many things that attracted me to this line of work
As much as I love food and wine, I had never spent much time learning about them in depth. With the recent addition of our fabulous new Director, Ruth Lawton-Owen with her endless knowledge on the subject, I was inspired to learn as much as I could so I decided to enrol onto a wine tasting course organised by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 1 Award, in which I not only learn about and taste the wines, I also get the Level 1 qualification should I pass the exam.
We started the course learning about the different wine types, from light wines to sparkling wines to fortified wines and about the process of making each of them. This was probably one of my favourite topics. A great part of the course was learning how to distinguish the tastes in a wine, such as the sweetness and body of wines. These terms were all things that I had heard people talk about when trying wines and by the end it was a great feeling to really understand what everything meant. We even did a grape test so that we could taste the difference between tannins (which you find on the skins of grapes) and acidity (which comes from the actual grape juice). We also learnt about the grape varieties, such a white grapes like chardonnay (my personal favourite), Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling and then red grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. By the end of the course I was able to identify the different grapes and the qualities they bring to the wine which was a real accomplishment.
An element of the course which I was eager to understand was the effect of wines on different foods and how these should be paired. I knew this would be something that would really help me in my day to day work. As an example, I learnt that when a dish is sweet, a wine will taste dryer and more bitter so it needs to be paired with a wine that has a higher level of sweetness.
After spending the day trying to absorb a lot of new knowledge, I was a given an hour to go over everything I had learnt… which was a lot. I put my revision brain back on and got to work memorising and re-tasting all of the wines. I was sure to use the spittoon, as it would have not been helpful to be tipsy during the exam.
The exam was reasonably difficult with a mixture of multiple choice questions that seemed obvious and some that seemed impossible. I need a score of 21 out of 30 in order to pass and I find out my results this week, so keep your fingers crossed for me!
If you love your wines and would love the chance to show off your wine knowledge to all of your friends, then I would definitely recommend this!
If you would like to enrol, you can visit http://www.wsetglobal.com/ to know more.