Consider the scenario. You’re at a restaurant, the wine list is thrust into your hand, your client, who is French, politely suggests that you choose, and you don’t know how to pronounce a single one of the listed vineyards, let alone hold forth about what they’re like. Sound familiar?
More professionals are now interested in wine as a result of a wider awareness in the media, better educated sales staff and films such as Sideways, but “wine choice angst” persists. So why not take a course?
“Our clients generally want more confidence in dealing with their own clients when they’re entertaining,” says Sandy Leckie, a director of the Wine Education Service, a London-based wine course which ministers to some 2,000 students a year, many of them corporates. “There’s still huge angst — mostly because of the relative obscurity of European wine labels, in particular French ones, which still inspire a lot of awe.”
For £195 in London (£185 elsewhere), you get an eight-week introductory course covering all the major wine-producing regions, as well as techniques for tasting, cellaring and storing. Subsequent courses allow you to cover a preferred region in more depth, and there are also one-day courses for the time-pressed (£110), as well as one-off tastings (from £30, depending on the wine).