The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2014

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Page 60 of 128

60 / the tasting panel / march 2014 EDUCATION F or those aspiring to make their mark in the wine and spirits industry, the Napa Valley Wine Academy (NVWA), a new school situated in the heart of America's premier and historic wine-growing region, Napa Valley, offers a fresh new face in wine education. "The tools that students need to succeed naturally sur- round us in Napa Valley," says Chris Oggenfuss, co-founder and Chief Educational Officer and current Marketing Director for three luxury wineries in Napa. "It is not enough to just hear a presentation and smell and taste wines. We want them to see and touch the very things they are learning about." The NVWA was co-founded in 2011 by Oggenfuss, a second year Master of Wine student with the Institute of Masters of Wine in London who holds the Level 4 Diploma in Wine and Spirits, and possesses 20 years of marketing and brand-building experience for premium wine labels. Partner and lead instructor Catherine Seda Bugue, DWS, holds the Level 4 Diploma in Wine and Spirits from the WSET, and is an accomplished journalist and international wine accounts manager at Balzac Communications in Napa. Together, they boast an all-star team who promote a wine education where "learning is different," says Seda Bugue. "Because we are situated in the heart of wine country, we offer students the chance to truly immerse them- selves in the very subject matter that they are there to master." Current certification classes offered are: the internationally recognized Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) certifications, Levels 1–3 (Advanced) and the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) through the Society of Wine Educators. And the roster is growing, with new certifications coming in 2014, in addition to the academy's proprietary specialized learning classes, such as Sparkling Wines around the World and a short course for Napa Valley visitors called Prelude to a Sip, among others. Examination and Tasting Preparation Classes are also offered. Can't come to Napa? Certain certification courses are also offered online—a first for wine education. A brand new certification course will also soon be offered, "focused on the United States—one that will mark a defining moment for education in American viticulture," says Oggenfuss, showing palpable excitement and explaining that the course is still in develop- ment, slated for launch this fall. Additionally, the academy plans expansion into two more markets—one East Coast and one West Coast—where classes will be offered. Wine education tours to Europe will also start at the end of 2014. For those working in the hospitality industry, scholarships are available via the academy's work with CANVAS (Concierge Alliance of Napa Valley and Sonoma) and other Napa and Sonoma community organizations. For more information, visit napavalley- PHOTO: TIM KENNEDY NAPA VALLEY WINE ACADEMY BOASTS AN ALL-STAR STAFF AND ONLINE COURSES–A FIRST FOR WINE EDUCATION by Jonathan Cristaldi Catherine Seda Bugue (left, front of crowd) teaches students in the kind of "classroom" environment offered by the Napa Valley Wine Academy. Where Learning Is Different

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