The SOMM Journal

October / November 2015

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34 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015 { education } Vini, Vedi, Vinci INSIDE THE ITALIAN WINE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION by Andrew Chalk Vineyards in Italy's Marche region, home of Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio. ANY SOMMELIER, BEVERAGE MANAGER OR CHANNEL SALES PRO- fessional seeking an intensive course in Italian wine can now take the Italian Wine Professional (IWP) certification developed by an organization called Vindeavor. The program covers what a wine professional would expect in such a course: grapes, locations and wine styles. The course covers each of Italy's 20 regions in turn, describing the geography and soil in which designations of origin (DOCG, DOC and IGP) exist, the grapes that are most important and, in the case of high technique wines (examples being sparkling wine, appassimento wines and dessert wines) what those techniques involve. The certification is the brainchild of Jack and Geralyn Brostrom. By way of background, he wrote the Society of Wine Educators 2009 Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide and co-edited, with Geralyn, The Business of Wine: An Encyclopedia. She is the former Vice President of Wine Education for Winebow and Director of Education for the Society of Wine Educators. She currently teaches wine branding in the MBA program at Sonoma State University. The certification can be studied three ways: Classroom Study Format: Nine classroom sessions followed by the exam. Online Study Format: Eight self-paced online lessons with downloadable exercises. Tastings are handled via tasting webinars and self-testing using a master wine list and submitted test scores. Intensive Study Format: Under this format, the student takes eight online lessons and then attends the intensive three-day class and takes the exam at the end. I took the intensive format, choosing the Napa Valley Wine Academy in the town of Napa, California for my classroom component. The exam is a 60-minute, 100-question paper. A score of 80% is required to pass and 90% gives you honors. Also required is a seven minute presentation to the class on an assigned subject. I was assigned Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva DOCG, an area about which my prior knowledge would comfortably have fit on a postage stamp. The presentation gets you up to three points on your exam. I really enjoyed doing the project. The eight online courses are estimated to take 30 to 60 minutes each. On site the other students were almost all industry professionals. The lectures by Geralyn Brostrom and Christian Oggenfuss (NVWA Chief Education Officer) integrated the material with the wines we tasted (over 50 during the three days of the course). The IWP course represents the future of wine certification: short, focused courses delivered via the Internet with classroom time used when it is irre- placeable (e.g., mentored tasting). I knew that I wanted to learn a lot more about Italian wine and the IWP turned out to be the jolt I needed. PHOTO: CLODIO VIA THINKSTOCK

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