Posts Tagged ‘WSET’

Wine expert – what are the qualifications??

Friday, March 7th, 2008

I attended a wine event this evening. It was a charitable event featuring Israeli wines – my passion as those of you who have been reading for a while know. I know one of the organizers and asked if he wanted my assistance. He was happy to have me & informed me that he planned the event with some other people who are connected to Israeli wines. I knew whom he was speaking of reached out to said people. I simply volunteered to step in, should a question arise, that my hands-on Israeli winery expertise qualified me to handle, possibly something the others were not prepared to respond to.

While my offer was originally politely declined, I felt it my duty both as WINE TASTING GUY and as ISRAELI WINE GUY to attend. And I was happy that i did. My enthusiasm for Israeli wines seemed to possess a magnetism of sorts. I spoke with many people throughout the evening about topics ranging from Israeli wines in general, to more specific Israeli boutique wineries, as well as the idea that wine from Israel is (and should be) Israeli wine and not kosher wine – as is often the misconception. I was proud to have felt like I made a difference in helping to educate people. And the feedback I received was tremendous.

I hope you will all excuse me for a quick yet important diversion. This is not a political BLOG, and as such I do not want to get into current events. That said a travesty took place in Israel today when 2 terrorists infiltrated a Jerusalem Yeshiva (school for Judaic studies) and opened fire – killing 8 and injuring scores of others. I am not sure what to say other than that my prayers and thoughts are with the families of those who lost loved ones or who have loved ones presently fighting for their lives.

It is very hard to write about something like wine (and to maintain focus on something such as wine) at a time like this. But they say that the way to fight terrorism is NOT to let it affect &/or change ones normal routine. As such I will get back to the topic at hand.

Moving on from the more difficult subject of terrorism, let me get back to something I feel much more comfortable discussing. WINE…

OK, so tonight’s topic is “wine expertise”. I bring this topic up as at tonight’s wine event I was given a name tag that labeled me as an “Israeli Wine Expert”. And I was astutely asked by several people what qualifications I posses to be labeled an “Israeli Wine Expert”. Forgetting about me for one second, what i would like to discuss is – what qualifies someone as an aficionado to discuss &/or educate others about wine (or anything for that matter). Is it drinking a lot of it? Is it the desire to be an “expert”. Is it schooling? Maybe it is “street smarts” or as the case may be “winery smarts” – knowledge obtained through hands on experience???

I do not know. I am merely an aspiring connoisseur. I can only speak for myself. And for me, short of attending one of the world renowned schools of oenology & viticulture, I received a degree from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, a certification in Wine Sensory Analysis from the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, but MOST IMPORTANTLY (in my very humble opinion) – I rolled up my sleeves and worked 10, 12 & 14 hour days in vineyards and wineries both in Napa Valley & Israel. While I will readily admit that I am far from an “expert” I do feel that my passion and hard work has positioned me to address many of the questions that those who seek to learn more are interested in.

I wish you all happy wine tasting, drinking, learning & most importantly Peace & health!

Sadly soberly yours-WTG.