In the mid-2010s, I took a few wine courses through George Brown College in the evenings. It was a fun experience, mainly because the course fee included the wines. However, dedicating an entire evening or a big part of a weekend day to learning about wine can be difficult. Fortunately, there are fantastic online wine courses like “Become A Great Wine Taster.”
Why Online Wine Courses Are Worth It
As you go through your wine journey, you may start with books like The Billionaire’s Vinegar. That book offers a fascinating window into the world of wine collecting and tasting. There’s just one drawback – most of us are not millionaires with unlimited budgets to spend on wine. Fortunately, there is a great choice –
Inside The “Become A Great Wine Taster” Course
In 7 hours and 54 minutes, you will cover a lot of wine ground. Richard Betts, the author of “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert.” offers a highly accessible introduction to the world of wine.
The “Become A Great Wine Taster” course is structured as 21 video lessons.
- Intro to Becoming a Great Wine Taster
- Mapping Your Desires
- Tasting Wine: Context & Method
- Exploring Varietals: Whites with Oak
- Tasting: Comparing Whites with Oak
- Exploring Varietals: Whites without Oak
- Tasting: Comparing Whites without Oak
- How Wine is Grown & Made
- How Wine is Shipped & Sold
- Wine Q&A
- Caring for Wine
- How to Open a Bottle of Wine & Champagne
- How to Serve Wine Properly
- How to Pair Wine
- Exploring Varietals: Tasting Reds with Lighter Skin
- Tasting Method: Smelling The Light Skin Reds
- Tasting Method: Lighter Skin Reds Conclusion
- Exploring Varietals: Tasting Reds with Darker Skin
- Tasting Method: Darker Skin Reds Conclusion
- How To Shop for Wine
- Blind Tasting – Testing Your Skills
The course emphasizes demonstrations and interaction with the live audience. If you find lectures boring, this course may be a good fit for you.
What The Course Did Well
- Wine Beginner Friendly. The course is aimed directly at wine beginners. If you enjoy wine and have never taken a course, this course is a good choice. In particular, Richard Betts has a positive and engaging style for wine beginners just getting started. That said, wine experts looking for advanced tips would probably not find this course as beneficial.
- Tasting Process. Betts guides you through the wine tasting process step by step, including evaluating a wine’s appearance, aroma, and taste. For example, the course starts with evaluating the wine appearance, then aroma and taste last. You can quickly make an educated taste about the grape variety and where it was produced through this method.
- Course Production Quality. Creative Live is known for its high-quality video courses, and this course did not disappoint. The course is filmed live with a small group of students. The audio and video quality of the course is top-notch. You can almost imagine yourself in the Creative Live building tasting alongside the small group of students.
- Variety of Wines Covered. The course covers multiple types of wines – around a dozen different types. If you have already taken the short 1-hour video course Getting Started with Wine: Buy Smarter, Taste More by Gary Vaynerchuk and you are looking for greater depth, “Become A Great Wien Taster” is a good choice.
- Affordable. When I took wine courses at George Brown College, each course cost over $300. “Become A Great Wine Taster” is typically priced at $49. However, Creative Live sometimes offers sales. At the time of this writing, the course was on sale for $14. At this price, the course costs less than many wine books.
- Supplemental Materials. When you sign up for “Become A Great Wine Taster,” you get access to four PDF resources. This is great because it means you don’t have to take notes during class frantically.
Where The Course Could Be Better
- Length. “Become A Great Wine Taster” is a fairly long video course at just under eight hours. The good news is that the course is entirely self-paced. All of the individual lessons are under an hour long. You can efficiently finish the course over a few weekends or faster if you like.
- Non-Interactive. If you are looking for 1-on-1 interaction with a wine expert, this course will not provide it. If you are looking for an interactive wine course, I recommend a different wine course: the Wine Smart Course by Natalie MacLean.
- Some Dated Information. The online wine course was released in 2014. Therefore, it misses some of the latest developments in the wine world. For example, wine prices described in the course might be available today. Most of the principles and techniques covered in the course remain relevant in 2021 and beyond, though.
Who Should Get The “Become A Great Wine Taster” Course?
The Creative Live course is an excellent choice for casual wine drinkers interested in learning more. You will learn a wine tasting and evaluation process that you can use over and over again. The course does not require any specific background knowledge. You need to be interested in learning more about wine.
Some people should not get this course. This course is not aimed at people in the wine industry. If you saw the movie “SOMM” and want to start a career in the wine industry, this course is not a good fit. Instead, you will need to look at different training resources such as those offered by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. There is one exception to keep in mind. If you are in the wine industry in a customer-facing role (e.g., sales or running a tasting room), this course could be a great choice. It might help you better relate to the questions and concerns of casual wine drinkers.