Where to Study Wine

Wine School of Philadelphia

Where: Philadelphia, USA

The Wine School of Philadelphia was founded by Executive Director Keith Wallace in 2001, with a stated goal of “bringing winemaker-grade education to the public.” Today, the Wine School of Philadelphia is one of the most influential public wine schools in the United States, where it has inspired the creation of similar schools across the country. More than just a school, the Wine School of Philadelphia is a regional institution, with an important impact in the food and beverage industry. Graduates of the school have gone on to become winemakers, sommeliers, distributors, importers, and traveled the world to taste the best wines everywhere. The school offers courses on spirits, beers, and cocktails as well, and has particular focus on teaching the tricks of the wine making industry to keep students aware of the kinds of dealings that can sometimes go on in the food and beverage industry.

The Wine School of Philadelphia offers a wide range of courses including classes that last just a few hours, summer courses, and semester courses. Their semester long programs are the highest rated in the United States with a 96-point rating from SOMM. Courses start with the Foundation Wine Course, then go on to the Intermediate Wine Course, followed by the Advanced Somm course and finally the Master Somm course. The School also does training for restaurants all over the world.

Wine School Florence

Where: Florence, Italy

The Wine School Florence is a new addition to the wine education scene in Tuscany. Opened just this year, the school offers wine courses coupled with food/cuisine courses to learn about the finest Italian products. The Wine School Florence is a perfect addition to any formal wine training in order to achieve a deep understanding of the world of Italian wines in particular. Courses range from a few hours to longer, depending on the student’s desired level of participation and understanding. Angela Saltafuori, the school’s owner and director, has been working in the food and wine industry in Tuscany for many years. She is very well known in the Tuscan culinary world and gives her students access to hidden places throughout Tuscany that would otherwise be overlooked.

The school’s courses take place either in the beautiful school itself, located on Via Santo Spirito in the heart of Florence’s Oltrarno neighborhood, or out in the Tuscan countryside. The real value of taking a course here is the immersion in the entire winemaking experience from start to finish. You will get to meet producers in the field and visit their authentic Tuscan wineries to truly understand the labor and love that goes into making an excellent wine. Of note is the fact that Angela is also very knowledgeable about organic and biodynamic wines, trending now in Tuscany. You will get a comprehensive wine education experience that will greatly enhance your knowledge.

International Wine Center

Where: New York City, USA

The International Wine Center (IWC) opened in New York City in 1982, and in 1994 became the first organization in the United States to offer the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), one of the most prestigious and well-known wine and spirit certifications. The WSET diploma is the highest wine expert qualification available, and is offered in 73 countries, 17 languages, and engages over 85,000 students per year. The IWC has had graduates go on to become Masters of Wine after completing the WSET there. The President of the IWC is Mary Ewing-Mulligan, the first female Master of Wine in the United States. She is the author of Wine Style and the Wine for Dummies book series, and her accomplishments have been featured in publications such as Food & Wine Magazine, The New York Times, and The Wine Spectator, among others.

Courses at IWC follow a progression, beginning with an introductory course, intermediate course, and an advanced course, which cover the entire world of wine including viticulture, vinification, appellation labeling laws, as well as wine tasting technique. In addition to wine courses, courses in spirits are also offered. The School is located conveniently in downtown Manhattan, and online courses are offered as well.