The EWA is an International Wine School which offers wine education across the world, and it can do so because EWA uses mostly e-learning (distance education) (we believe that we were the first non-university educational institution to offer wine education via e-learning in 2004/5!). It is only its name which refers back to its European wine ancestry: the oenological, viticultural, wine traditions and culture of Europe.
EWA quickly developed into an International Wine School, drawing its students internationally and offering wine courses in English (and now also in French) to amateurs and would-be wine professionals alike. The wine market has become completely international, with an increase in demand for wine knowledge – it is evident that wine education had to follow, with the result that EWA started offering its wine courses globally from about 2004. It is now expanding by opening local campuses in France and Finland (In London we will soon again be offering our courses, and we continue investigating the possibilities in China and India).
Our wine teaching philosophy and goal
The goal of the Academy is essentially the promotion of the study of the grape, wine and spirits via higher, vocational and professional education - it is aimed not only at winemaking or viticulture but also at the oenological, retail, wholesale, export, sommelier, marketing & business management and hospitality side of the wine and spirits industry.
We want our students to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of the grape, its viticulture and vinification, wine and spirits in all its guises, as well as the tasting and serving of wine; and all of this at a fairly high academic standard. It is our firm conviction that if we provide a course of an unacceptably low academic and professional standard we would only be producing inferior and badly-prepared students, just the opposite of what we want: to provide an international education and training which will empower students and even provide them with excellent career possibilities.
Perhaps it may not seem important at first, but we are rather proud of our commercial independence and objectivity - this is so because we are not sponsored by any beverage corporation, wine company, food conglomerate, government, wine authority, and banking or media group, by no one. As we have (nor have we ever had) no financial links or commitments to any one we remain independent in our search to provide the best wine education and training via e-learning to any student, anywhere, who has a computer and the internet and wishes to learn about wine and its various aspects which can be such fun, yet also informative and uplifting!
This Academy was the brain child of a group of passionate wine educators, wine makers, wine professionals, sommeliers, journalists, writers, wine consultants, importers and retailers - all highly committed people and all of whom agreed on a few core issues:
-that most wine courses are too amateurishly presented,
-even though experienced professionals are sometimes used in those courses, the tutors are for the most part book-educated wine hobbyists,
-the current theoretical and academic standard of professional wine courses is generally too low,
-longer wine courses have to ensure that a student also received some practical exposure and experience,
-there was too little on offer for existing or aspiring Wine Business Professionals and Managers.
It is our philosophy, and one of the most important foundations of this Academy, as reflected in its longer courses, (and this distinguishes us from other wine courses) that our wine courses are holistic, that is, it FIRST provides students with a general background into the study of Wine (in the form of for instance our 'Essentials' module) and then that general knowledge is applied to a specific field or speciality, e.g. Wine Marketing or Wine Production.
We do not believe that any specialised field or wine region can be studied or understood properly in isolation any more, given the global world that we live in and that the wine commodity finds itself in: with certain universal varietals such as chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon being planted almost everywhere on the globe, by wine makers who have all studied wine making and viticulture, and utilise the same techniques, from the same text books, often at the same universities, with flying wine makers, using these universal varietals, making the same style of wine, on all continents, the pervasive influence of famous wine critics further encouraging this trend towards an almost universal wine or, as we call it: the "vinum universum".
So, our approach to wine education is holistic, but mixed in with a realisation that in wine education some practical exposure is also required (this our e-learning students acquire through the wine tasting exercises, on-site training and non-compulsory practicums, and the f2f and blended learning students will have the additional advantage of the week-long f2f module)
Types of wine courses
We provide serious (in the sense of academically sound) wine education & training which is based on a high, modern standard, that can give new learners, those persons wanting to start out on a new pathway of wine knowledge, and more advanced wine enthusiasts, a sound basis of wine knowledge, in any of the following directions: Wine tasting, Sommeliership, General wine knowledge, Wine production & viticulture and Wine marketing & Business.
EWA offers one of the widest range of wine courses: (click on the link "Courses" to the left) such as Introduction to Wine, Essentials of Wine, Wine Tasting, Wine Regions, Spirits, Sommeliership & Restaurant Management, Wine Tourism, Wine Marketing & Business, Viticulture, Oenology and Wine Production - and all at different academic levels, starting from the 10 lecture ‘Introduction to Wine’ to our 120 lecture ‘Associate Degree in Viticulture, Wine Production & Business’, all in e-learning version.
As of 2014 we also offer a new blended learning (see explanation below) course: ‘Foundations of Wine Certificate’ (a blended learning course, with a f2f module spread over 5 full days)
We also have an e-learning platform;(http://www.ewaplatform.org/), which is open and available 24/7 to our students, which means that you can download your lectures and do your assignments at any time of the day that is convenient to you. This e-learning platform is password double-encrypted and it employs the very latest, yet simple to use, technologies thus ensuring a dynamic learning environment. Students do not have to download any specific software; all that is required is an internet connection. Students receive their lectures from the platform; read the latest news and relevant articles, and up-load their assignments there as well. The lectures offered at the rate of 1 lecture per week, and each lecture contains certain compulsory assignments or quizzes, which are uploaded by the student via the eLearning platform. So, simply put: once you have your user name and password you go to the platform, there you will see that you have been placed within a “class” or group and in that class you will go to the latest lecture and its assignment, download it, read and study the material in that lecture, read further about the topic in any text book you may have, further research it on the internet, look at any relevant video clips on YouTube (and in the ‘Video Room’ of the platform), then look at the questions in the assignment, prepare your assignment and upload it onto the platform so that your tutor can read and grade it, and give you any comments which she/he feels may help you. The same procedure is used in the wine tasting exercises you are expected to do.
One could further look at our courses offering from a different perspective, and so divide our courses offering into two groups:
-for those starters or amateurs who are seeking an introduction into, or expansion of their knowledge of wine, wine tasting or other aspects of wine.
-secondly, we also offer professional education, training and vocational programs for aspiring or existing wine makers, sommeliers, wine marketing & business management.
-Our lectures are detailed, often technical and generally of a serious nature (we do not try to compete with YouTube!) with proper text, illustrations and tables. The video clips and wine tasting exercises etc. are obviously also available to you, but in a separate section on the platform, not embedded into your lectures. As you may know many e-learning courses are nowadays offered using very flashy web sites, with all the latest gadgets and flashware. We prefer offering our e-learning courses in a manner which is not disturbing to our students; you will not be bothered every 10 seconds with pop-ups and the like.
However, even serious wine education should always be an enjoyable experience!
The courses are mostly based upon leading text book(s) in the relevant field of study, blended with relevant wine articles and internet sources, and, where considered relevant, comments and contributions by the course designer, so that the particular course is a good combination of academic and practical content blended with wine articles and internet sources to create an up-to-date and informative lecture.
Our courses easily achieve the required professional and academic standard, but the hard work and dedication has to come from the student- it is therefore important that you realise that to get the full benefit from the course you will have to work on it every week! Our courses are aimed at well-motivated, serious and disciplined adults.
Please note though that there is a level for anyone, and that anyone may follow these courses, your reason for doing so is not as important to us as your desire to gain the knowledge!
Because we serve students from all parts of the globe, and of different backgrounds and levels of wine knowledge and education, it became obvious to us that we would have to provide a wide choice of wine courses to meet the needs of those students and such a changing wine industry. This is why we have learnt to be flexible, and why you will notice that we update the types and number of courses we offer, from time to time.
Our courses are designed by experienced wine professionals who take all of the above requirements into account. Parts of our courses are, merely through the particular topic, often almost of a university level, but most are set at an academic level just below that – also because we hold practical experience to be equally important (almost all courses have some practical aspects such as wine tasting exercises and on-site training at a wine business near you- see later).
If you are not yet sure which course to register for we can offer some suggestions, but we usually ask you some important questions first:
-firstly, what is your existing level of wine knowledge or experience,
-secondly, what do you hope to achieve with such a wine education: do you want to do this course for hobby purposes or for professional purposes, (even if it is to be used at a later stage), and
-thirdly, which specific direction interests you: general wine expertise, sommeliership & hospitality, wine business management, wine marketing or viticulture and wine making/oenology?
Clearly, the answers to these questions will help us to give you the best advice and guidance regarding the right course for you. It does also depend on how much wine experience/qualifications you already have, as some of the courses require you to have some pre-existing wine knowledge/qualification. So your answer to the above questions will hopefully enable us to suggest the correct course for you.
Course fees & VAT:
-There is a detailed list of all course fees on the web site.
-The course fee covers all the costs of the course, except for extra items such as field trips etc. (see the specific course description on the web site for more clarity on this)
-There is a separate registration cost of €50
-There is a legal cooling-off period of 14 days as well, to protect you. That means that if you are not satisfied with the contents or academic standard of at least the first lecture (which you will receive within 24 hours of having registered: that means you have sent in your Registration Form, paid the relevant course costs, and being accepted by EWA) within that 14 (fourteen) days period, you may cancel your registration and EWA shall then repay all course fees paid, minus €100 (one hundred euro) agreed cancellation costs, and the registration costs.
-All course fees include 21% VAT. So, if you, or your business, have a VAT tax number, please send your VAT number, together with the Registration form, so that we can include it on our Invoice to you. This means of course that you can claim back 21% VAT on your side (if that is the usual tax arrangement in your country!)
Mission, History and Future
The basis of EWA was formed in the late 1990's in Europe and the UK, when the Academy’s founding Principal, Derek D Koch, started providing standard wine education (f2f), but EWA was formalized in late 2004 when it also started offering wine courses via blended and e-learning, to students of the Commonwealth Academy, and Blake Hall College, in London.
As we are a Wine Academy which essentially operates via the internet, our physical location is perhaps not that relevant, but we selected Belgium, which is at the heart of Europe, with Brussels being the effective capital of the EU, as the ideal location for a European wine school. Ideal, not only because it is centrally located, but more importantly because, as Belgium is not considered as a serious wine producing region, it is a neutral region, and is therefore not seen as competition by any of the major wine-producing countries of Europe. In this way we can rely on the co-operation of all European wine-related institutions and estates.
Teaching method we use
All our courses have the same standard of excellence, they differ only in the method in which they are delivered and in the differing motivation of students: the student following our e-learning courses will do so for very specific reasons: highly motivated students who cannot, (usually because of their geographical location), follow a course in a regular class room environment because of their work schedules, family needs or other reasons.
The academic level of our courses is that of a tertiary standard, about equal to that of a College/Polytechnicon/Technicon/Hoge Schule, but probably not as high as university level - and then mostly only because we cannot cover the same amount of material as a full time Bachelors course. The lectures are however often/mostly equal to that of a university academic level.
We use the following educational systems to offer our courses:
-E-learning (also known as Distance Education)
Is the main form of education we use, particularly for the longer courses.
What is e-learning (Distance Education) and what are its advantages?
Simply put, distance education, or e-learning, takes place when a tutor and his/her students are separated geographically from each other by physical distance, and by using technology (i.e. voice, video, data, and print), this instructional gap is bridged. Or put slightly differently: e-learning is an educational system that uses technology: print, audio, video and computers, to reach learners in dispersed locations.
However, it is learner-centred in philosophy: that means that rather than simply bringing students piles of packaged information, we engage you in an active educational experience that enhances your professional and personal capacities. Wikipedia gives the following definition:
“Electronic learning (or e-Learning or eLearning) is a type of Technology supported education/learning (TSL) where the medium of instruction is through computer technology, particularly involving digital technologies. E-learning has been defined as "pedagogy empowered by digital technology" . In some instances, no face- to- face interaction takes place. E-learning is used interchangeably in a wide variety of contexts. In the United States, it is defined as a planned teaching/learning experience that uses a wide spectrum of technologies, mainly Internet or computer-based, to reach learners. Lately in most Universities, e-learning is used to define a specific mode to attend a course or programmes of study where the students rarely, if ever, attend face-to-face for on-campus access to educational facilities, because they study online.” This type of program can provide adults with a chance at tertiary education and reach those disadvantaged by limited time, distance, opportunity or physical disability. Many distance education students have jobs, and/or families. They must therefore manage their time very carefully by co-ordinating the different areas of their lives which influence each other - their families, jobs, spare time, and studies. The essence of eLearning is that you can't always relocate or adjust your work and family schedules to advance your career or to improve your personal growth. E-learning or online courses empower you so that you achieve your goals at home, or even while travelling, without disrupting your current lifestyle. But potential students should bear in mind that eLearning does not differ that much from learning in a classroom, as you still have a tutor, which guides you through the course and other class members you can interact with. Most importantly, you still have assignments to complete, (which are obligatory) and you can participate in class activities. As the communication between yourself, the Academy, your tutor and other students all happen online you will have more responsibility for your own learning progress. Apart from some basic computer skills and a good Internet access, the skills required for success with eLearning are the same as those needed in a traditional classroom: preparation, organisation and self-discipline.E-learning has evolved tremendously in the recent past , as Gráinne Conole and Karen Fill state: ”E-learning is now no longer a peripheral activity, the province of the isolated enthusiast, but is pervading Higher Education (HE), not just as an effective infrastructure for distance courses but blended with more traditional approaches on campus. Indeed, went as far as to term it a "new online paradigm [which] calls not so much for providing instruction at a distance, as for making available learning resources and instructional activities to students." In effect, the context is a potentially rich learning environment, where "students are typically engaged in multiple activities in pursuit of multiple learning goals, with the teacher serving the role of coach and facilitator."
Paraphrasing "The Economist" of 29th June 2013 who published an article: 'E-ducation' recently we quote:
“A long-overdue technological revolution is at last under way. "It is possible to teach every branch of human knowledge with the motion picture," observed Thomas Edison in 1913, predicting that books would soon be obsolete in the classroom. In fact the motion picture has had little effect on education. The same, until recently, was true of computers. Ever since the 1970's Silicon Valley's visionaries have been claiming that their industry would change the schoolroom as radically as the office-and they have sold a lot of technology to schools on the back of that. Children use computers to do research, type essays and cheat.
But the core of the system has changed little since the Middle Ages: a "sage on a stage" teacher spouting "lessons" to rows of students. Tom Brown and Huckleberry Finn would recognise it in an instant-and shudder. Now at last a revolution is under way. At its heart is the idea of moving from "one-size-fits-all" education to a more personalised approach, with technology allowing each child to be taught at a different speed, in some cases by adaptive computer programs, in others by "superstar" lecturers of one sort or another, while the job of classroom teachers moves from orator to coach: giving individual attention to children identified by the gizmos as needing targeted help. In theory the classroom will be "flipped", so that more basic information is supplied at home via screens, while class time is spent embedding, refining and testing that knowledge (in the same way that homework does now, but more effectively). The promise is of better teaching for millions of children at lower cost—but only if politicians and teachers embrace it.
Why is this time different?
Largely because a number of big changes are coming at the same time: high-speed mobile net-works, cheap tablet devices, the ability to process huge amounts of data cheaply, sophisticated online gaming and adaptive-learning software. For instance, new interactive digital textbooks with built-in continuous performance assessment can change in real time, depending on what and how much the pupil using it is learning. Higher education is in the vanguard. Colleges have always been keen to experiment with technology: Britain's television-based Open University is now 44 years old. Edtech has collected other impressive advocates. Bill Gates calls this "a special moment" for education. Private-sector money is piling in. Rupert Murdoch, hardly a rose-tinted-specs technophile, is allowing Amplify, his digital education business, to run up losses of around $180m this year in hope of dominating an edtech market that News Corporation reckons will soon be worth $44 billion in America alone. Technology has supposedly been on the verge of transforming education for over a century. This time it looks as though it will."
However, our courses are not self-paced; depending on numbers students are placed into groups and follow a properly structured and managed program of receiving lectures regularly, weekly, and handing in assignments weekly. Courses that are entirely self-paced, i.e. with no structure, place an almost impossible burden of total self-discipline on students!
Who should take e-learning courses and how does it work?
If you like the idea of being in control of your own learning and have a real interest in the topics or course you have selected, then yes. If you just see it as a way of getting out of going to regular face-to-face classes, then no. It's a very rewarding way to learn but you need to be well-organised and prepared to take responsibility for your own learning. You should be prepared to spend about 1 to 2 hours per week on doing assignments. Our tutors realise that there may be times when you need a bit of extra encouragement and support. They are there to help you as much as they can.
In addition we will be offering our courses via blended learning in 2014. Blended learning is a combination of e-learning and normal, face-to-face classes. In other words one part of the course will be offered via e-learning (using the platform) and the other part will be offered via regular, face-to-face lectures/workshops or practicums. These learner-centred approaches put the learners back in command, with a wealth of learning resources at their fingertips, customized to their individual needs. Teachers and trainers, however, continue to play a central role, using virtual and traditional face-to-face interactions with their students in a 'blended' approach.
-Regular Courses (f2f)
To a limited extent, (but in 2014 we plan on expanding this program) and only where at least 10/12 students register for a course will we offer regular, f2f (face-to-face) courses.
Personal contact with us via Skype
We realise that it is sometimes difficult for students in an e-learning environment if they do not have immediate access to the Academy to discuss a particular problem. Of course they can, and mostly do, use emails to achieve this, and it is a system which functions well, but sometimes they need personal face-to-face contact additionally. This is why we have instituted a system whereby students can make such personal contact with a senior person at EWA using Skype and a good Web Cam. The student would first email us requesting a face-to-face Skype discussion and EWA will then arrange a specific date and time for a discussion of the problem. Bear in mind that you should have a good Web cam, and be a registered Skype user, and have a fast Internet connection so that the video quality is acceptable. However, as this free service takes up a lot of personal time we hope you understand that we have to impose a few restrictions:
-It is only available to our registered students.
-It is not meant for trivial questions or matters - those can be dealt with via email. Students must ordinarily first try to sort out the problem via email before requesting a f2f Skype discussion.
In this way we hope to remove one of the biggest complaints against e-learning or on-line courses: a lack of personal contact between student and school.
Learning Wine Tasting - long distance.
One of the initial difficulties which e-Learning students face is that when it comes to learning how to taste wine they would like to have personal guidance and advice on various aspects of wine tasting, in particular, the relevant technique. Because we have students in most parts of the world, and as it is not always possible to arrange for face-to-face workshops in their region, such isolated students used to feel a bit left out. The way in which we overcome the problem of ‘long distance’ tasting – (where the student has no or little Tasting & Evaluation experience), is as follows: When you start the course you can have 1 or 2 personal guided tasting sessions (or a follow-up session during the course, if you’d like to clarify a specific tasting issue) with one of our tutors, via Skype, who will assist you in any problems you might have in wine tasting. This will not necessarily be for specific wines, but certainly for guidance in the technique of wine tasting.
Each course has a number of wine tasting exercises, with a list of wines which have to be tasted during the course, which will give the student the necessary wine tasting experience.
We have a special section on the platform, called the ‘Tasting Room’, where we have a detailed tasting Guide (for wines, fortified wines, sparkling wines and spirits), which shows students how to taste & evaluate wines, sparkling wines, as well as spirits. In this ‘Tasting Room’ there are also appropriate Tasting Sheets, (one for wine, for sparkling wines and spirits) so that students will, (by using the Guide and these Tasting Sheets together), learn exactly how to evaluate & taste wine.
The Academy has been using a professionally produced DVD called: “Tasting- grapes & scapes”. It covers, in 2 discs, (more than 5 hours long) various wine topics, and is aimed particularly at wine tasting tuition; there is an introduction to various wine regions and other very helpful wine information. This excellent DVD, (in English, German, French, Spanish & Italian) is currently available directly from us, but there are only a limited number available. The normal retail cost is around €30 per set but we are able to supply it at a student price of €20 per set.
Additionally, in a separate section of the platform, called the ‘Video Room’, we have many video clips on wine evaluation & tasting and how it should be done properly which will further assist students in learning how to taste wine. However, the best way still to learn how to taste wine is to TASTE, TASTE, TASTE!
EWA branded Sommelier (professional cork screw)
Over the years we have come across many types of cork screws and though there are more expensive ones, we saw that many wine estates and sommeliers prefer using the products made by Patrick in Italy. We therefore asked Patrick to provide us with a suitable sommelier that could be used by students for many years, and we had it branded by them as well. It is a double-hinged professional sommelier (Waiter’s Friend), the Murano version, with a patented non-slip soft rubber contour with an anti-adherent Teflon spiral making the removal of the cork easier. The stainless steel blade can be easily opened single handed to remove the foil.
The exclusive soft-pushing double lever mechanism is made of two independent and distinct levers which work with an automatic controlled movement. The first support is designed to suit any type of bottle. The cost is €18. Shipping costs will depend on whether the student also orders the Wine DVD or not, (when it will be cheaper).
What will I need for these courses?
Apart from a set of the correct wine tasting glasses, (we can give advice on this) all you need to register for one of our courses is a computer with an internet connection, a webcam, word processing software and software to open PDFs, audio and video files. This usually comes standard but can also be downloaded for free at, for instance: Adobe Reader, Quicktime or Mediaplayer and Skype.
Accreditation, memberships & commitment to excellence
We actively support and apply the EU’s Principles on E-learning.
It is a well-known fact that wine education, as a general academic study direction, does not have the long historical connections to universities that studies such as law or medicine enjoy, (nowadays of course, viticulture and oenology are offered at certain universities). This is particularly so in the EU. In some countries a more casual attitude and approach prevails, with the result that one comes across many so-called ‘universities’ offering degrees and diploma with no or little academic value or prestige.
Even the international leader in general wine education, the WSET, is not a university, and like most wine education institutions and academies, it too has to rely on a combination of a good reputation, coupled with accreditation from relevant professional control bodies and governments to convince its potential students of the academic and professional standard of its courses and training programs. The same also applies to EWA, we too would have preferred the ‘prestige’ of being a university but we accept that, as this is not a practical possibility in Europe, we have to primarily provide courses of excellence and then take reasonable steps to ensure that we reach and maintain a high academic and professional level.
It is for these reasons then that, over the course of our existence, we have formed associations with other wine educating institutions and universities, and used well-regarded course advisers and tutors (see elsewhere), but EWA has also (mostly through its Principal), at various times been a member of the following institutions or professional bodies that oversee standards of e-learning and wine education: The European Association for Distance Learning, Association of British Correspondence Colleges, The Society of Wine Educators in the United States of America, International Council for Open and Distance Education, European Association for International Education, European Council for Business Education and the British Association for Open Learning.
These Institutions lay down strict requirements for membership thus ensuring that students receive a quality education. EWA in fact usually exceeded the requirements and standards that were normally required of members of the above institutions; this is because we wish our students to be completely informed before registration.
You will note that we even allow a 14 day cooling off period; we point out the potential pitfalls which a student may encounter, and then suggest a possible solution as well.
As further proof of EWA’s commitment to professionalism and excellence, and to ensure that the administration and daily operations of EWA was being done at a high level, we met the standard of the highly regarded international award of quality: “ISO 9001”, and received this in October 2005, following a strenuous and lengthy investigation by the ISO’s auditors- however as EWA is a relatively small school it is not considered necessary any longer to continue the ISO 9001 registration. Because it had received an ISO 9001 award EWA was then appointed by the Flemish (part of the Belgian government) government as an official provider of adult education.
Why are our courses different from those of our competitors?
What sets us apart from most other (non-university) educational institutions offering wine courses is:
-a higher academic standard in our course contents resulting in a better prepared, trained and employable student.
-flexibility and friendliness using our one-on-one interactive Skype/webcam we offer personal contact with EWA and its tutors, and also guided wine tasting training sessions, students can now see and hear, in real time, how to taste wine properly!
-some of our course are designed specifically for the wine trade, management, sommeliers and hospitality trade and those who already have some grounding in the basic principles of wine
-by using our detailed Wine Tasting Guide, plus matching Wine Tasting & Analysis Sheets (also for Sparkling wines and Spirits) students learn how to analyse and taste wine analytically and in a professional manner.
-because of the nature of e-learning start dates for courses are flexible, so you can start at any time
-additionally we have a few hundred video clips in our Video Room which can assist students on all important topics such as wine tasting, viticulture, oenology, the major wine regions, sommeliership and wine marketing & business.
-international students who often cannot get access to such sophisticated wine and spirits courses, due to geographical reasons, can now also follow high-quality wine courses
-we want all our students to obtain as much practical, hands-on experience of and exposure to the wine industry. This is achieved by:
--getting students to do compulsory wine tasting exercises (each course has a set number of wines the student has to taste);
--asking students to attend limited on-site training at a local wine business, shop or winery of their choice.
--also, in some courses, by attending non-compulsory practicums and workshops, (any of our students may join us on a non-compulsory tutored Field Trip to a wine region, to get some hands-on, practical exposure to grapes, viticulture, wine making or other related practical experience. These are optional trips).
--non-compulsory visit to a Wine Fair, like the London Wine Fair, ProWein, the Cape Fair or Vinexpo in Bordeaux
--non-compulsory visits to local wineries and vineyards.
In keeping with our policy of offering only professional and academically strong wine education, all of our courses will require students to write an examination on every module which forms part of the course (the date is arranged in conjunction with the student).
This is usually in the form of multiple choice on-line exams on the platform at the conclusion of each module (where there are modules in a course), so you can even write your exams from home!
It has been proven that if a course does not properly test a student's knowledge (which a quiz and examination does) that student does not get the full value of the course, nor does he/she, or others, really respect that course's standard.
Venues for practical training, f2f courses & conferences
Depending on the type of course and on student interest (as these are normally not compulsory) we may arrange practicums or conferences from time to time at one of the following preferred partner venues:
-University of Padua, Italy In view of its rich viticultural and oenological traditions, combined with high, modern scientific research and facilities, which has its Viticulture and Oenology department in Conegliano in the Veneto, Italy (established 1874-it is the oldest wine University in Italy).
-London: the normal location will be at Blake Hall College in London.
-France (various regions)
-Collalto Wine Estate, Veneto, Italy.Is an important and partner, courtesy of Princess Isabella Collalto, with whom our Academy has professional links (she also followed one of our wine courses). This 1 000 year old wine estate has not forgotten how important the soil is, the value of caring for the grapevine and making outstanding wines by using modern, up-to-date equipment and methods. Collalto is a preferred venue for our residential and short courses, practicums, wine conferences, workshops, wine trips as well as wine tastings. These will be held at Collalto's premises and winery in Susegana in the Veneto, close to Venice. It is also conveniently located very near the campus of the University of Padua, at Conegliano.
-Other Italian locations
-Schloss Vollrads, Rheingau, Germany. Joining Collalto Estate in Italy as one of our preferred Training Centres is that equally impressive and historic Wine Estate: Schloss Vollrads of the Rheingau, on the Rhine. Dr Rowald Hepp, (who is one of our Course Advisors) its winemaker and Chief Executive, confirms that this historic 14th Century Castle, adjacent to Geisenheim university, will co-operate in a joint venture with us to provide a fantastic training venue by giving us access to their vineyards, winemaking cellars and top restaurant, for workshops, lectures and tasting sessions in viticulture, oenology, wine marketing and sommeliership.
-Mosel estates and other German regions
Practical matters – (and what you have to do now)
Contact us, if necessary, at
Courses are available in English (and soon in French) and it is the administrative language for the Academy. As we develop our program new Courses will be introduced and this could mean that certain courses may be offered in multiple languages.
Length of a Course:
The lectures are offered (via the e-learning platform) at the rate of one lecture per week, and each lecture contains certain compulsory assignments which the student will upload onto the e-Learning platform once she/he has done the assignment. You can therefore roughly work out how long a course will take – bear in mind that we are closed for the Summer vacation in July and August, for about 2 months, and also for a week or so in December, so in those times we operate with a skeleton staff, but you can still upload your assignments and download lectures during these vacations - the grading of assignments will only be done after the vacations.
Typical Length of a Lecture:
There is no average length for a lecture, as length will be determined by its contents, but you should allow yourself about 2 hours per week for the compulsory assignments, which form part of every lecture.
Starting date of course:
Because of the nature of e-learning start dates for courses are flexible; there are no set starting dates. So you can start immediately after you have registered and the course fees have been paid.
In some courses students are expected to get some hands-on experience working in any wine-related wine business/retail shop in the student’s town or area. But we do sometimes allow exceptions to this when there are no such wine businesses in the area/city of the student (for instance in Muslim countries). The student just has to apply for such exception, giving full reasons.
-Once you have decided which course to follow you simply fill in the Student Registration Form, (download it from the web site), sign it, then scan it in and email it back to us.
- Simultaneously kindly arrange for the necessary course fees, plus the Registration costs of €50, and the exam fees (@ €30 per module) to be deposited into our bank account (see Registration Form) by instructing your own bank to do so.
-We then send you the documentation relating to the course, together with your own password and user name, on the same day that we receive payment, so that you can within the 14 day period access the e-learning platform, study the course structure and scrutinise at least the first lecture (usually there is more than one lecture available to you for scrutiny) to satisfy yourself as to the academic standard of the lectures and course.