“Professional wine courses for persons interested in wine, or wishing to become wine professionals, using e-learning, so that you can follow your course online from home, 24/7″
The European Wine Academy is an international wine Academy (we already started offering online courses in 2003, perhaps the first non-university to do so) offering wine courses and education, no matter where you live, using 21st-century e-learning (distance education) online methods. So, if you have access to a computer and the internet, and want a serious wine qualification we can certainly assist you.
The wine market has become completely international, with an increased demand for wine knowledge and wine education.
No longer is wine education only found in Europe and the North American countries. Nowadays it is popular in the Far and Middle east, China, India, Japan, the South American states and African nations, and in North Africa. We believe that the only practical way of reaching some of those aspiring wine students is to offer them proper wine education using e-learning and to use the English language.
We are a modern Wine School, which has its roots in the wine, oenological and viticultural traditions and wine culture of Europe, but which has now developed into an International Wine School, drawing its students from the whole globe and offering wine courses for amateurs and professionals alike in courses such as Essentials of Wine, Wine Tasting, Wine Regions, Spirits, Sommelliership & Restaurant Management, Wine Tourism, Wine Marketing & Business, Viticulture, Oenology and Wine Production – and all at different academic levels: with the shorter (20-lecture long ) Essentials courses, followed by the popular 40-lecture long Certificate courses, and then topped by the top-range Associate Degree courses, which can have from 80 to 120 lectures.
Mission & History
The basis of EWA was formed in the early 2000’s in Europe and the UK, when EWA’s founder, DD Koch, started providing standard wine education (f2f), but EWA was formalized in late 2004 when it started offering wine courses via blended and e-learning, to students of the Commonwealth Academy, and Blake Hall College, in London.
EWA is based in Belgium, which is in the heart of Europe and, and partly in Denmark. Not that this is important as all our activities are conducted online so it does not really matter where our servers, tutors or computers are located.
Our wine-teaching philosophy and goals
The goal of EWA is essentially the promotion of the study of the following core topics in wine education:
- general wine knowledge
- wine tasting and evaluation
- sommeliership and hospitality management
- wine production, and
- wine business- and marketing,
via higher, vocational and professional education.
We want our students to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of wine: the grape, its viticulture, and vinification, of 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 international education and training which will empower students and even provide them with excellent career possibilities.
The founders of EWA agreed that we should avoid the following problems that are commonly found in wine education:
- most wine courses are too amateurishly presented,
- even though 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 online for existing or aspiring Wine Makers and Wine Business Professionals and Managers.
- there was almost nothing on offer for students wishing to follow online courses on viticulture and wine production or sommeliership or in Wine Tourism.
It is our philosophy, and one of the most important foundations of EWA, as reflected in its longer 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 the ‘Essentials‘ module) and then that general knowledge is applied to a specific field or specialty, e.g. Wine Marketing or Wine Production.
- compulsory wine tasting exercises (which you do yourself, at home) for students who have no or little wine tasting experince,
- on-site training (working in a local wine-related wine business), for students who have no experience in the wine industry, and
- non-compulsory practicums
Types of wine courses
- We provide serious (in the sense of academically sound) wine education and 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 and Hospitality Management, Wine Tourism, General Wine Professional, Viticulture, and Wine Production, as well as Wine Marketing and Business.
- We have been asked by prospective students why they cannot just get all the necessary wine information from sites like Wikipedia (which is a good and informative source, even we consult it sometimes), why should they register for a proper wine course! Whilst there is some really good information on the internet, we all know that often that information is incorrect, out of context or biased. And you would have to spend days and days on searching on the internet for such information. Worse, because you have no experience or background guidance on helping you to look for the correct information in the right places, you could be wasting hours searching in the incorrect locations, and getting it out of context or wrong. The internet is polluted with so-called ‘experts’ all trying to show how knowledgeable they are, or secretly promoting a brand or product, and the topic wine attracts even more of those types than most other topics you might find on Wikipedia.
- Our course syllabus is designed in such a way that students can progress from one level to another. The lowest levels are those short courses that are just below the Certificate level. The next level is the Certificate level which invariably consists of 40 lectures. Then a student can progress to the highest level, the Associate Degree level which has long courses ranging between 80 and 120 lectures.
- Consequently, EWA offers a wide range of wine courses such as Introduction to Wine, Essentials of Wine, Wine Tasting, Wine Regions, Sommeliership & Restaurant Management, Wine Marketing & Business, Wine Tourism, 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 via e-learning. The main difference between a Certificate course and an Associate Degree (AD) course lies in the fact that in the AD there are more lectures (and they are usually also more detailed) on a particular topic than in the Certificate course. We also offer a blended learning (see explanation below) course: ‘Foundations of Wine Certificate’ (a blended learning course, with a face-to-face (f2f) module. If there are enough (minimum 12) students interested we also offer a blended learning course (a combination of e-learning plus f2f modules) usually running for 5 to 7 days at a suitable wine location, but our main focus and USP is that we focus on e-Learning (distance education) wine courses.
- Our courses are operated on and available to our students on our e-learning platform;(http://www.ewaplatform.org/), which is open and available 24/7, which means that you can access your course, 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 upload their assignments there as well. The lectures are offered at the rate of at least once per week (sometimes a number may be available), and each lecture contains certain compulsory assignments or quizzes, which are uploaded by you via the e-Learning platform. So, simply put: once you have your username and password you go to the platform, there you will see that you have been placed in a “class” or group and in that class you 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 textbook 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 compulsory wine tasting exercises which form part of every course.
- Our lectures are detailed, with (when relevant) technical and generally academic details, illustrations, and tables. There are also video clips and wine tasting exercises etc. also available, but in a separate section on the platform, not embedded into your lectures. We prefer offering our e-learning courses in a more sober 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 on leading textbook (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 or tutors, 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.
- EWA wants all its students to obtain as much practical, hands-on experience of and exposure to the wine industry. This is achieved by:
- getting students who have no or little tasting experience to do compulsory wine tasting exercises (each course has a set number of wines the student has to taste);
- asking students who have no experience of the wine industry to get some on-site practical experience by working at a local wine business, shop or winery of their choice. 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 an exception, giving full reasons.
- 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, winemaking or other related practical experience. These are optional trips).
- a 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.
- Our courses easily achieve the required professional and academic standard, but the hard work and dedication have 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, preferably 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 learned 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 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 and hospitality management, wine business management, wine marketing or viticulture and winemaking/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 or qualifications you already have, as some of the courses require you to have some pre-existing wine knowledge or qualification. So, your answer to the above questions will hopefully enable us to suggest the correct course for you.
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 classroom 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/Polytechnic/Technicon/Hoge Schule, but 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 equal to that of a university academic level.
(also known as Distance Education) is the main form of education we use. 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 regularly, (usually weekly). However, we have learnt over the years that as all our students are employed full-time it is not always possible for them to submit assignments every week. So, we are flexible about it, as long as the student shows constant application by submitting her/his assignments regularly. And if the student is going to be unable to submit any assignments for a longer period, he/she should get permission from the Platform Manager for that. All examinations are also held online, in multiple-choice format, on the e-learning platform at the conclusion of each module, or if the student prefers, at the conclusion of the course.
Who should take e-learning courses?
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 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.
No European student visas
Please note that students wishing to follow one of our courses will not be required to obtain an EU student visa, nor will registering as an EWA student entitle a student to such a student via, as the courses are meant to be followed in that student’s own country.
In order to attend one of our f2f Foundation courses or any practicums in Europe, a student will not require a student visa, only a tourist visa as such practical courses are only for a number of days.
Direct contact with us via email or Google Meet
We realise that it is sometimes difficult for students in an e-learning environment if they do not have immediate access to us to discuss a particular problem relating to a particular assignment or other relevant matter. To do so students use emails to achieve this, and it is a system which functions well. The staff at EWA, or the tutor, will normally respond within a day or so, depending on circumstances, also via email. In certain circumstances, students can also communicate with us via Meets, or a similar program, provided prior arrangements with the platform manager has been made.
Learning Wine Tasting – via Google Meet or Zoom!
- 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 the basics 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 often 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 request a personal guided tasting session with one of our tutors, via Google Meet or Zoom, who will assist you in any problems you might have in wine tasting. This will not necessarily be for specific wines, but as guidance in the technique of wine tasting.
- We will hold regular guided wine tastings online with Google Meet or Zoom which will only be open only for EWA students and during which one of the tutors will guide you through all the steps and will discuss techniques as well as the wines being tasted.
- 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 and 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) which you use (by using the Guide and these Tasting Sheets together), to learn exactly how to evaluate and taste wine.
- Additionally, in a separate section of the platform, called the ‘Video Room’, we have many video clips on various wine topics, including wine evaluation and 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 corkscrew)
Over the years we have come across many types of corkscrews and though there are more expensive ones, we saw that many wine estates and sommeliers prefer using the products made by the Patrick company in Italy. We, therefore, asked them to provide us with a suitable sommelier that could be used by students for many years, and we had it branded with our EWA logo. 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 up of two independent and distinct levers which work with an automatically controlled movement. The first support is designed to suit any type of bottle. The cost is €15.
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 prevail, 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 good reputation 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, for now, 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, but EWA (through its Principal) has also, at various times been a member or affiliated with 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. In most cases, EWA in fact usually exceeded the requirements and standards that were normally required of members of the above institutions.
- 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, and considering the high costs of maintaining this requirement (costs which would eventually have to be borne by students through higher course fees) EWA felt that such cost increases are not warranted by continuing the expensive ISO 9001 registration.
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 good 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!
- 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
Perhaps it may not seem important at first, but we are rather proud of our objectivity, of our independence – this is so because we are not sponsored by any beverage corporation, wine company, food conglomerate, government, wine authority, banking or media group, by no one. As we have no financial links or commitments to anyone 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!
In conclusion, if you are a person really interested in pursuing a serious career in wine, wine tasting, sommeliership, viticulture, wine business & marketing as well as wine production, but you do not have the time to attend classes full, or part-time, click on the link: “Courses” to select the one that best fits your needs.