Wednesday, October 7, 2009


In my previous post, I told how JD and I met Ian Blackburn at LearnAboutWine. We continued to volunteer at his classes and events, tasting great wines and meeting like-minded people. In the fall of 2007, Ian launched his LAW (LearnAboutWine) School, and I was part of the inaugural class, passing the BAR (Beverage Aptitude Requirement) Exam and receiving my certification as a Junior Wine Executive and a cool lapel pin. It was challenging and exciting. The real revelation was the Reidel glasses. I never would have believed it would truly make such a difference in the smell and taste of the wine. I’m a believer now! Ian was funny – he said he didn’t want to make ‘glass snobs’ of us, but I gotta tell you, this fully confirms what I’ve been saying on a much lower level for many years: No drinking wine from plastic glasses!! There is just no point at all. No flavor, no nose. Amazing.

After completing LAW School, Ian asked me to pour wines at his events, rather than just help with set up and tear down. It was an opportunity to be able to learn more about wines - there is always research involved before the event, because Ian wants his pourers to be able to speak knowledgeably about the wines we're pouring. And so my education continued.

What I discovered is something that I should have realized long ago - I like to talk. People who know me will be howling with laughter at that disclosure, but I never really thought I would teach, until I discovered how passionately I felt about wine. And so that's one of the paths I'm taking - becoming a wine educator. Ian has been a great help in this - I've taught his Wine Camp (Wine 101) class, and have been the primary educator a few of his events, and he continues to encourage me and refer clients to me.

I've also joined the Society of Wine Educators as a Professional Member, and have started studying so that I can take the exam to become a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), which is the first step to becoming a Certified Wine Educator (CWE). I wasn't sure I was going to do that until I met Yvonne Rich, a long-time CWE. She was inspiring.

And I'm also doing in-home wine tastings for WineShop at Home, which provides another kind of venue for wine education, and about which I'll write tomorrow.


Eve said...

Wow Denise, you continue to impress me! I am working on an interview with Ian right now but maybe I should just interview you instead! Or, at the very least, get you up to my valley for a class???? Wine 101ers need wine 102ers!!!

Goddess of Wine said...

I would love to teach a class for your Wine 101ers! Let's talk offline about this and see what we can come up with. But you should definitely interview Ian. He's the real deal!