I finished up my French Wine Scholar (FWS) classes last week with a classroom exam, followed by a five-course wine-paired dinner at Culinaria.
Offered at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Vancouver, the nine-week French Wine Scholar program was quite an experience. During its course, we tasted eight wines each class; studied French wine, French wine-related history and French-wine laws, region by region; and learned about the dirt, weather, topography, and all other things that go into making terroir.
This was the first time the French Wine Society program was offered in a classroom setting in Canada and I'm thrilled I was able to participate. The start-up details for the next FWS class follow at the end of this post. Scroll down to find out how you can join in.
Mark Shipway, wine instructor and department head, shared that part of his job here at The International Culinary School is to "expand our wine program offering and come up with new ideas and new courses that have both educational value and are appealing to our current and former student body. The French Wine Society’s program perfectly meets the criteria. I am teaching it personally because I’ve travelled to France since I was a kid and I love French wine!" Shipway continued, "France is the most important wine producing nation in the world and I want to try and give students an understanding of that with this course."
At first concerned if the FWS would work well with the established and world-recognized Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) program, Shipway determined early on that they are, indeed, very complementary study streams.
"Firstly, the French Wine Scholar is an advanced program so we need students to be able to taste wine systematically as well as have a basic understanding of Appellation Contrôlée when they start this course. The WSET program provides that foundation and we have stipulated WSET level 2 as a minimum requirement. I thinkthere is a natural progression for a student who has taken WSET level 3 and who wants to continue studying wine but cannot commit to the intensive two-year study of the WSET Diploma program," said Shipway, who commented further, "I also think the FWS is great preparation for those waiting to start the WSET Diploma. As far as focus is concerned, WSET’s is very much about understanding wine from a business andscience perspective, whereas the French Wine Scholar is much more about understanding the history of the French wine regions as well as focussing more on appellation and terroir."
When asked why someone in the hospitality industry and/or a wine enthusiast would want to take this course, Shipway replied, "Whether you're a hospitality industry professional or simply someone who loves wine, you'd want to take this course to learn more about French wine and taste a whole bunch of very cool stuff. Not only that, but to increase your comprehension of wine as a whole. Once you’ve understood Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, then you’ve understood wine. That won’t make sense to a lot of people reading this right now, but it will start to when you’ve taken the course."
I can attest to that.
Next French Wine Scholar program begins Tuesday, October 5 at 6:00 p.m. For more information, write to Mark Shipway at [email protected].
A Votre Santé
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen Rake. All rights reserved.