Love wine but wish you knew more about it? Sign up for the 10th annual Summer Wine School at the Wine School of Philadelphia (WSP) and become a registered three level sommelier in only one week — the only course of its kind offered in the United States.
“We have students from come from far away to get their certificate. Otherwise, it takes two to three months,” says WSP Founder, Keith Wallace. “It’s a real class and you’ll have a lot of fun. People even come here on vacation to do it.”
Over the years, Wallace has had students come from Pittsburgh, Connecticut and even Canada.
“Some people will travel two hours to get to class everyday. It always humbles me,” he adds.
So what does it take to be a certified sommelier?
“You need to be able to identify blind grape varietals and regions and be able to describe the wines,” Wallace notes. “That’s the universal standard of earning your sommelier certification.”
From Aug. 7 through Aug. 12, the class will run from 5 p.m. to 9: 30 p.m. It’s broken down into two sections, “Foundations” and “Intermediate,” and includes a break in between.
“The first part is all about the grape varietals. The second part covers the wine regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa Valley and what it is that these places bring [to the wine],” Wallace says. “The hardest part is staying sober.”
On the last day of class is the exam and Wallace says the school has a 95% pass rate.
“The only people who fail usually are the people who think they know so much about wine and brag about their wine cellar to verify that they’re a wine god,” he reveals. “The people who do well have zero experience, really love it and just want to learn.”
If you do fail the exam, you’re allowed to come back and retake the entire course for free. Talk about a wine win-win.
If you go:
Aug. 7 to Aug. 12
5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
$548.98 and up
Wine School of Philadelphia
109 S. 22nd St.