Fancy yourself as a sommelier?

  • Perfect pour: Daniel Moik and Caitlin Westhaver of Gosling’s (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Perfect pour: Daniel Moik and Caitlin Westhaver of Gosling’s (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Course instructor: Christian Esser of wineschool3 (Photograph supplied)

    Course instructor: Christian Esser of wineschool3 (Photograph supplied)

Wine enthusiasts and professionals working in wine-related industries will have the opportunity to uncork their expertise later this year in courses presented by Gosling’s Brothers Ltd.

Wineschool3, the Cayman Islands-based provider of the internationally-recognised Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) qualifications, is to offer training courses in the Gosling’s wine cellar on Dundonald Street, Hamilton.

The courses will be led by Wineschool3’s managing director Christian Esser, who travels more than 100,000 miles annually to deliver wine education.

WSET level I is an introductory course, while level II is more detailed, successful completion of which bestows a junior sommelier designation. Passing the level III exam qualifies a person as a sommelier. The courses attract both wine buffs and people working in restaurants, hotels and the wine/spirits industry.

“As our school’s slogan suggests, we keep things ‘liquid, lively, fun’,” Mr Esser said, “but when you start level III, it’s a tad serious.

“Level III is definitely work, it’s not just thinking about wine and drinking wine, it’s analysing where the wine is from and the ‘whys’ behind it — the soil type, the winemaking, the wine-growing — to understand the total practice of the wines. Levels I and II are much more fun and easy going.”

Daniel Moik, the co-ordinator of WSET courses for Gosling’s, has a level III WSET wine certification, and has plans to obtain a WSET teaching qualification so that he can lead the courses.

“I think of WSET training as a mountain,” he says. “Level I is base camp, at level II you’ve done a bit of a walk, while level III is the peak of the mountain. There is a mountain of difference between levels II and III.

“Level II is for working professionals or wine enthusiasts, and level III is for people who are working with wine daily. If you pour wine at the table, I highly recommend having level II knowledge. A real jump in knowledge is needed to pass the level III course. A wine buff could jump into level II without doing level I, but I highly recommend completing the level II course before moving on to level III.”

Mr Esser holds a level IV WSET wine qualification, just one level below that of a master sommelier. There are just 280 master sommeliers worldwide.

Pass rates globally for levels I and II, Mr Esser says, are 90 per cent. The number drops to 50 per cent for level III.

The WSET level I award in wines course will be held on Monday October 28 from 9am until 4pm. An exam will be held on Thursday, November 14 at 9am. The cost of the course is $350.

Organisers say the hands-on course will teach participants to understand more about wine through sight, smell and taste. By the end of the course, participants will be able to taste wine using a systematic approach, identify key styles of wine and know the characteristics of important grape varieties. Participants will also learn the key principles of food and wine pairing and how to apply these to their own food and wine choices.

The WSET level II award in wines and spirits course will be held Tuesday through Thursday, October 29 to 31, from 9am to 4pm daily. An exam will be held on Thursday, November 14 at 10am. The cost of the course is $850.

Organisers say the structured and informative course explores the major grape varieties and important regions that define the world’s key wines. Participants will learn about production, key labelling terminology and major classifications to help them identify wines with confidence. A basic introduction to the main spirits categories is also provided as an online video segment and in-class revision exercise.

The WSET level III award in wines is a nine-week, online programme with an online educator to guide participants. Registrants have access to course materials for a full year. A tasting workshop will be held here on Friday and Saturday, November 1-2 from 9am to 6pm. An exam will be held on Thursday November 14 at 9am. For registrants who have not completed the course by that date, an exam will also be held early next year. The cost of the course is $1,600.

Organisers say the course is an advanced level qualification for professionals working in the wine industry and for wine enthusiasts. For individuals seeking to delve deeper into the world of wines, organisers say, this qualification provides a detailed understanding of grape growing and winemaking. Upon completion, participants will be able to assess wines accurately, and use their understanding to confidently explain wine style and quality.

To register, see the website Class size is capped at 25. Registration closes on October 1. Payment plans are available. Breakfast and lunch are provided. For more information,

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Published Jul 3, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 2, 2019 at 9:20 pm)

Fancy yourself as a sommelier?

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