Options abound for a great wine education.

shutterstock_234516136Want to strengthen your wine smarts? There are plenty of ways to get a wine education—from casual to formal. Here are a few of the different options available, whether you just want to know a little more about which bottles to buy or are thinking about making wine your full-time job.

Leisurely Pursuit
Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)
WSET is a global network of wine schools. Just visit the site to find the program nearest you. (In New York, for example, you can enroll at International Wine Center, run by Mary Ewing Mulligan, author of Wine for Dummies.) WSET Level 1, the most fun and informal course you can take, covers basic wine types and styles, as well as food pairings, over six hours. You can study online, but try to find an in-person class; the friendships forged here are known to last a lifetime. Level 1 ends with a 30-question multiple-choice exam.

Level 2 requires 28 hours of study time, followed by a 50-question exam. Levels 3 and 4 are more intensive programs for industry professionals.

Visit wsetglobal.com.

Swirl Like a Somm
International Sommelier Guild (ISG)
This is no-nonsense wine study. The Intermediate Wine Certificate, the lowest-level program offered, requires 24 hours of online instruction over 8 weeks. By the end, students are expected to have an understanding and appreciation of all the major types of wine.

More advanced courses, for industry professionals, are also available, including the six-month-long Sommelier Diploma Program.

Visit internationalsommelier.com.

Go Professional
UC Davis Extension Winemaking Certificate Program
Plan to pack your bags for wine country? The Winemaking Certificate Program is for you. The five 10-week college-level courses are each taught online, and the entire program can be completed in 18 months to 2 years.

The program largely covers the scientific elements of winemaking to prepare you for a wine-industry career. Who really used that undergrad degree earned at age 22, anyway

Visit extension.ucdavis.edu.

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