If you're craving good old-fashioned news, we've got some for you. We are announcing the very first online sommelier certification program, something many thought was impossible.
In early March, we held an emergency meeting. We knew it would be a brutal year to run a wine school. A highly contagious virus that - at best - robs you of the ability to smell and taste was always a worst-case scenario for a wine school.
If the world was going to go bonkers, then the status quo in wine education should be overturned. We needed a way to teach our students about the safety of their own homes.
We began to develop what would become the world's first online sommelier training program.
The first step was to develop a new basic wine program, which became the Level One Online Wine Course. It didn't take long to become a critical success. The next step was to replicate our flagship course on basic wines.
Developing an online sommelier course was not going to be easy. The hallmark of an authentic sommelier program is wine tasting, sensory training and a blind tasting exam. Other schools had tried to accomplish this feat, but no one had cracked the code.
We were not going to accept a watered-down version of our programs. The students were to have the same experience and learn as much as our students in the classroom. The logistics of development were overwhelming: audio editing, cinematography, UX design, video editing, and development of an online streaming platform.
The process was daunting, but we overcame all the obstacles except one.
The problem of conducting blind tasting examinations at a distance persisted and a significant delay was looming. We had planned sommelier students to attend the Core Wine Course! Half of the students were online and the rest attended in person.
If we didn't find a solution, the semester was going to be a fiasco.
WSoP learns over IP
We only had a few days before the deadline. A few of us have hiked the Wissahickon to deal with the anxiety. After a few hours we came across a walled garden in the woods.
I still don't know why, but this garden inspired an elegant and original solution; we just sat there and started brainstorming. We developed the idea in a proprietary process that was quickly distributed to our student sommeliers online.
Thanks to this innovation, the semester was a huge success! Our online students learned and enjoyed wine lessons as much as our students in person. They even did it during their blind tasting exams. We had cracked the code!
The price of accomplishment
Throughout this process, the leaders of the wine school have gone without a paycheck. It was part of the deal we struck in March 2020. To change an industry, you had to make short-term sacrifices.
In the space of a few hours, we turned our venerable wine school into an online start-up. And like disturbing reports continue to be published, it was not too early.
Come to the online wine school
This year of COVID-19 has been brutal, but the development of these online wine programs has been our silver lining. Come share the joy with us!
If you or someone you know would like to take our online sommelier course, you can register here. Online programming is provided through the National Wine Schooland lessons are streamed live from our Rittenhouse classroom.
click here to discover more
We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both of these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 2-4 weeks but will benefit if left up to 6-8 weeks. Furthermore, they also have a great selection of wines to choose from.
If you’ve never made wine before or you simply don’t have any of the equipment or ingredients any longer then you could purchase one of our bundles. These bundles combine all the required equipment along with your prefered wine pack so that you can have everything delivered to your door and just get started. The Wineworks Superior Starter Bundles are a great choice if you want to keep the equipment budget down but still choose the quality of wine you’d like to go for. Whereas, the Wineworks Luxury Starter Bundles offer a better quality equipment pack and still let you choose from a great choice of wine kits.
The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised ( see below ). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no’s. ( See below )
Clean and sterilise all equipment. Here’s a selection of Sterilisers you can use and if you not quite sure which steriliser to go for then you can take a look at our Beginners Wine Making Part 1 - Cleaning, Sterlising
Wineworks Superior wines : These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain packs ( see the list below ) are suited more to the experienced wine maker and take around 4 weeks to ferment and then left for a further 2 weeks. These products does really benefit from ageing. All the kits we list in this section require little ageing.
As it’s new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn’t go very far as we said before !
From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can’t maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment : Brew Belt / Heat BeltThis is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your container and provides a gentle heat. It is very souple and extremely easy to use. Heat Tray ( 4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter ) This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter. Immersion HeaterThis drops into the container, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the exact temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter coffret packages. See our scène showing the variétés of heating equipment available for your fermentation.
It is important to clean
If you’ve made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we’ve said, then you’ll want to know how much it will cost to get started ! As you may have noticed, we’ve put together a couple of equipment packs which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. You can make your first 30 bottles of Wine for approximately £65. 00. That’s all in ( Equipment