By The Glass
Wine classes welcome novices
EVERY OCTOBER, a new edition of one of my new favorite wine books is released. The annual Wine Report by Tom Stevenson has got to be the ultimate reference on the latest trends in the world of wine. Experts from all the major wine-producing regions serve as contributors and put you onto the pulse of what's going on in their respective areas.
Stevenson is well-recognized among wine professionals. His notable Sotheby's World Wine Encyclopedia is considered standard reading for those in pursuit of a master sommelier diploma. Prior to discovering Wine Report, Sotheby's was one of the few books that I would purchase for my personal library each time a new edition was released.
On the Net: Visit the Court of Master Sommeliers' site, www.mastersommeliers.org, for details on the master sommelier process and study tools. The schedule and applications for the Hawaii courses and exams have just been posted on the site.
ALTHOUGH there are a host of great books out there, personal instruction is still a great tool. We all learn to absorb information in different ways and in the case of wine, it's like learning a different language. One of the challenges is finding a good teacher.
In February, the internationally recognized Court of Master Sommeliers will hold two wine-education classes in Hawaii. While both courses are geared to professionals, they are most suitable for wine amateurs and enthusiasts alike:
Introductory Sommelier Course: Feb. 10 and 11, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; location to be announced. This well-rounded course -- presented by a panel of master sommeliers including Hawaii's Roberto Viernes and Chuck Furuya -- covers wine regions of the world, service basics and blind tasting. At the end of the second day, participants will take a 100-question multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank written test. Cost is $495 for course materials.
Certified Sommelier Exam: Feb. 12, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For those who participated in last year's introductory course, here's your chance to take it to the next level. This is the second of four stages in the Master Court of Sommeliers' credentialing process. This examination has three parts -- a written test, blind tasting (considered one of the more challenging aspects) and service (salesmanship, food and wine pairings, bottle opening and decanting). Examination fee is $250.
The exam is one-on-one ... just you and a panel of master sommeliers. Boy, talk about intimidation! Materials from the introductory course may be used as a study guide; that course is a prerequisite for the certified exam. Additional instructions, as well as a tasting grid, may be viewed and downloaded from the court's Web site.
Kevin Toyama is Sommelier at the Halekulani Hotel and an advanced sommelier certificate holder from the Court of Master Sommeliers. This column is written by a rotating panel of wine professionals.
This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org