Each month Erica interviews a former student of Enjoy Discovering Wine. This month’s interview is with WSET Level 1 and 2 student – Danni Milwain.
When you signed you for the Level 1 Award in wine what did you want to have happen?
WSET Level 1 – the beginning
Signing up for the Level 1 Award in wine was a starting point for me, having an amateur but very keen interest in wine I am hoping to explore a future in the industry. I felt I needed to expand my knowledge in a more academic way, looking at the course details it was clear how little I actually knew about wine apart from that I like it… a lot!
WSET Level 1 – something for everyone
I felt it was important to do the Level 1 to make sure I understood the basics and having not worked in the industry before this was important to me. I hoped I would spend the day learning a lot, tasting a lot and having fun meeting people with similar interests. And yes, I learnt tonnes! Even with the very basics I feel there is something for everyone, perhaps even those who feel they have a lot of knowledge already. There’s always that extra little piece of information you didn’t already know.
WSET Level 1 – a lot to learn
The day was perfectly varied, learning the basics of the history and science of wine in amongst tastings, perfectly placed throughout the day to keep us interested. I’m particularly keen on the science of wine and the pairing of wine with foods, the way in which the taste of wine is affected by so many factors and how we all enjoy or dislike those tastes in a different way fascinates me. Our teacher was very dynamic and managed to keep us all going, even through all the wine fumes from the many tastings throughout the day. There’s a lot to learn and I’d definitely say you should go prepared to take a lot in.
You then signed up for the WSET Level 2 course.
WSET Level 2 – signed up that very evening
Yes, I signed up that very evening! I was so excited by level 1 and desperate to learn more. I hoped to be able to hear more in depth the science of wine and how and where grapes are grown and wine is made. I was also interested to taste more wine with guidance and learn more about my own tastes, likes and dislikes which I have been constantly surprised by! I thought I was a red wine drinker… it turns out I can appreciate all wines. The most surprising for me was that I now appreciate sweet wines! When our tutor first got out the sweet wines I very confidently said “YUK!” In general I don’t have a sweet tooth at all, I will always order the cheese board above all desserts and would just continue with the red wine, but now I’ve discovered a little sweet wine either with a dessert or with cheese is delicious.
WSET Level 2 – know the amount of love and effort that has gone into making wine
Level 2 was far more in depth and although pretty tough on a brain, which has been out of education for a while, it was exciting to be learning so much again. The process of making wine is incredible all the different factors that go into growing grapes and then of course making the wine. A million things could go wrong and it humbles me to know when I’m glugging down a glass of wine, the amount of love and effort that has gone into making it. It’s humbling to think that there are winemakers all over the world striving to make the best, each one creating different wines, we discussed English sparkling wines and I was fascinated to hear that we’re producing some of the very best sparkling wines in the world. Due to climate change England now has very similar weather to that of Champagne when Champagne was making its very best! I’ve been inspired to go on a sparkling wine tour of the UK! It didn’t take much persuasion…
WSET Level 2 – thinking of signing up?
If you’re thinking of signing up to any of the WSET courses then do it! It doesn’t matter whether you just have an interest in learning about wine or you’re working towards your qualifications and looking for a career; these courses and the tutors running them are a fantastic way to learn more about wine in a fun, supportive learning environment. I was surprised at how much I learnt in a short amount of time, this is credit to the fantastic tutors and the way in which the courses are paced. I really would recommend making sure you do the pre-course reading, the jump from level 1 to level 2 is pretty steep but the joy of getting a good qualification at the end of it made all the hard work and pre-exam cramming worth it!
If you are interested in signing up for a course with Enjoy Discovering Wine, please email our Course Administrator.