Each month, Erica interviews one of Enjoy Discovering Wine‘s former WSET students and the article is featured here. This month Erica has interviewed former WSET Level 2 Distance Learning Student – Paul Dixon.
When you signed up for the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits what did you want to have happen?
When I signed up, I wanted to gain a greater understanding of the basics of both wine making, tasting and the different styles, varieties and grapes. I wanted my basic knowledge to improve and develop so that I was confident in my ability to understand both restaurant wine lists and supermarket/wine merchant shelves. I wanted the course to be structured in a way that I could study at my own pace with deadlines I could manage around my work and lifestyle, reading over the course book whilst making some notes, alongside external sources and some tastings.
Having been a relative novice I knew that study into the world of wine was going be a large diverse subject. However I was unaware quite to the quantity of grape varieties, different types of production methods used and the overall styles of wine, this alongside the diverse and numerous countries involved, both old and new world, made it a fascinating experience. The study material gives good concise detail into the main grape varieties which enables development of a fine understanding of the main types and styles. It’s only when you start to piece these together with the other criteria; location, climate, red/white, production methods etc. you begin to realise that the subject is vast.
However I understand there is still much knowledge to learn and take on, yet from a standing start I now feel much more knowledgeable and confident and I’m excited to be involved in further study in due course.
How did you find doing the course via Distance Learning?
Distance learning enabled me to work at my own pace and manage my own timescales and deadlines.
Working in Finance I was studying purely for personal development and achievement. I found I was able to fit in study easily during quiet evenings or leisurely Sunday afternoons (with a glass or two to taste of course). This enabled me to complete the course whilst only taking one day off work – for the exam.
Did you find the tutorial day useful?
The tutorial day was great and was just what I needed to finalise my studies. Having a young family I’ll admit I couldn’t do as many tastings as I would have perhaps liked to at home!! The full day course enabled me to taste and discuss 18 wines of varying style, quality and taste. Under the expert guidance of Erica it was a great day, relaxed, enjoyable and thoroughly informative.
How are you using your WSET Level 2 Award?
I feel completing the Level 2 qualification has given me the confidence to make those ‘crucial’ decisions and choices on both restaurant wine lists and also supermarket/merchant shelves. I never want to become the ‘wine snob’ guy at the dinner table who thinks he knows it all – and invariably doesn’t – but it’s nice to feel you have a good level of understanding, whether you choose to share this with others or not is personal preference. I remain realistic that there is plenty more to learn to become anywhere near a ‘wine aficionado’ however know I can continue along the path to expertise in the future via the Level 3 and Diploma, which is an exciting prospect.
If you are interested in signing up for a course with Enjoy Discovering Wine, please email our Course Administrator.