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 1 Student -Suzanne Wood.
When you signed up for the WSET Level 1 in Wines course what did you want to have happen?
I entered a competition at the Winchester Wine Festival last year and won the place on the course. I hoped it would be the start of my journey to becoming a Master of Wine!
I’m a paediatric nurse so am used to tough days at work – wine has always been a good end to the day – but as I’ve got older I was curious as to what made a ‘good’ wine – why are some cheap and some very expensive? I’ve been lucky enough to try some expensive wines and loved them. I’ve been to a couple of wine fairs and seen the passion people have for wine and it’s rubbed off on me. Passion about what’s behind the taste of the wine – the different grapes, the types of conditions the grapes are grown in, the stories about the vineyard owners, the excitement of those pops of flavour that come when trying something new and fabulous… It’s a bit like stepping into a whole new bright world with so much to explore and learn and experience. A new world like an Aladdin’s cave of exciting flavours and stories about the vineyard owners, the provenance of the wine. I guess it would also be about being able to travel the world and visit the old and new world wine regions… Whether it be a hillside in the depths of Chile or a dusty dry vineyard in southern Italy… Being able to absorb the information by experiencing it. I think it would also be about being able to find the words to describe the flavours of the wine too.
What has changed since doing the course is a confidence in my own ability to taste wine – I used to think it as a skill that you either had or had not. Now I realise you can learn it. Learning to pair the wine to the food was an eye opener – I’ve spent years thinking I must of had enough wine when I had a post dinner chocolate and the wine then tasted horrible! Now I know to move onto a sweet wine to complement the chocolate – and that the flavours in the food should bring out the best of the flavours in the wine.
I enjoyed learning about different grape varieties. We had a snapshot of the many varieties of grapes that make wine, I discovered about different regions and blends – I look forward to learning more. I enjoyed the variety of people on the course – it was amazing to see how wine reaches so far and wide – from a Russian oligarch’s super yacht to a local five-star hotel.
I’d like to learn more about the different varieties of grapes… The common ones and the rarer ones. I want to understand how grape varieties can be blended to make a new taste.
And continue on your journey to Master of Wine?
And what would you say to someone thinking about studying the WSET Level 1 wine course?
Go for it.