Enjoy Discovering Wine

Former WSET Level 2 Student – Thomas Holden

Each month, Erica interviews one of Enjoy Discovering Wine‘s former WSET student’s and the article is featured here. This month Erica has interviewed former WSET Level 2 Student – Thomas Holden.

When you signed up for the WSET Level 2 in Wines and Spirits what did you want to have happen?

When signing up for the WSET Level 2 I wanted to enhance my knowledge of wines and spirits, as although I knew the basics from having previously worked in many restaurants I never truly understood the wine, just the terminology and what to say when a customer asked for a recommendation, but that should not have been the case as I wanted to converse at the table with the guest about wines and their origins, as it’s such a fascinating topic.

The way in which the course was organised worked extremely well, we covered such a variety of wines and regions I was worried that I would not have been able to retain all of the information, however I had no need to worry as Erica’s method of teaching was fantastic.  I was unaware of the vast amount of grape varieties and regions, for example, yes I knew that there is Californian wine however it was interesting to understand how the wine produced is different from a region near the coast in comparison to a wine produced in a vineyard inland. Coastal California is cooler, so in turn the wine produced will typically have a lighter body, less tannin and less ripe fruit flavour but more of a citrus/fresh fruit flavours. Yet more inland where the climate is warm, the sugar content in the wine will be higher so the wine will be more alcoholic and have a fuller body.

Because I knew that there would be a differentiation between the wine dependent on location, I found it fascinating how much of a difference there is, as there are so many factors that coincide with one another in order to give the wine its (properties/characteristics); factors such as the weather as it plays a majorly important role and so does the climate, the soil type and environmental factors. And before I had obtained the WSET qualification I was oblivious to the fact that the main wine growing regions lie on the tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn.

Since the course, I joined the Wine Society at Bournemouth University as Marketing and Events Executive where I organised a visit to Furleigh Estate after Erica’s recommendation and it did not disappoint as the entire society had a fantastic day. Erica also hosted a tasting event for the society to give novices a basic understanding, and fun was definitely had by all.  Furthermore the course has been a wonderful asset to my CV as I am currently in my second year at Bournemouth University and have been applying for a placement within the hospitality industry as part of my sandwich degree; I have been offered multiple placements within 5* Hotels in London and abroad and in every single interview the WSET qualification has been mentioned by the interviewer as an advantage. After much deliberation I chose to undertake my placement at Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, where I will be working in multiple departments and after discovering that I have a new found love in Port after the tastings with Erica, I’m thoroughly excited that Porto is only a 3 hour drive from Lisbon.

So what would you say to someone thinking of studying wine?

I would definitely recommend studying wine, especially to those wanting to pursue a career in the hospitality industry and even to people who just have a love for it. This qualification is extremely beneficiary as it gives you the knowledge and confidence to converse with guests in a restaurant, I can instantly pick a good bottle of wine off a shelf in a supermarket and more to the fact I can now enjoy a glass of wine. Furthermore the majority of the world likes to think of themselves as a wine connoisseur as they think that they are masters of pairing food with wine, but there is so much more to the art of pairing. I am ever so thankful that I studied wine, not only because it has augmented my CV but I can now say that I understand it.