Virtual Wine School (virtualwine.co.uk) is announcing a historic first in the field of wine education: a fully virtual sommelier certification program. The program is available throughout the United Kingdom and worldwide.
The program is being released in partnership with the National Wine School of America. "There is a reason this hasn't been attempted before," says Alana Zerbe, the Director of Wine Education. "Training people to be able to blind taste remotely was universally thought to be impossible. It was only after a breakthrough early in 2020 did we crack the code."
The online wine program includes sixteen classes, at-home guided wine tastings. online textbooks, and a series of four sommelier exams. The classes are streamed live with Alana Zerbe as the featured instructor.
Using their propriety process, the National Wine School can test and certify sommelier candidates remotely. Development of the process took years. The breakthrough only came during the pandemic, when the school was forced to innovate due to the shutdowns.
Success was followed by six months of bench trials with actual sommelier candidates. The results were stunning: the online sommelier programs were as effective in training and certifying wine professionals as in-person training.
A fantastic byproduct of this innovation is lower pricing. The school is offering its online programs at half of what the in-person programs cost. The Online Core Sommelier Certification program is priced at US$550, down from the US$1,100 price tag of its in-person program.
The National Wine School is one of the top-ranked sommelier accreditation agencies within the United States.