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Perhaps wine writers should pass exams, too

Published:  18 January, 2007

Having recently returned from a long educational trip to the wine regions of New Zealand, I have only just seen Malcolm Gluck's comments in his article The write stuff' (Harpers,
13 October).

In it, he speaks of so-called wine educators', implying that some feel they are less worthy members of the CWW.

As chairman of the Association of Wine Educators (AWE), I would like to point out that there is nothing so-called' about the members of our organisation. We are wine educators who educate people about wine for a living.

To be a member of the AWE you need to possess the WSET Diploma or equivalent, and some of our members are Masters of Wine.

You then have to be assessed actually giving a wine presentation to ensure that your wine knowledge is also underpinned by practical experience and ability. What qualifications do you need to call yourself a wine writer,

I wonder?

In an industry that is constantly talking about the benefits of wine education it seems we are, in reality, often treated as the poor relation. However, I must admit I am surprised at this attitude from one who usually seeks to lampoon wine snobbery.

Perhaps one reason for the constant subtle undermining that goes on concerning wine education is that it makes those people who don't have any feel defensive.

Knowledge gives the consumer the confidence to make up his or her own mind about a wine, instead of relying on a points system, which is often the result of one individual's opinion.

It frees them from a dependence on over-simplistic wine guides - and for those people whose main ability seems to be the skill of self-promotion, I can see this would be seriously threatening.

Susan Hulme MW


Association of Wine Educators