Great post Andrew. 

I believe that in becoming educated about wine their are two routes. One, no doubt, is to practice sensory evaluation. The other is to drink coffee and study. Each are equally important and build off the other. 

Currently, there are plenty of opportunities to practice your sensory evaluation skills at MSU. G.L.V.C. offers advanced wine tastings, Mike Heberlien's "Translating Wine Series" offers wine tastings for students, LCC offers sensory evaluation in their modestly priced curriculum and if your lucky you'll find a buddy to throw a few bucks on a bottle with you each week. 

On the other hand, if you want to study to become a sommelier in this city, you'll find yourself somewhat alone. I didn't even know what a Sommelier was until I was a junior. It took me a lot of work to get involved in a network of people who have forgone the preparation to pass their Sommelier Certification Exams. Without their help and guidance I wouldn't have any understanding of the proper route to becoming a certified sommelier. 

Put simply, the Introductory Sommelier Certification Exam costs $495 to take and people fail it all the time. If sensory evaluation alone could prepare people to pass the exam, Spartan Wine Society wouldn't be dry. But passing takes sober effort, a network of people who have passed and a lot of coffee.



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