So Ya Wanna Be a French Wine Scholar?


Woo hoo! If there were any presses left in the journalism industry, I’d hold ‘em!  I’ve been invited to enroll in an online French Wine Scholar program!


My homies, especially the ones who repair large pieces of manufacturing equipment, already think that I’m a bit of a wanker because of my interest in Alsatian gewürztraminer and my inability to name a single starter on the Detroit Pistons.  Do you suppose that the ol’ gang at  Doyle’s Tavern might develop some newfangled respect if I announced that I was officially a French Wine Scholar—three words which, other than ‘french fries’, have never before been used in their presence?


Chaa, rite…


Therefore, to avoid further embarrassment, the program will henceforth be referred to as the FWSP.


FWSP, Pros and Cons:


Here’s what I, or you, can expect to receive for our $285:


‘An eight-month online program that puts wine study into a measurable, meaningful format designed for maximum retention of content’.  OK, kids, nap-time’s over, put away your mats and blankies.


Here’s what we won’t get:


  1. A certificate
  2. Wine


The program pushers are quick to point out that if you want said certificate, which may or may not end up doused with Doyle’s Tavern draft Labatt’s as it’s being snobbishly displayed, there’s an additional fee of $270.  And that ‘tasting experience must be gained independently’.


Now, Rick Hamilton and broken two-thousand ton Ube extrusion presses aside, my wine interest is based on two primary premises: 1) I like the taste.  2) I like the effects.  All the esoteric background noise, the sommelier sermons and lieu-dit lectures, are mere place-holders meant to fill up awkward silences between glasses.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to dig the details, especially if a Jeopardy bet rides on Doyle’s wide-screen and the answer is ‘malbec’.  And when you are shopping for overpriced wine, it helps if you know your Basque from a hole in the barrel.


But developing genuine wine smarts is far more hands-and-nose-on than a book excursion; otherwise, you could become a pro basketball player by reading training manuals.

No judges here; to each his own and to own his each: If you got the equity, the inclination and the eight months, the FWSP might well be worth it.  On the other hand, here are  a couple alternative ways to spend the gate fee:


  • Six and a half bottles of 2006 Alain Hudelot-Noellat Clos de Vougeot
  • Two double magnums of 2007 Château Léoville Barton
  • A one way plane ticket to Bordeaux on Lufthansa.
  • An eight-minute overview of French wine plus a backrub and a bag of Doritos from this wine columnist.


Which do I recommend you opt for, the eight-month harangue or the eight-month hangover?


You don’t have to be a French Wine Scholar to guess.




or contact the French Wine Society by phone at 202-466-0808 or by email at



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2 Responses to So Ya Wanna Be a French Wine Scholar?

  1. Sheila says:

    We love her, and will only say fantastic thnigs! I’ve never had to work so closely with another teacher before, and she has been so helpful to me. I love that she takes ideas I offer and run with them, and that she offers ideas right back!

  2. This article went ahead and made my day.

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