Santa Barbara

I recently decided to shift gears from “frequent drinker of wine whose tastes are just barely in the zip code of ‘discriminating'” to “serious oenophile with a thorough knowledge of the wine-producing world and the ability to both navigate the wine aisle and order a bottle for the table with confidence.” To that end, I’ve spent the past six months or so going to more wine tastings, trying wines outside of my comfort zone, and having my husband administer blind tastings on me. Basically, I love wine and everything about it—not just its admittedly anesthetic properties, but everything, from the history to the terroir to which glass will best reveal a Burgundy Grand Cru in all its glory.

In hopes of further formalizing my education, I started looking into various wine courses, exams, and certifications. There’s a community college in Dallas that offers a twelve-week sommelier course, and there are a few other programs in the area as well, ranging from single-day crash courses to months-long intensive training in all things vino. After much investigation and speaking with a few industry insiders, I realized that “all roads lead to Rome,” as they say, but for my purposes, all roads pointed toward the Court of Master Sommeliers.

I’ll save the nitty-gritty details of the CMS Introductory Course and Exam for my next post, but suffice to say, I was eager to take the Level 1 exam (the Court has four levels, the fourth being one of the world’s most notoriously difficult exams) and since it wasn’t being offered in the Dallas area anytime soon, I decided to look at the cities where it was being offered and pick one where I’d enjoy spending a few days. I spotted a December date in Laguna Beach and it was a done deal. I registered for the course and decided to build a weekend getaway for my husband and myself into the trip. More