Learn Wine Basics with These Online Courses
Updated: May 19, 2020
Evaluation of 5 online wine courses taught by experts that will help you learn the basics of wine. These courses are perfect for wine novices and enthusiasts.
There comes a point in every wine journey when you just want to have better knowledge about wine. You want to have confidence in selecting wine at the store or in a restaurant without being so overwhelmed. You want to confidently pair your wine with food for your dinner parties to wow your guests.
I get it because I’ve been there too. I’ve got 5 great wine courses that will help you build that foundational knowledge so that you can be a Wine Boss!
I’ve evaluated these 5 wine courses so that you can choose the best one given the time and cost commitment, and level of information you’ll receive. You can take all of this into consideration, given where you are on your wine journey.
Affiliate links are included for a couple of the courses. If you click on a link and make a purchase, Common Grape will earn a small amount. Your cost is the same with or without the link. Enjoy!
Jancis Robinson’s Shortcuts to Success
You can’t go wrong with investing the $10 sale price on this course. It gives a fantastic introduction and overview to learn wine basics. In just a short time you’ll gain great knowledge about what makes wine special, how to taste wine, resources to help you purchase a great wine, and more.
The course is taught by Jancis Robinson who is a Master of Wine, a British Wine Critic, and she advises the Queen as a member of the Royal Household Wine Committee. How cool is that?! You know she has to have impeccable taste for pairing food with fabulous wine if she’s advising the Queen.
The course is very much geared towards the wine novice and enthusiast. It includes quizzes along the way to test what you’ve just learned which actually makes it fun and interactive.
It’s offered at an unbeatable sale price with a relatively short time commitment of 3.5 hours and you’ll get a great overview to understand wine better. This would be a great place to start building your foundational wine knowledge.
If you can’t get this course at a discounted price, I would wait for it to go on sale or give one of the other courses in this post a try. The regular price of $199 is pretty steep when there are other resources available at a better value.
Jancis Robinson’s Shortcuts to Success access via Udemy $199 on sale $9.99 3.5 hours Content Covered: • Welcome (7 mins) • Understand the wonderful world of wine and its journey from grape to glass (47 min) • How to taste wine like a professional and have a sensational sensory experience (39 min) • Choose and by wine confidently – must try wines and avoiding costly mistakes (42 min) • Wine in the real world – become a wine expert in every social situation (21 min) • The essential tools, tricks, and techniques for all budding wine experts (50 min) • How to take your new-found wine knowledge to the next level (1 min)
Andrea Robinson’s Wine Course
This course focuses on the 7 Noble Grapes which is why I like this one. It keeps you focused by simplifying to fewer wines while helping you learn wine basics that can be applied across other wines.
This course is taught by Andrea Robinson a Master Sommelier. This is a great 2-hour Wine Course available for FREE on YouTube. That’s my kind of price! I feel like this is a hidden, secret gem that I stumbled upon because it was created a few years ago, but the information is solid and still very relevant so I had to share it!
She talks very quickly but provides fantastic information focused on the 7 Noble Grapes. She explains how the wine style, region, and climate affect the characteristics of wine. She explains how to read wine labels, how to taste wine, and the typical descriptions for these wines.
She walks through the key French regions, which grapes are grown there, and the winemaking process. She explains how to create tasting notes as well. It’s the perfect way to start building foundational knowledge without investing any hard-earned money.
If you like her teaching style, she has other wine courses on her website, AndreaWine.com, that you can access after paying a membership fee of $29.95/year. Not a bad price for the level of information she offers.
Andrea Robinson’s Wine Course access via YouTube FREE 2 hours Content Covered: • Wine Styles • French Wine Regions • Effects of Climate on Wine • Wine Making Process • How to Read Wine Labels • How to Taste Wine • Typical Descriptions for Each of the 7 Noble Grapes • How to Create Tasting Notes
Wine Styles Tasting Course from Winefolly.com
Madeline at Wine Folly is always fun to learn from. She is a certified sommelier and award-winning author and wine communicator. She teaches in a very entertaining way while focusing on wine basics for the novice and enthusiast. Just check out any of her videos from her website to get a feel for her style.
She has structured the course so that you taste the wines right along with her. I think that is one of the most important ways to learn about wine. Understanding how to describe taste is very difficult to do. By tasting the same wine right along with her, you can tie her descriptions of the wine to the flavors you are experiencing and it will make much more sense to you.
The course wine packages are sold on wine.com. This makes it super easy to purchase the wine with the course. All you need to do is select the package of 3 or 6 bottles of wine which comes with the Wine Styles Tasting Course created by WineFolly.com. The materials include tasting cards, maps, and 2+ hours of video course content.
Wine Styles Tasting Course from WineFolly.com access via Wine.com 3 bottles + Wine Styles Tasting Course: $80 6 bottles + Wine Styles Tasting Course: $170 2+ hours Wine Folly offers additional wine course packages without the wine (you buy the bottles locally) on their website, but they are currently sold out. Content Covered: • How to Navigate a Wine Menu • How to Taste Wine Like a Pro • Learn Wine Label Terms that Signify Quality • Learn Where to Look for Great Quality and Value
The Everyday Guide to Wine
This wine course changed everything for me. At the time I started taking this course, I had already tasted quite a variety of wine and knew what I liked and didn’t like (for the most part). But looking back, I was really just drinking wine. I didn’t truly understand it. I didn’t understand why I liked a certain wine and I didn’t understand the different wine characteristics. This course takes away all of that mystery.
The course is taught by Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan who is a Master of Wine. This is a designation that only a few hundred people hold in the world.
Jennifer teaches in a structured way that helps you actually learn wine basics. And the best part is that you taste wine right along with the lessons. Tasting the wine while she describes its typical characteristics, is the single best way to learn about wine.
Jennifer does a great job of walking through all of these elements. While she may not be totally charismatic, she is real and provides very valuable insights. That said there is a time commitment to this one and an investment beyond the price of the course because it’s beneficial to purchase the wine for each lesson (which I recommend).
To give you an idea, many of the region-specific lessons include 6 bottles of wine (3 white and 3 red). A quick tip is to split these lessons into two sessions. Taste the white wines first, then at a later time taste the red wines. That way you don’t have 6 bottles open at once. Unless you are doing the lesson with a group, then have each person bring a bottle and open away!
The Everyday Guide to Wine access via The Great Courses $215 — currently bundled with the Instant Sommelier for $57.90 (scroll down to see the offer in the right side bar) 12.4 hours (24 lectures averaging 31 minutes each) Content Covered: • Why Learn about Wine? • A Taster’s Tool Kit • Winemaking – From Vineyard to Harvest to Bottle • The Whites – Riesling to Chardonnay • The Reds – Pinot Noir to Cabernet • What to Drink with Dessert • French Regions • Wine of Northern & Southern Italy • The Tastes of Germany and Austria • The Tastes of Spain and Portugal • U.S. Regions • Sampling Argentina and Chile • The Best of Australia and Tasmania • Wines of New Zealand and South Africa • Becoming a Knowledgeable Wine Buyer • Wine for Any Occasion and Any Food
James Suckling: Wine Appreciation MasterClass
I’m sure many of you have seen MasterClass advertised on Facebook and elsewhere. I was definitely intrigued by this Wine Appreciation Course taught by the infamous Wine Critic, James Suckling. It’s very interesting to hear how a wine critic views wine and the rating system that is meant to help consumers identify quality wine.
He provides a lot of great insights and tips. The course comes with downloadable PDFs that provide more insight into the topics along with tasting notes. The notes include a list of wine tasted in the course so you can purchase the wine or something similar and tie the flavors you’re tasting with the descriptions he uses.
I think it would help to have some foundational wine knowledge before taking this course, but you can still gain valuable insights whether you’re completely new to wine or not. The one element lacking for me is an overall structure for understanding the characteristics of wine. This is something that is presented very well with The Everyday Guide to Wine and with Andrea Robinson’s Wine Course.
James Suckling: Wine Appreciation MasterClass access via MasterClass 2 passes for $180 (All-access to MasterClass for 1 year) Single Class $90 2.5 hours Content Covered: • Intro (3 mins) • Tasting Techniques: Conducting a Blind Tasting (22 mins) • Discerning Flavors & Aromas: Student Tasting Experience (30 mins) • Meet the Maker: An Introduction (5 mins) • Appreciation on location Part 1: A vertical Tasting (15 mins) • Appreciation on location Part 2: Barrel Tasting (6 mins) • Primary Factors of Influence: In the Vineyard (14 mins) • Storing and Curating: A Home Cellar (15 mins) • Education and Etiquette: Reading a Wine List (16 mins) • Breaking the Rules of Pairings: A Tuscan Luncheon (16 mins) • Closing (2 mins)
Summary: Selecting the Best Wine Course for You
If you are ready to take your wine knowledge to the next level, any of these courses will be beneficial. If you learn best by having information shared in a structured format, then I’d recommend The Everyday Guide to Wine and Andrea Robinson’s free Wine Course. Because describing taste is very difficult, I find it incredibly helpful to taste the wine along with the instructor so that you can tie their descriptions to what you are tasting.
Best wishes on the next step of your wine journey! And let us know in the comments if you take any of these courses. I’d love to hear what you thought of them!