Italian Wine Central was launched in January 2014 and is quickly gaining traction in insider wine education circles as the most up-to-date resource on Italian wine. Italian Wine Central co-founder Geralyn Brostrom, former Director of Education for the Society of Wine Educators, with a background in adult educational techniques and nearly a decade of experience in the Italian wine import business, was the perfect partner for San Francisco Wine School to pilot a brand new credential program for Italian wine.
This program is geared toward those who work in retail, restaurant, import, and distribution roles, but is also ideal for wine writers, educators, and avid connoisseurs who wish to increase their knowledge of Italian wine. Anyone who likes Italian wine but wants some help in understanding Italian wine labels, expanding their horizons in choosing wines on a wine list, or appreciating the differences between the myriad Italian wine styles can enjoy and benefit from the IWP course.
The Italian Wine Professional is a ten-week program, consisting of nine educational sessions and tastings followed by an exam. The material is comprehensive, and seminars are delivered at a fast pace, requiring a commitment to learning on the part of the student. Successful candidates earn the IWP credential.
The IWP Certificate and Credential
All students who complete a class project satisfactorily, achieve a score of 80 or higher on the exam, and have not missed more than two class sessions will receive a certificate of achievement in Italian Wine Studies and be designated Italian Wine Professionals; a score of 90 is required to achieve honors status.
While the certificate in Italian Wine Studies is a permanent accomplishment, the IWP credential was designed to meet a need in the marketplace by certifying knowledgeable professionals who are current in key aspects of the evolving Italian wine world. Refresher training seminars will be offered both online and at approved provider schools to help IWPs stay current by brushing up on the core knowledge from the original course and learning about changes that have occurred in the meantime. The IWP credential remains valid indefinitely as long as the holder has taken the IWP course or refresher training within the previous five years.
Who Should Take the IWP Course?
The IWP course is recommended for anyone who wants to certify their knowledge base on the subject of Italian wine. A basic level of understanding about how wine is made and wine terminology will be assumed. The program is designed to bring Italian wines into focus and provide confidence in order to discuss Italian wine at a professional level.
The course is highly recommended for all wine professionals who have Italian wine sales as one of their job requirements and who do not currently feel comfortable with their Italian wine knowledge. The IWP is also appropriate for wine consumers who like Italian wine but have little experience with it. In addition, the IWP makes a perfect first step to get on solid ground regarding Italian wine before tackling high-level general credentials (e.g., Advanced Sommelier, WSET Diploma, etc.) or advanced Italian wine study.
The Italian Wine Central Philosophy
The guiding principle of the IWP course is to teach students what they need to know about Italian wine first, not everything there is to know about it all at once. By avoiding the natural tendency to pack in too much information, this program keeps sight of the relevance of Italian wine knowledge. IWP instructors display their passion and emotion for Italian wine but maintain the focus on the crucial information, dispelling the myth that Italian wine is far too complicated.
The IWP is meant to give students a familiarity with the major Italian grape varieties, appellations, and wine styles—information that gives people the ability to hold their own in a discussion of Italian wine. As the leading English-language source of up-to-date, accurate, and easily navigable information about Italian wine, Italian Wine Central is dedicated to the concept that—once you have a firm grasp of the fundamentals—it is perfectly acceptable to look up the facts about the less common Italian wines and grapes. The IWP credential testifies to its holders’ comprehension of Italian wine fundamentals.