SWS School of Wine
Foundation Level
The purpose of this level is to introduce our students to the fundamentals of wine that will help them lay the foundation for expanding knowledge. Topics include tasting, viticulture, enology, grape varietals and wine service.
SESSION 1: Wine Tasting
This is an in-depth study of sight, nose, and palate assesment of wine.

In this session you will:

  • Develop a basic system with which to describe and evaluate wine professionally
  • Describe the visual aspects in wine including color, intensity and viscosity
  • Describe fruit, earth, and wood components in a wine
  • Assess the body, balance, finish, and overall quality in a wine
  • Identify potential faults in the wine
  • Asses structural component levels:
    • Acid
    • Alcohol
    • Sweetness
    • Tannins

Date: May 16, 2016
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm

SESSION 2: Grape Growing
An overview of what happens in the vineyard from a grape growing perspective.

In this session you will learn:

  • Vine physiology (the cycle of vine growth and photosynthesis)
  • Vineyard establishment (site evaluation, rootstock/grape selection, vine training, and spacing and trellising considerations)
  • Vineyard management (yield management, pruning and irrigation systems, mechanization in the vineyard, and frost protection considerations)
  • Green farming practices (Sustainable, Organic, Biodynamic)
  • Pest management (viruses, mildew and bunch rot, nematodes, and insect pests)

Date: May 23, 2016
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Class Textbook
* Exploring Wine: Completely Revised 3rd Edition
SESSION 3: Winemaking
An overview of the fundamental processes involved in the
winery from a winemaking perspective. This section covers in detail every step from the receiving of the grapes, the processing and fermentation of the juice, all the way to the aging, blending and packaging of the wine.

In this session you will learn:

  • All technical aspects of wine production with an emphasis on fermentation and pre/post-fermentation processes, options and strategies.
  • The impact of winemaking techniques on wine flavor and style
  • Regulations worldwide that restrict or approve various winemaking practices

Date: June 6, 2016
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm

SESSION 4: Varietal Basics
An exploration of the world’s major grape varieties with a particular emphasis on each grape’s profile and descriptors.

In this session you will learn:

  • The most widely planted premium grape varietals
  • Different grape varietals and where they are grown
  • Influence of climate and soil on wine style and quality
  • Major characteristics of the world’s top varietals
  • Vineyard challenges and adaptability
  • The importance of clone-selection
  • The use of different rootstocks, according to varietal

Date: June 13, 2016
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm

SESSION 5: Wine Sales & Service
In this session, we will be discussing and demonstrating proper aspects of professional wine service.

In this session you will learn:

  • Discuss wine service according to type of wine such as
    still wines, sparkling wines, as well as dessert wines and fortified wines.
  • Correct choice of glassware for each type of wine.
  • How to make wine recommendations and food pairing suggestions
  • Service psychology
  • Mis-en-place and proper equipment for professional wine service
  • Proper decanting technique

Date: June 20, 2016
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm


Signature Wine & Spirits / Direct Warehouse Sales
250 N. Artesian Ave., Chicago, IL 60612

For more information please call
(630) 685-3000, ext. 3621

Email: salvarado@southernwine.com
Click here to Register
$150 Enrollment Fee
*Includes Textbook