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It has never been easier to pick up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or become an expert on something you’re passionate about, and the world of wine is no exception. The best online wine classes allow you to learn the ins and outs of wine production, different grapes, and the industry as a whole.
If you're interested in learning more about one of the world's oldest beverages, we compiled a selection of the best online wine classes.
Champagne lovers and curious students can immerse themselves in a brief but in-depth learning experience on the history of making this revered sparkling beverage.
Two modules available, including free version
Available in several languages with subtitles
For a completion certificate, must pass paid module
Some students may want a more rigorous course
If you’re looking to learn the ins and outs of Champagne, there are two courses offered by the CIVC that allow you the perfect opportunity to do so. The Classic version (free) covers the winemaking process as well as the Champagne region’s terroir, history, and economy, along with a diversity and tasting module. The Premium version (roughly $58) builds upon the Classic version’s curriculum, adding extra videos, testing, and a statement of completion at the end. Both courses are offered in English and French, with subtitles available in seven additional languages.
Best for Service Industry:
SommDay School Service Workshop (Napa Valley Wine Academy)
In this course created by famed Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser, students will be able to take an award-winning, self-led approach to learning while honing their skills for future sommelier exams.
High pass rate
Opportunity to engage on portal with other students and professors
Students must be self-starters
Does not offer an at-home tasting wine kit
Developed by master sommelier Tim Gaiser for Napa Valley Wine Academy, SommDay is a two-phase wine course consisting of a seven-hour Service Workshop ($69) and a Deductive Tasting ($149) portion. This course duo is for hospitality professionals looking to hone their service and tasting skills, as well as individuals hoping to become sommeliers. Through these intensive workshops, students can learn what it is like to be a sommelier by developing skills such as improving their tableside manner and sensory perception.
For those seeking a more specialized experience, Napa Valley Wine Academy’s one-on-one online coaching sessions put its panel of experts at your fingertips. To take the course, choose a mentor and book a time slot to begin your personalized 30- or 60-minute session based on holes that need filling in your knowledge or your general future career goals.
Best for Palate Training:
Sensory Techniques for Wine Analysis (UC Davis)
Led by expert winemaker John Buechsenstein, participants learn the components of tasting wine and how to set up wine flights, with a peer review at the end of the course.
Parts of class are free
Led in English with multiple subtitles available
In-depth techniques on how to taste wine and create food/wine pairings
15-hour course requirement may be time-consuming
As student advances, there are costs for modules
Cannot extend deadlines
UC Davis and Coursera have teamed up for this free sensory wine course designed for beginners looking to get a full-spectrum understanding of how the senses interpret wines. Winemaker John Buechsenstein takes students through wine-tasting techniques, sensory vocabulary, wines of the world, flight building, pairings, and common faults and defects found in wines, concluding with a final peer review. Students complete the course on their preferred timeline; four to six weeks is the goal.
Best for Wide Recognition:
WSET Awards and Diploma in Wines,
Studying at WSET comes with award-winning, international recognition, alongside highly regarded knowledge into wine, spirits, and sake.
Students have access to materials for up to one year
Wine education for all levels and professions
Access to educator for feedback
Online classes only offered in English
Higher level classes must be taken in person
Self-paced with no live content
Founded in 1969, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s Award and Diploma programs are among the most widely recognized accreditations in the wine industry. On its website, there are more than 800 providers for its various wine, spirits, and sake courses, across over 70 countries and in numerous languages, and many of these providers offer online options.
Now that these providers have had to adapt more than ever to digital demand, WSET is stepping up its game accordingly to enhance the online learning experience for students and educators, making its remote opportunities even more accessible than before. Students can enroll virtually to take the Level 1–3 Awards and the Level 4 Diploma through approved providers. The courses themselves consist of rigorous hands-on foundational curricula surrounding grape varieties, geography, tasting technique, service, pairing, appellations, commercial principles, and more.
WSET’s Level 1 Award is an excellent option for beginners but can be skipped by those who already hold a basic understanding of wine principles, in which case Level 2 would serve as an introductory course. Level 3’s sharper focus deepens product knowledge and prepares students for upper management, while Level 4 preps students for the prestigious Master of Wine Program. Each level concludes with an exam.
Learning the ins and outs of wine is much more attainable with the option of online courses. And depending on what you’re looking to learn, there are several options available in today’s online education market. For those oenophiles who want to learn more about the region and history of Champagne making, then a quick course with the Champagne MOOC may spark your interest. Or, for future sommelier students, studying with Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser at the SommDay School Service Workshop run by Napa Valley Wine Academy, may be a great fit. Whether you are looking for a quick course or a more rigorous certificate program, there are myriad options to teach wine lovers at all levels. Cheers.
What Is an Online Wine Class?
An online wine class is an educational tool designed to help you build upon your existing wine knowledge (or teach you the basics if you’re starting from scratch). You can learn about the world of wine from countless angles—tasting, theory, labeling, ordering at restaurants, best practices for service, and more. Some online wine courses are short-term and meant to be watched at your own pace, whereas others (like WSET’s various levels of wine studies) take place over a long period and adhere to a general schedule.
How Much Does an Online Wine Class Cost?
Some online classes about wine, like the Classic edition of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne series and the UC Davis tasting course on Coursera, are free to experience. Paid classes start around $60 and can reach the thousands if you choose a longer course of study with certification. Whether you are looking for something casual or professional, there is something for every goal and budget.
What’s the Difference Between an Online Wine Class and an Online Sommelier Class?
“Wine class” is a loose term that can cover both casual and professional courses. Using the term “sommelier class” denotes something more specific, usually for active sommeliers (or for those with an interest in becoming a sommelier) to sharpen their skills in their free time or to achieve a specific certification.
While researching this article, we searched the internet for a variety of online wine classes. We considered factors such as required time commitments, prices, availability, and other data points. Our goal was to include the best options for all different wine lovers, from Champagne drinkers to folks interested in refining their palate.