Sunday, July 25, 2010

Certified Specialist of Wine

I always find it interesting that the more that you learn about something you realize how little you actually know about that subject. I thought I knew a fair bit about wine so that is why I decided to become a member of the Society of Wine Educators (SWE) and assess my knowledge by taking the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) Exam. The SWE aims to advance wine education through professional development and certification. The SWE offers three tiers of certification: the CSW program, the Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) program, and the Certified Educator of Wine (CWE) program.

The CSW credential assesses and certifies “that the holder has attained a broad base of knowledge about wine equivalent to a mid-level wine professional.” The CSW credential is awarded to individuals who answer at least 75 out of 100 questions on a comprehensive exam within 60 minutes. They say that this exam does not require an in-depth knowledge of any particular wine area but a basic understanding of the full spectrum of wine topics. This knowledge can be achieved through self-study, though the SWE offers a 250-page study guide and an online wine academy to prepare candidates for the exams. The exam gauges knowledge in a variety of wine themes: physiology of taste and tasting procedures; wine composition and chemistry; wine faults; grape varieties; viticulture (grape growing); wine production (still, sparkling and fortified); wine labels and laws; world wine regions (including France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany, central and eastern Europe, U.S. and North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa); the U.S. wine industry; wine and health; wine service and etiquette; and food and wine pairing.

Well, I thought to myself that this sounded easy enough. After I took a sample test, I realized that I had a lot of studying to do before my exam at the end of August! Do you think that you know a bit about wine? Try for yourself. Here is the first half of the sample test. I will post the answers and the second half of the test in a few days. If you answer at least 7/10 correctly, you are on your way to possibly being a Certified Specialist of Wine!

1. Which of the following is a commune appellation in the Beaujolais?
a. Fleurie
b. Listrac
c. Margaux
d. Moulis
2. The process by which sugars and malic acid are broken down by the grapevine and used as energy is called:
a. Photosynthesis
b. Respiration
c. Translocation
d. Transpiration
3. All of the following are subregions of Chianti DOCG except:
a. Colli Fiorentini
b. Colli Sensei
c. Collio Goriziano
d. Montalbano
4. All of the following are subregions of Rioja except:
a. Rioja Alavesa
b. Rioja Alta
c. Rioja Baja
d. Rioja Classico
5. Compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc:
a. Ripens earlier
b. Has more tannin
c. Has more pigment
d. Is less herbal
6. All of the following sugars are found in grapes except:
a. Fructose
b. Glucose
c. Sucrose
d. Xylose
7. What are the four categories of place of origin for classified wine in Germany, in order from largest to smallest?
a. Anbaugebiet, Bereich, Einzellage, Grosslage
b. Anbaugebiet, Bereich, Grosslage, Einzellage
c. Bereich, Anbaugebiet, Einzellage, Grosslage
d. Bereich, Anbaugebiet, Grosslage, Einzellage
8. Most of the vineyard acreage in Argentina is located:
a. In the east around Buenos Aires
b. In the north along the border with Bolivia and Paraguay
c. In the south in Patagonia
d. In the west in the foothills of the Andes
9. Which of the following is located in Western Australia?
a. Yarra Valley
b. Margaret River
c. Rutherglen
d. Eden valley
10. Which of the following appellations is only allowed to produce white or sparkling wine under AOC law?
a. Cornas
b. Crozes-Hermitage
c. Hermitage
d. St-Péray

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