I've posted before about one of my exams for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma. This is a program that consists of 6 units, each with its own exam. Most exams include a theory portion and a tasting portion. I have been working on the Diploma for 3 years, which is probably on the low side of average. I received word today that I passed the research paper I submitted a couple of months ago, which marks the end of the program for me. I am elated to report that I am now the proud bearer of the DWS (Diploma in Wine and Spirits) credential. Hooray! Between class time, home study, and tasting (which is not always fun, and does not usually involve drinking when it's done for study purposes), I have easily spent over a thousand hours working toward this goal. It has been both fun and grueling, and has happened at the expense of my personal life at times, but it has been extremely rewarding. The reward has been particularly great because I have been fortunate to be one of the few people to pass every unit on my first attempt. This feat has not come easily to me, but I have been fanatically dedicated in my preparations. There have been times when I thought the level on knowledge required was not attainable in the time I had, but as each exam has approached, I've felt better and better, as the ideas that comprise the bigger pictures have firmed up in my mind. I did delay taking the biggest, most difficult exam until 6 months after my first opportunity to take it, but I had gotten married and gone on my honeymoon in the period leading up to the first chance, so I felt good about that decision.
I am trying to enjoy this moment for what it is, but I find myself looking forward more than anything. As much as I want to think "this is great!", I keep thinking about how small the accomplishment has been relative to what will likely be my next step, the Master of Wine study program. I'm still considering the commitment that the MW program will be, but it has been a goal of mine for quite some time, so I think I should give it a try. I don't look forward to again giving up a major part of my social life, this time for at least another 3 years, but if I can achieve a goal that will bring with it that much more satisfaction and the most impressive wine credential that exists (at least tied with Master Sommelier), I'm sure it will be worthwhile.
So, now I'm looking forward to going home and celebrating with something nice. I mean wine, of course.? I'm going to start with a Krug Champagne and see where that takes us.? To me, nothing says celebration like Krug. My wife and I shared a 1996 on our wedding day, and I have another bottle of the same vintage waiting for an anniversary (10th, 15th, or 20th, depending on how patient I can be). Tonight it will be their entry level multivintage, but "entry level" is only on the lofty scale of the house of Krug, who have always been fanatical about producing only wines of extremely high quality. Maybe there is some parallel there, in that great things can happen with the appropriate level of effort and dedication. I'll probably move on to a 1999 Cornas after that, because it's been calling my name since I tried the first bottle a couple of months ago.
Anyway, please forgive that I've used this platform to toot my own horn a bit. I hope it didn't come off as too much of that. I am extremely satisfied with my accomplishment, excited and nervous for the future, and looking forward to sharing a great Champagne with friends and my wife. I wanted to share a bit of that with whomever cared to read about it. Thanks. July 2013