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Posted: Friday, 02 July 2010 13:55
Inching Towards London MW in Austria

Indians and other international students working towards the coveted MW title from the Institute of Masters Wine do not have to go to London for their course work, with the Austrian Wine Academy offering the course in English starting next year, informs Susanne Staggl, Marketing Manager of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB).

AWMB which is a 50% partner in the Rust (u pronounced like in full) based Weinakademie Österreich will launch its English language programme on International Wines and Spirits (in conjunction with WSET-London) in October this year. Austrian Wine Academy, the largest wine school in continental Europe is ready to launch its English language programme; they are already conducted several courses in German. The residential format allows one to experience Austria's wine regions and cuisine too.

Dr Josef Schuller MW, Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Academy and also the first-ever non UK Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine says: “This is an exciting new development which enables us to offer students from around the world the opportunity to study and progress from a solid professional level of wine, via the WSET Diploma, all the way to the Master of Wine Programme, here in this unique setting in Rust”.

Rust is a small picturesque town in Burgenland- one of the wine regions in Austria and ‘is directly located at Lake Neusiedl and close to the Hungarian border. Here we are amongst the wine region of Burgenland surrounded by leading wineries and also not far away from Vienna as well as the wine regions Thermen region and Carnuntum of Lower Austria. This offers a unique opportunity to visit several vineyards and wineries in the region, informs Irene Bachkönig, Weinakademiker, Product Manager of Weinakademie Österreich (Wine Academy of Austria).

The course covers the most important wine regions of the world and styles, including sparkling and fortified wines and a section on spirits, which the students are taught to critically understand and evaluate. It has been designed as a residential course and late afternoons and evenings are designated to workshops, visits to vineyards, wineries and educational tastings.

Advanced Course Fee, including lunches and all visits is €1290. The total course is spread over 9 days each with the following options:
11-15th October and 11 – 14th November 2010
14-18th March and 4-7th April 2011

Successful graduates of this course may then move on to the WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits, also an international trade qualification and known in Austria as Weinakademiker. This diploma is not only the stepping stone to join the programme to become a Master of Wine, only 285 of whom have reached the pinnacle, but in itself is a highly respected qualification in the world of wine and catapults the wine professional in his career in wine.

The accommodation in Rust is quite reasobale and ‘varies from € 30-40 for private rooms and guesthouses up to € 70-80 in the local hotels. We have special agreements with certain hotels in Rust for our students,’ said Irene in response to a query from delWine.

As the WSET site indicates, the advanced course is already conducted throughout the world. Isheeta Gupta, daughter of Ranjit Gupta of an Indian wine importer Amfora Wines, has just returned from London after spending a couple of weeks and giving the exams for the Advanced Course. ‘I believe some people are conducting the course in India too. One can do it through distance learning as well. But the tastings and discussions that took place in London, was something I feel have no substitute elsewhere.’

Austria may well offer similar surrounding, with an experience of over 20,000 students having attended some wine course or the other, including MW. It appears to be slightly more expensive than London. But cheaper stay, lovely, relaxed surroundings and an opportunity to visit Austrian vineyards would make it worthwhile preposition.

A word of caution though -don’t flaunt the Advanced Course as a sommelier  ‘qualification from WSET,’ certainly not in front of the diploma holders and never in front of an MW. Mere 7-9-or 12 days of intensive training-including tasting may not make you an expert. But the course is a stepping stone for the highly respected and meaningful Diploma after which you may decide if you can spare a few years to risk trying to become the first MW from India.

For details of the programme in Austria, visit www.weinakademie.at or write to Irene at i.bachkoenig@weinakademie.at

For details of the programme and registration, click HERE

 

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