Now that your children are settled into school, it's time to get focused on your own education. And there's no better way to ease into the study habit than to register for a few wine courses. Get out your scissors, pen and corkscrew; it's back-to-school time.
Known for his engaging style and poor jokes, Simon Tam has been teaching Hong Kong's elite for more than a decade. More recently he launched his International Wine Centre programmes in Shanghai and Macau. Between his wine-consulting practice and trade-training programmes, it's hard to catch Tam, but this autumn you can expect a series of Saturday programmes to include
a vertical tasting of Taylor's vintage port; a comparative tasting of rose champagne; a Grange vs Hill of Grace challenge; and a single-vineyard comparison of famed California producer Kistler's Chardonnay (tel: 2549 0181; email@example.com).
Sopexa, the promotional arm of the French food and wine industry, is offering an eight-session series, titled French Wine Appreciation with the Experts. The programme content includes tuition on Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley, Champagne, Burgundy, Alsace, the Loire Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon, among others, with each presented by a different instructor (including yours truly), all of whom have established wine expertise. Courses can be taken individually or for the full eight weeks at a discount (tel: 2866 7163; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kevin Tang, a member of the Society of Wine Educators, operates the Concord Institute of Wine. The institute offers programmes in conjunction with the Open University, the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA) and the Skills Upgrading Scheme. Courses range from leisure-styled wine appreciation pro-grammes to courses qualified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (tel: 2239 3585; www.concordwines.com.hk/education/index.htm).
A number of Hong Kong wine educators are licensed to provide programmes crafted by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), an organisation based in Britain. The WSET was established in 1969 to raise the standard of wine expertise in the London wine trade. These days, its programmes are offered in 38 countries, though there is still a heavy emphasis on wine regions and styles popular in the British market. Students can achieve qualifications at various levels - foundation, intermediate and advanced certificates - culminating in the WSET diploma, which entails two years of study.
The team of tutors at the Asia Wine Service & Education Centre (AWSEC) runs a popular range of courses in Central, usually at the YWCA Centre on MacDonnell Road. Vincrest International, under the same company, will offer an array of WSET programmes this autumn as well as courses specialising in Bordeaux under the auspices of L'Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux. Its bordeaux series ranges from a two-hour introductory course through three increasingly detailed course series or - for the time-challenged - an intensive full-day Bordeaux Wine Universe course (tel: 2964 0188; email@example.com).
Some adult-kids are nervous or feel a little scared on the first day of school, but don't let that you stop you. Wine courses are entertaining, interactive and guaranteed to add pleasure to your life. See you at graduation.