The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, WSET, provides education and qualifications in wines for professionals and enthusiasts. Level 2 Award in Wines is an intermediate level qualification.
During the course we studied about wines, grape varieties of the world, the regions in which they are grown and the styles of wine they produce.
Through a combination of (a lot) wine tasting and theory we explored the quality, the style and how to describe the wines.
Emily O’ Hare
Our teacher for WSET level 2 is Emily O’Hare. Emily is wine writer, sommelier and she teaches WSET courses in Tuscany. Originally she’s from London but is now based in Siena.
I personally enjoyed the wine study and the courses with Emily. We had a lovely group. Some participants were from my FISAR Sommelier course and some people were new. It was a nice experience and definitely a do thing. I look forward to start soon with WSET level 3.
I got my classification! I passed my exam. Result 94% and Grade Pass with distinction. Now I have two wonderful certificates, FISAR Sommelier and WSET level 2 Award in Wines.
I still need to learn a lot more about wines. But I have a lot of interest and I am passionate about wine. I live in a wine growing area and I work in the tourism and wine business.
Frantoio means olive oil mill or olive oil press. Many olive oil producers rely on an external frantoio. Il Frantoio di Montepulciano is established in Montepulciano and counts 600 members. It is a farmers cooperative that supply members various services for the production of extra virgin olive oil.
Olive oil production in Siena
The olive groves are cultivated in the province of Siena. The gently rolling hills around Montepulciano are suitable for cultivating olive groves. The altitude of the hills are about 300-650 m above sea level.
In the province of Siena are many small producers who cultivate olive trees. The farmers take care of the plants by pruning and harvesting for having good olive oil every year.
After harvesting by hand or with mechanical shakers the farmers bring the olives in boxes to the olive mill “frantoio”. The olives are washed to remove dirt.
When ready, the olives will be crushed and pressed cold (26-28 degrees) in a modern machine.
Thanks to the cold press the olives keep their properties for a high quality extra virgin olive oil.
After the extraction of the oil, the olive oil will be soon packed in bottles, cans or in small tins.
Different types of olive oil
Il Frantoio di Montepulciano produces different types of high quality olive oils. Olive oil extra virgin from il Frantoio di Montepulciano is obtained from the olive varieties Leccino, Frantoio and Moraiolo.
Olio Extravergine di Oliva 100% Italiano
Oil produced with a range of traditional Tuscan olive varieties and other Italian olives (Puglia).
Olio Extravergine di Oliva DOP Terre di Siena
DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) guarantees the area of production and qualitative characteristics of the olives. Olio extravergine di Oliva DOP Terre di Siena is a very high quality olive oil.
Olio Extravergine di Oliva IGP Toscano
IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) is similar to DOP. IGP olive oil extra virgin is obtained with olives grown in Tuscany. This oil is quality guaranteed.
Olio Extravergine di Oliva Biologico
Organic olive oil is olive oil produced following the European regulation on organic production and labeling on organic products. The olive oil must be obtained from locally grown organic olives. These olives are not treated by chemicals.
All products mentioned above have different flavors. But the fresher the oil is, the better it tastes. Above all extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants and consumption of olive oil may benefit your overall health in several ways.
Throughout the year you can visit the mill “Il Frantoio di Montepulciano” and taste the oils that are produced.
Hand picking the grapes means that pickers go through the vineyard and pick the grapes bunch by bunch. They can choose the ripe grapes, or rather, they can avoid picking rotten or bad grapes.
The grape harvest in Tuscany usually occurs between September and October. The right period for harvesting is determined by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels. Also the weather is important by planning the time of the harvest.
Some winemakers determine whether to use hand-picker workers or mechanical harvest machinery. Some benefits of hand picking the grapes are:
Grapes are handled gently
The hand picked grapes are carefully laid out so that they arrive at the press intact
Hand picking means you care and care is what matters…
Winemaking process red wine
Wine making is a natural process that requires human intervention, but each winery guides the process though different techniques. In basic, there are five components of the wine making process:
Harvesting, Crushing and Pressing, Fermentation, Clarification, Aging and Bottling
After the grapes are sorted they are ready to be de-stemmed and crushed. Mechanical presses the grapes into must. Must is a freshly juice that contains the skins, seeds and solids.
After crushing and pressing the fermentation begins. The fermentation continues until the sugar is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide CO2.
Grape skins and solids float to the top and need to be pushed back. The red wine juice is pomped from the bottom and splashed over the top of the grape cap.
When the fermentation has finished it is the time to clarify the wine. Filtration occurs by a filter. The clarified wine is ready for further aging in stainless steel, oak barrels or in bottels.
Poggio alla Sala
A group of workers at the vineyards of Poggio alla Sala picked the grapes with secateurs and put them in a basket. Then the grapes are put in a container and finally transported to the winery to be processed.
The most planted grape at Poggio alla Sala is the Sangiovese grape. Poggio alla Sala is exposured in the southern part of Montepulciano. Some Etruscan objects are found here.
If you want gorgeous views as well as a good glass of wine than head to Poggio alla Sala. From here you see the Monte Amiata which influences the local climate of the lands and the vineyards.
The wine estate Dievole is located in the Chianti Classico area, one of the most popular wine region of Tuscany between Siena and Florence. Dievole overlooks the wonderful vineyards and olive groves. It covers an area of 400 hectares within the Chianti Classico territory in Vagliagli.
Dievole is an old winery founded in the 11th century. This Italian winery has a thousand year history. Today Dievole is owned by an oil tycoon from Argentina Alejandro Bulgheroni and is part of a network of wineries in Tuscany: Chianti Classico, Bolgheri and Montalcino.
The winery Dievole produces elegant wines such as Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Vin Santo and IGT white wine. But they make also other Italian great wines: Bolgheri DOC and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.
During the wine tour we discovered the history and the taste of Dievole wines. We were with a small group of 9 persons (it is necessary to pre-arrange this wine experience).
Our guide waited for us at the wine shop. She started with a brief introduction to the wines and the history of Dievole. After a small talk we walked through the vineyards, the historic wine cellars and tasting rooms. After the tour we started with individual tastings of the quality wines including good cheeses and local meats.
Our guide was really knowledgeable and she answered all of our questions. It was a great wine experience at Dievole. The complex Dievole looks really amazing with good manicured gardens and great views over the vineyards. The is tour is about 2 hours long and we tasted 6 wines.
Everything from the wine, food pairings and lunch were top quality. We brought some bottles home. It was a wonderful experience. Therefor… I will be back for sure for an other wine tour!
A wine cooperative is where wineries buy in grapes from a network of grape owners and make their own labelled wine. Most of the co-ops are after volume sales. Often it seems that co-op wineries produce a lot of boring wines and that they are more after volumes than quality.
In Trentino Alto Adige cooperatives create extremely high value wines. Some wines are even nationally and internationally awarded. The wines are worth seeking out!
Cantina Mori colli Zugna
Cantina Mori colli Zugna is a wine cooperative in Mori Trentino. They are part of Cavit (Cantina Viticoltori del Trentino). Cavit incorporates 10 cooperative wineries in Trentino. They are the largest wine cooperative in the region Trentino Alto Adige.
In the mid fifties Cantina Mori colli Zugna was founded. It counts now 700 partners who cultivate about 650 hectares. They converts over 90% of the area’s production.
The vineyards of Cantina Mori colli Zugna in Trentino are between the valley of River Adige and Lake Garda, on the slopes of the Monte Baldo (Malcesine) and the Gresta Valley.
Today Cantina Mori Colli Zugna organizes food and wine tours. The special wines and the Spumante under the appellation Trento DOC amused me.
My tasting notes:
Morus Brut Millesimato TrentoDOC – this is a classic method only produced in the best years. Millesimato means that the grapes are harvested in the same year.
The Morus Brut sparkling wine is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Nero. The grape growing are on the hills of Monte Baldo. This elegant wine undergoes a long period of aging on lees, therefor the wine has an intense, persistent perlage, buttery and creamy texture. The second fermentation in the bottle has a period of aging at least 36 months.
The colour of the spumante is yellow-greenish with aromas of crusty bread and green apples. This wine is excellent as an aperitif and good pairing with national and international cuisine or delicate fish dishes.
Vicarius – Rosso Trentino DOP – this is a blended wine made of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. The grapes are selected to guarantee a high quality production of the wine.
The wine making process of this wine involves a long maceration on the skins in steel. This is to increase color, flavor and aromas to the wine. Following the maceration the aging proces takes place 6 months in wooden barrique and later 6-10 months refinement in bottle.
The color is ruby red. On the nose a delicate and elegant bouquet. On the palate dry, structured with spicy notes. This wine is good pairing certainly with meat dishes and game.
As a result the wine cooperatives in Trentino Alto Adige are worth finding out. During the wine tour I’ve had been able to taste other local wines like Pinot Grigio, Müller Thurgau, Pinot Nero and Marzemino.
This wine tour is a superb experience, for that reason I recommend a visit to this winery to everyone who loves wine!
In 2017 I started with the FISAR sommelier study with the aim of becoming a professional sommelier. My dream came true. Three years later I have my official Fisar diploma and taste vin. I am a certified sommelier now!
Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’ve made it. It wasn’t easy at all. Being a Dutch native speaker and doing speaking and writing tests in an other language isn’t the easiest way to get your degree.
But I did it and I can’t explain my happiness and satisfaction. Now that I am having my diploma I hunger for more. I want to keep on studying, tasting, working and keep on organizing more and more Wine and Food experience.
I live my dream and nothing is impossible. I have so many future wine projects to realize .. the best is yet to come. Cheers!