Open Your Eyes to a Deeper World of Wine - IWEG News Jan. 28, 2021

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Kimberly Zimmer scored a perfect grade in her recent WSET Level 2 Award in Wines course! We invited her to share her story, study tips and goals.

Tell us about yourself!

I’ve lived in the Montreal area since 1992, having moved from Michigan when my husband and I decided to move back to the town where he grew up. I’ve been a concert promoter in Montreal since 2004 and have held the position of Project Manager for Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway for eight years. My interest in wine was ignited and fueled by twice-yearly work trips to Napa, California where I had the opportunity to talk with many winemakers, winery owners and tasting room personnel. During each trip, I had the privilege of tasting hundreds of Napa’s top quality wines from boutique wineries as well as major wine producers.

Why did you sign up for the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines?

When the pandemic forced everything to shut down in March 2020, my professional life, both as a concert promoter in Montreal and project manager for an annual smooth jazz festival in Napa, California, came to a screeching halt. Early on, nobody knew for how long our industry would be closed, but it soon became evident that live music wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. I have been interested in the world of wine for about 10 years and my twice-yearly trips to Napa for work really intensified my curiosity and broadened my exposure to wine. With so much free time on my hands, I decided to further my education with WSET, hoping to learn more about regions and grapes that I had not yet experienced or discovered.

Some may be hesitant to study wine remotely. Do you have any study advice or tips?

Studying remotely is definitely a challenge, but it suited me, especially living in Montreal and IWEG being located in Toronto. With a family of two adult children living and studying full time at home, as well as my husband who has worked from home since the pandemic hit, it was challenging to find the necessary quiet time and space to be able to concentrate, especially for someone who hasn’t had to study anything for a really long time! I found it helpful to make time each day for reading and reviewing rather than trying to spend several hours over one or two days. Noise cancelling headphones also helped. I’ll be honest, I spent about four times more hours studying than the WSET course specification recommends.

How do you plan to use your new wine knowledge?

The knowledge I’ve gained has already given me more confidence when selecting wines, either off the menu in restaurants (when those open back up) or at the SAQ liquor commission. I would love to have the opportunity to work in the wine industry in some capacity, be it private import, guiding group tastings, being a “brand ambassador” or something similar. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Napa Valley and there are so many wonderful, world-class wines that we don’t have access to in Quebec (and probably the rest of Canada). I’d love to see that change, hopefully, with my implication somehow.

Discover the wines of Germany, one bottle at a time!

Each month, in collaboration with Wines of Germany, we will present a featured wine of the month that is available through the LCBO. Purchase the featured wine and practice your tasting skills for a chance to win a Wines of Germany prize package!

The January wine is Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Pfalz (LCBO#: 291971).

Bordered by Rheinhessen on the north and France on the south and west, this Pinot Noir is produced in the Pfalz region by a winery with an almost 250-year history. Share your tasting note with us!

Purchase the Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Pfalz.
Here’s how to participate:
  1. Purchase Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Pfalz at the LCBO.
  2. Take a picture of the wine and write a short tasting note on the wine.
  3. If you are on social media, post your photo and tasting note and tag IWEG and Wines of Germany Canada on any or all of these social media platforms:
  4. Facebook: @germanwinecanada and @IWEGDrinksAcademy
  5. Instagram: @germanwinecanada and @iweg_canada
  6. Twitter: @germanwineca and @IWEG_Canada
  7. Send your photo, tasting note, copy of LCBO receipt and contact and mailing details by email to IWEG at
The name and submitted photo and tasting note of the winner will be published in the IWEG newsletter by February 4.

Contest details:
From January to June, we will present a featured wine of the month for IWEG students that is available through the LCBO retail network.

Each month a winner will be selected to receive a Wines of Germany prize package that includes a $50 LCBO Gift card redeemable on German wine and Wines of Germany swag.

The selected winner will be contacted by IWEG to confirm mailing details.

Effort will be made to select wines that are readily available in LCBO stores and online to allow time for wine pick up or delivery.


French Wine Scholar

The French Wine Scholar provides detailed coverage of French AOC wines, as well as an introduction to French history, geography, viticulture and winemaking. You will:
  • Develop specialist knowledge of the AOC wines of Alsace, Champagne, Jura, Savoie, Burgundy, Loire, Bordeaux, Rhône, Languedoc, Roussillon, Southwest France, Provence and Corsica
  • Appreciate the cultural context of French wine
  • Consider the vineyard and winery factors that contribute to wine styles
  • Taste a range of French wines
The course is taught by authorized Wine Scholar Guild instructors Nancy Reynolds DipWSET, Caitlin Ferguson DipWSET and Aleksandar Simic DipWSET.

Classes run from Wednesday, February 10 - April 28 @ 6:30PM - 8PM (no class March 17). The first ten classes will be held online via the Zoom platform. The eleventh class is an in-person tasting session at IWEG.

Sign up now!

Winter 2021 Courses


Blended Learning

WSET Level 2 Award in Wines 
Date: Tuesdays, February 16th - April 13th @ 6:30pm - 8:30pm 
Register Now!

WSET Level 3 Award in Wines
Date: Wednesdays, February 3rd - May 12th @ 10am - 12pm
Register Now!

Date: Thursdays, February 18th - May 27th @ 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Register Now!

French Wine Scholar
Date: Wednesdays, February 10th - April 28th @ 6:30pm - 8pm
Register Now!

Italian Wine Scholar - Northern Italy
Date: Mondays, March 1st - May 10th @ 6:30pm - 8pm
Register Now!

Spanish Wine Scholar
Date: Thursdays, September 23rd - November 25th @ 6:30pm - 8pm
Register Now!

Online Learning
IWEG offers online WSET courses through WSET’s Online Classroom, which allows you to study alongside your peers under the guidance of a dedicated educator. A minimum number of hours of study per week is recommended (which varies depending on the course) to successfully complete each course and regular participation is essential.

WSET Level 1 Award in Wines 
Date: Monday, February 8th - Sunday, March 7th
Register Now!

Date: Monday, February 22nd - Saturday, March 27th
Register Now!

WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits 
Date: Monday, February 22nd - Sunday, March 21st
Register Now!

WSET Level 1 Award in Sake
Date: Monday, February 22nd - Sunday, March 21st
Register Now!

WSET Level 2 Award in Wines 
Date: Monday, February 1st - Saturday, March 27th 
Register Now!

Date: Monday, February 15th - Sunday, March 21st
Register Now!

Date: Monday, February 22nd - Saturday, April 17th 
Register Now!

WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits
Date: Monday, March 15th - Sunday April 18th
Register Now!

WSET Level 3 Award in Wines
Date: Monday, February 22nd - Tuesday, March 4th
Register Now!

All WSET textbooks and study guides will be in an eBook format.

Italian Wine Scholar

The Italian Wine Scholar provides detailed coverage of Italian wines, as well as an introduction to Italian history, geography, viticulture and wine-making. Unit 1 covers Northern Italy, and Unit 2 covers Central and Southern Italy. The units of study can be taken in any order.

You will:
  • Develop specialist knowledge of the DOC and DOCG wines of 21 Italian regions
  • Appreciate the cultural context of Italian wine
  • Consider the vineyard and winery factors that contribute to wine styles
  • Taste and assess a range of Italian wines, which illustrate regional or grape varietal typicity, as well as diversity of styles
The course is taught by authorized Wine Scholar Guild instructors Nancy Reynolds DipWSET, Aleksandar Simic DipWSET and Kim Berdusco DipWSET.

Classes run from Monday, March 1 - May 10 @ 6:30PM - 8PM (No classes March 15 and April 5). The first eight classes will be held online via the Zoom platform. The ninth class is an in-person tasting session at IWEG.

Register now!

Japanese sake: Umami and its dialogue with food

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in conjunction with the Sake Institute of Ontario (SIO) has created a very exciting opportunity for hospitality professionals to learn and explore the world of sake and food pairing in early February. This complimentary webinar will be led by sake sommelier and Sake Samurai Michael Tremblay and will explore sake’s versatility, tricks for creating perfect food matches with a particular focus on sake’s secret weapon, umami.

This is a great opportunity for non-Japanese restaurant professionals to get to know more about sake and to create unique sake experiences with your own menu. Selected webinar registrants will receive a set of complimentary sakes and food items to accompany the webinar, so please make sure to enter all the necessary information when you register. 

Date: Monday, February 15th at 5:30pm - 7pm (Family Day)    
Date: Monday, February 22th at 2:30pm - 4 pm

Format: Live webinar with accompanying sake and food samples provided by JETRO (samples limited availability)
Cost: No charge 

Find out more about the sake offerings and register!