Cash and Prizes: Recap Quiz for December 2013

Wine Tasting Red Wine Glass Happy New Year from SWE!!!

To celebrate the new year, we are offering a special prize for this month’s recap quiz….a FREE sitting of the CSW or CSS Exam, including a Study Guide.

Questions for the recap quiz come exclusively from the educational material posted to Wine, Wit, and Wisdom for the month. This month’s quiz has 10 questions that cover the topics and information included in our posts for the month of December 2013.

To refresh your memory, our posts for the month of December were:

  • Wine Book Review – “The Nose” by James Conaway (December 5)
  • The Legacy of Peter Jahant (December 8)
  • The Egg Nog Riots of 1826 (December 10)
  • Coda di Volpe – The Tail of the Fox (December 14)
  • The Ice Wine Fiasco of 2011 (December 19)
  • Cheers to the Kir Royale! (December 24)
  • U.S. Distillery License #1 (December 28)

scantronEveryone who takes and passes the quiz with 100% of the questions correct by January 10, 2014 (midnight CST) will have their names put into a drawing for the prize! You can take the quiz over and over again if you like…it’s all about the education!

The winner will be notified via email on January 11.

Click here for a link to the quiz.

If you have any questions, contact us at: .

Update:  Congratualtions to Denise H. of Nashville, Tennessee who won our Recap Quiz Contest for December!  Denise is new to the study of wine, but is going to take the CSW Exam in June!! Good luck, and congrats!

Click here to return to the SWE Website.

Wine Book Review: “The Nose” by James Conaway

the nose red wineThe Nose, a novel by James Conaway, in a nutshell:  Agatha Christie meets Sideways meets Bonfire of the Vanities in a delicious tale of  the perfect wine and a vain, self-satisfied, and extremely influential wine critic on the loose in Napa Valley.

This is a fun book:  not long after we meet Clyde Craven-Jones, aka “The Nose,” we’re invited to join him for a typical Thursday morning, consisting of blind-tasting the week’s crop of newly released vintages and grading them on his patented numbered scale.  (The lead character’s similarity to another (never named) influential wine critic with a similar such graded scale is hard to miss.)

Not long after the nose sniffs out his weekly winners, a mystery bottle of Cabernet arrives at his door.  He sniffs, he sips, he spits, and declares it to be a perfect 20 – an accolade he has never granted before.  The mystery begins as C-J tries to locate the producer of the “perfect 20.”  His quest comes to an abrupt end when our critic is found, face down, floating in a vat of newly-fermented Cabernet. The scene somehow manages to be gruesome and funny at the same time.

The NoseAfter C-J’s untimely death, his widow continues the quest to find the producer of the perfect Cab.  Along the way, we meet a bumbling cub reporter, a biodynamic farmer, a blonde bombshell, and more than a few greedy producers of cultish techno-wine.   A friendly crew of wanna-be wine writers, fashionistas, and wine lovers savant try to help solve the mystery but mostly just hang out and drink amazing wine at a seedy bar called The Wine Glass – and you just can’t help but want to join them.

James Conaway’s books on the California wine scene – including Napa: The Story of an American Eden and its sequel, The Far Side of Eden, are surely already well-known to both fans and serious students of California wine. Wine lovers, as well as those that enjoy a good mystery and perhaps even a slightly snarky comedy-of-manners, California style, will enjoy The Nose as well. (Holiday Gift Alert!)

Click here to return to the SWE Website.

Post authored by Jane A. Nickles, CWE – your SWE Blog Administrator –

The New CSW is here!

New CSW SpainThe Society of Wine Educators is proud to announce the publication and release of its 2014 Edition of the Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide.  This latest version, which hit the streets on October 1, 2013, is updated, expanded, and improved in many ways!

The first thing you may notice about the new study guide is its appearance.  The new “lay-flat” style makes for a more compact and transportable study guide; it’s easier to carry to your study group or pack into a carry-on suitcase.  The new version is also printed in full color with over 100 color photographs and 40 newly-created, colorful wine maps.

Despite its more compact style, the new study guide is over 300 pages long – that’s a full 50 pages of additional information compared to the last edition, which was published in 2010.  Look for comprehensive updates on the rules and regulations that have affected the wine world in the last four years, as well as expanded coverage of the smaller wine producing regions both in Europe and the New World. Sections on sensory evaluation, food and wine pairing, and wine service have also been significantly updated and expanded, and now include teaching tools such as the SWE Logical Tasting Rationale and a Wine Aroma Checklist.

New CSW VitiThe new wine maps are such an important part of the study of wine that we have made them available not just in the printed version of the study guide, but online as well.  All of the maps included in the study guide, and some additional maps as well, are accessible e electronically on the SWE Blog, “Wine, Wit, and Wisdom.”  You are encouraged to access the maps electronically for computer-based study or to download full-page copies of the maps for ease of use.  The electronic address is: .

As you may have noticed, the world of wine is in a constant state of change.  In the last month alone, there has been a  change in the terminology used for VDP wines in the Rheingau, and no less than four new AVA’s approved for the state of California.  Here at SWE we are doing our best to keep our study materials up-to-date and our members informed of the latest happenings in the world of wine. To that end, we have created a “Study Guide Update” page on our blog.  Any changes in EU Regulations, re-naming of wine regions, newly-approved AVAs, or industry changes of any kind that affect the information in the new study guide will be noted here. (Note: any information that changes after the publication of the study guide will not be included on the CSW exam, but is provided for informational purposes  only.)

New CSWIf you are studying for the CSW using a 2010 Study Guide, there is no need to worry.  All CSW Exams that occur between October 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014  will include only those questions based on subject matter that is covered in both the 2010 Study Guide and the 2014 edition. After April 1, 2014, all CSW Exam questions will be drawn solely from the new Study Guide.

We sincerely hope that the new Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide meets your professional wine education needs and we wish you the best of luck with your studies!

Click here to return to the SWE Website

The Stout Report: Advice to a Young Wine Professional

SWE's new President, Guy Stout, MS

SWE’s new President, Guy Stout, MS, CSS, CWE

Our new President, Guy Stout, MS, CSS, CWE, has a few words of advice for young wine professionals!

The Stout Report: Advice to a Young Wine Professional

During a recent dinner with Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth, we were discussing how we, as established wine professionals, could advise the next generation of sommeliers and wine industry leaders. As you can imagine, it was quite a conversation!

Here are a few of our thoughts as to what skills and experiences could help young wine professionals be better at what they do, and help pave the way for a successful future. Here’s hoping someone out there is listening!

Travel: It’s the best thing you can do, both for your career and yourself.  My first ever visit to a vineyard was TV Munson’s experimental plot in Denison, Texas. The vineyard, which dates to the 1890’s, is next to a small airport landing strip, and it wasn’t at all what I expected.  When traveling, you never know what you may find.

Passion:  No one starts in the wine industry for the money (although that may come later). However, everyone starts in the wine industry because of a passion.  It’s a good thing, too, as I can teach wine, but I can’t teach passion

Grenache TopCognitive Thinking: Don’t just memorize grapes and places – it takes more than book smarts to grow in the wine trade. Read a book on bull riding, and then go ride a bull (just kidding about the bull.) You will, however, find out quickly that you didn’t really know a thing about bull riding until you felt that bull move.  For further insight, see “travel,” above.

Don‘t be a snob: Trust me, the world already has too many wine snobs.  You don’t want to be the person who always has a better bottle or vintage story (they get gossiped about behind their backs, they just don’t know it, and you didn’t hear that from me).  One for thing:  don’t be afraid to drink out of plastic cups – it won’t kill you!

Don’t worry if you get a wine wrong in a blind tasting: If you follow your tasting grid – either in your head or with a pencil and paper – you will get it “wrong for the right reasons” – and get it right the next time.

Share what you have: Wine is meant to be shared. The most memorable wines I have ever had were those I shared with friends.

Learn your limits: Don’t be the one who gets carried out of a big tasting by your friends. (Even more important: don’t be the one who gets kicked out.) This is very bad form and assures that you will be remembered – for all the wrong reasons.

wine and salmonLearn to cook: Knowing food and wine starts with knowing how to cook (and your friends will love you even more.) As we say in Texas, “Eat more chikin!” Burgers and Bordeaux makes for a great party, by the way!

Don’t get a visible tattoo: Ok, I am old school but truth be told, I don’t like to see tattoos on servers or somms.

The customer is always right: Even when they are wrong, and even when it hurts to admit it. But be advised – I have friends who have lost good jobs over this.

Taste with a group: Share the cost of wines, share your opinions, and make some friends (in a few years you can call them your “network”).

Ask Yourself: Why did you choose wine? Where do you hope it will lead you?

One final note:  Be kind to your mother – I have spent more than 30 years working in the wine & spirits industry and my mother still wants me to get a real job.

Cheers… Guy



Tour de Blog 2013

Corks and CorkscrewWelcome to the Tour de Blog 2013!

We’ve been busy adding lots of resources here at Wine, Wit, and Wisdom, and thought we’d let you know about some of them.  Hopefully, you will find some of these helpful in your studies, or with the classes you are teaching~!

Wine Maps! If you are studying for the CSW, CWE, or planning on teaching a class, SWE’s wine maps are now available on-line.  This makes for very convenient studying from your mobile device, or as a printable resources. Click here for links to all of the SWE Wine maps, which are available both as webpages and pdfs.

Wine Links! The SWE Blog provides one of the most comprehensive lists of links to quality wine websites available on the internet.  For instance, did you know that a database called “E-Bacchus” lists every AOP/PGI wine in the European Union? And its daddy database, the European Union’s department of Agricultural and Rual Development lists every AOP and PGI-designated agricultural product, from Walnuts from Périgord, Lavender Oil from Haute-Provence, and Chickens from Bresse (not to mention all the cheeses).

Whether you are researching Fitou or Fino, Madeira or Modena, you’ll find useful links on our site. Click here for our wine links page.

Games and Quizzes! One of our goals at SWE is to provide our community with educational tools and activities.  While we are just getting started, if interactive wine quizzes are your thing, click on the category “games and quizzes” to be directed to our current offerings.

SWE Exam Calendar! We get lots of inquiries about the availability of SWE Certification Exams, and the latest, greatest, up-to-datest version is always available on the SWE Website, which you can access here.

Information on SWE’s Education and Certification Offerings! If you are interested in more information about the CSW, CWE, CSS, or Beverage Specialist, all of the best information is to be found on our website, which you can access by clicking here.

red wine tasting line up of glassesContact information for the SWE Home Office! If you need to speak with a customer service representative, need help navigating the catalog or have a question for our educational and certification consultant, just click here for contact information.

It’s our goal to become your trusted source of wine and spirits news and knowledge…if there is anything else you would like to see us tackled here on the blog, just let us know!


Meet the Board of Directors: David Glancy

Today we are continuing our series of posts to introduce you to the new members of SWE’s Board of Directors.  Read on to meet Master Sommelier David Glancy!

David GDavid Glancy has been a wine professional for over twenty years, and has earned more than his fair share of impressive credentials along the way. David is a Master Sommelier, Certified Wine Educator, Certified Specialist of Spirits, and French Wine Scholar. If we were to spell out all of his post-nominals it would look something like this:  David Glancy, MS, CSS, CSW, CWE, FWS.

After several years in the hospitality industry both the U.S. and Asia, David created and taught the Certified Sommelier Program at the Professional Culinary Institute (now known as the International Culinary Center) in Campbell, California. His educational experience also includes teaching wine and business management at Le Cordon Bleu’s California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

More recently, David launched the San Francisco Wine School, offering professional wine courses and certification prep courses, in June of 2011. In addition, David currently runs SFsommelier Consulting, is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Sommelier Journal, and is Echanson Provincial for the Chaine des Rotisseurs Pacific Northwest.

David’s first love was a glass of Vouvray, soon followed by another glass. Today, he says he could happily live on Champagne alone. Welcome, David!

Meet the Board of Directors: Missi Holle

Last week, SWE welcomed its new Executive Committee and Board of Directors.  While many of our board members have served for quite a few years, there are also some new faces in the group as well.  Today we’d like to introduce you to one of our new board members, Missi Holle…and thank her for her service to the Society!

Missi HolleMissi Holle, CSW, CSS is a newly elected member of the Board of Directors for the Society of Wine Educators.  She has over 16 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry, has trained through the Court of Master Sommeliers and has most recently earned the Wine Location Specialist (with distinction) designation through the Center for Wine Origins.

Missi found herself “accidentally” in the beverage industry after earning her Marketing degree from the University of Florida.  Having worked nights and weekends as a server and bartender throughout college, her hospitality experience and the attraction of daytime hours led her to a full time job with a Central Florida wine & spirits distributor.  After 2 years, she decided to try her hand within the Corporate Meetings industry, working for Hard Rock Café and GES Exposition Services before passion led her back into the beverage business as a National Account Manager for Banfi Vintners (4 years) and now Kobrand Corporation (10 years).

Education has always been a focus for Missi and today, in addition to her position as National Account Manager for the southeast US, she is the Education Specialist for the Channel Division at Kobrand.

When not working, her favorite times are spent at the dinner table sharing her husband’s home cooked meals and great beverages with family and friends.  She loves to travel and check out new restaurants and bars, enjoys running and a good book!

Welcome, Missi Holle!

SWE Welcomes New Executive Committee and Board Members

SWE's new President, Guy Stout, MS

SWE’s new President, Guy Stout, CSS, CWE, MS

As of August 15, 2013 the Society of Wine Educators welcomed two new Board Members and a new Executive Committee.  Our new President is Guy Stout, CSS, CWE, MS, Corporate Director of Beverage Education at Glazer’s Distributing.

Rounding out the Executive Committee are:

  • Edward Korry, CWE, Vice President
  • Gary Spadafore, CWE, Educational Liasion
  • Don Kinnan, CWE, Secretary
  • Neill Trimble, Treasurer


Our two new members of the Board of Directors include David Glancy, CSS, CWE, MS, who currently serves as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco Wine School, and Missi Holle, CSS, CSW, National Account Manager and Southeast Education Specialist for Kobrand Corporation.

Continuing to serve on the Board of Directors are:

  • Maria E. Denton, CWE (Pinnacle House – Washington Wholesale)
  • Gary Spadafore, CWE, Educational Liasion

    Gary Spadafore, CWE, Educational Liasion

    Patrick D. Dodd, CWE, CSS (Gallo Family Vineyards)

  • Margie Ferree-Jones, PhD (Collins College of Hospitality Management – Cal Poly, Pomona)
  • Mary Gorman-McAdams DWS, MW
  • Linda G. Lawry, DWS, CWE (International Wine Center)
  • Paul Wagner (Balzac Communications & Marketing)
  • Henry Wasserstein (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP)
  • Barry Wiss, CWE (Trinchero Family Wine Estates)
  • Hayato Kojima, CWE, Director Emeritus (Wine & New Life, Ltd.)
  • William Lembeck, CSS, CWE, Director Emeritus (Wine & Spirits Program)
  • Sharron McCarthy, CSW, Director Emeritus (Banfi Vintners)

The Hard-working office staff of SWE continues to be:

  • Sharron McCarthy, CSW, Director Emeritus;  William Lembeck, CSS, CWE, Director Emeritus; and Neill Trimble, Treasurer

    Sharron McCarthy, CSW, Director Emeritus;
    William Lembeck, CSS, CWE, Director Emeritus; and Neill Trimble, Treasurer

    Shields T. Hood, CSS, CWE, General Manager

  • Vanessa Brandenburg, Operations Director
  • Ben Coffelt, Education & Technology Manager
  • Jessica Morse, Education Programs Assistant
  • Eva Woo, Education Programs Assistant
  • Kerry Lynch, Membership and Events Assistant
  • Jane A. Nickles, CSS, CWE, Education and Certification Consultant

Welcome and Congratulations to our new board! Here’s to a successful SWE Year.


For contact information, please consult the SWE Website at:

SWE Presents 2013 Grand Award to Professor “Chip” Cassidy

Chip and GobletEvery year, at the annual conference, the Society of Wine Educators grants a prestigious lifetime achievement award to a deserving wine professional.  Known as “The Grand Award,” this award has been presented to a plethora of wine luminaries, includng Robert Mondavi, Sandro Boscaini, Jancis Robinson, Warren Winiarski, Carol Meredith, and Mike Grgich.

This year’s award was presented to Patrick J. Cassidy during the Friday luncheon of the Society’s 37th Annual Conference, held in Orlando, Florida.   

Professor “Chip” Cassidy’s wine experience began over 40 years ago in New York. Working in a wine shop through college led to the head sommelier’s position at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. He later became the wine buyer for the Crown Wine and Spirits chain, and worked previously at Sunset Corners, a large volume wine shop. He currently serves as a wine and beverage instructor at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management of Florida International University.

A member of the entering class of FIU’s inaugural year, Chip graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management. His teaching career began in 1984. Today he teaches Wine Technology, The Business of Wine and recently has developed a Wine Certificate Program offered to professionals already working in the wine or related fields.

A noted speaker and fundraiser, Professor Cassidy was instrumental in developing the concept to build the Southern Wine and Spirits Beverage Management Center, a state of the art wine teaching laboratory. A man of many “hats”, Chip is a decorated Vietnam War veteran, avid reader, and passionate fisherman. Today he resides in South Miami-Dade County with his wife Christine and beloved golden lab, Darius.

Chip and HarrietDuring the awards presentation, Harriet Lembeck, Mistress of Ceremonies, presented Chip with a Riedel “Grand Shiraz” goblet with the following inscription: The Society of Wine Educators toasts  Patrick J. “Chip” Cassidy, CSH & TM at Florida International University for Impeccably High Standards as a Wine Communicator, Fundraiser, War Hero, and Mentor to his Students. Orlando, FL 2013.

Congratulations, Professor Cassidy!