Understanding Wine

Understanding Wine – 5 week course

A course for the enthusiast who wants to discover more about wine  Book Now 

5 weeks, 2 hours per session

This class is ideal for those who enjoy drinking wine and aspire to learn more, those who would like to gain confidence tackling wine shop selections and restaurant wine lists and is perfect for those starting out in the hospitality or wine industries.

We’ll introduce you to Australian wine regions and styles and focus on tasting techniques and wine vocabulary so you can understand what it is you are tasting and be able to express yourself. You will learn the fundamental principles of wine making and how factors such as climate, soil and wine making techniques will affect wine style and quality. You will enjoy a number of popular styles of wines from different regions and have fun learning in a relaxed environment.

This course is held at the National Wine Centre over five weeks, for two hours each week. Courses are held on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening so please check our course schedule for details.


Week 1 – Sensory evaluation of wine

  • The theory of sensory evaluation
  • Aroma exercise
  • Palate exercise
  • Wine faults
  • The practice of sensory evaluation – tasting 4 wines
  • The theory behind matching wine with food

Week 2 – Wine making practices + white wine

  • Vine and grape physiology + vineyard management
  • Wine making fundamentals
  • An in depth look at a selection of white wine varieties
  • Sensory evaluation of white wine – tasting 8 wines
  • Aging white wine

Week 3 – Factors effecting wine style and quality + sparkling wine

  • Climate and weather, soil, altitude and aspect
  • An in depth look at how sparkling wine is made
  • Sensory evaluation of sparkling wines, tasting 6 wines
  • Serving wine – glassware and decanting

Week 4 – Reading wine labels, blending wine + rose and red wines

  • Wine labels
  • Rose wine making fundamentals
  • Red wine making fundamentals
  • Blending wine
  • Sensory evaluation of rose and red wines, tasting 8 wines
  • Ageing red wine

Week 5 – Dessert and fortified wines

  • Dessert wine styles
  • Botrytis wines
  • Fortified wine styles and how they are made – tasting 4 wines
  • Options Game and DIY tasting note, tasting 4 wines

After successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the principles of sensory evaluation and apply them to a diverse range of wine styles;
  • Competently discuss sensory characteristics of various varieties and styles using a common set of terms;
  • Understand basic wine making processes;
  • Understand basic viticulture practices;
  • Understand the impact of climate on wine styles;
  • Understand the changes that may occur in wines during the production and the aging process;
  • Appreciate the variances and influences of blending different wine varieties;
  • Have an understanding of varietal profiles and begin to develop an understanding of the regional characteristics of South Australian and Australian wines styles.

Meet Kat.

Kat works in hospitality and, as she heads towards 30, is looking to get into the wine industry. She currently works two jobs – during the week at a cool café on the edge of town and on weekends at a McLaren Vale cellar door. Kat wants to learn more about wine to help build her career. But where to start?

Kat heard about the National Wine Education & Training Centre through some friends at the cellar door. She checked them out online and decided to book in for Understanding Wine, a five-week wine education course for people just like Kat.

It delivers a comprehensive foundation of wine education for those looking to work in the wine industry, or for those who simply want to make more informed wine choices. It’s also a significant step towards higher wine education programs such as the WSET offered by TAFE SA, which our students are able to access at a discounted rate.

“My dream is to work in a winery and the Understanding Wine course has given me a much deeper understanding of aroma and taste and how to express it,” Kat said.