The last time I went to college, Tanita Tikaram was in the charts and the Berlin Wall was still standing. Now I’m swapping the draughty lecture halls of the 1980s for a plush tasting room at the Hotel du Vin.
You see, this week I have signed up for a Level 3 qualification from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. For six weeks from mid-May, I will be taking a day off from work each week to go back to college.
‘College’, as you’ll appreciate, is a euphemism for ‘upmarket wine bar overlooking Brighton’s seafront’, of course. It’s a hard life.
Seriously, there will be loads of work to do. Oh, and, er, drinking.
At the end of it, I’ll have a vocational qualification – which is the whole idea. As Damon and I want to set up a wine bar-cum-fromagerie in France, it will help if we can talk with confidence about what we’re selling.
“‘College’, as you’ll appreciate, is a euphemism for ‘upmarket wine bar overlooking Brighton’s seafront’, of course”
After six weeks of intensive study, I should have a thorough understanding of the styles, quality and prices of wines from the main wine-producing regions of the world. Obviously, my chief interest is in French wines, but it will be good to know more about wines from other countries.
I’ll be taught to develop my analytical tasting skills further too.
I’ve already started reading up and making notes. I’ve decided to skip the two introductory levels to the subject – without wishing to sound arrogant, I don’t think they offer enough of a challenge.
If I pass, I could go on to take the diploma in wine and get some new letters after my name.
It’s all very exciting. Changing career – and country – in my middle years is both an adventure and a gamble. I’m determined to make a success of it.