What have I been up to, you ask?
This. Lots and lots of this.
And, yes, even though right now the pandemic makes things challenging for all of us, and the wine jokes are everywhere as a way to get through it, I’m sipping on vino these days very, very mindfully and thoughtfully.
Because it’s my new homework!
That’s right; I’m taking the WSET Level 1 Award in Wines via American Wine School, and I am having SO much fun with it. All the classes (and even the exam) are done virtually, and even though I’m just a few classes in, I’ve already learned a ton. Like, I thought I knew a somewhat decent amount about wine, but it’s been eye (and palate) opening for sure.
I’m taking the online class with my wine pal Lisa, and we’ve been able to gather outside together (socially distanced, of course) for a couple of the classes, and it’s been extra fun to share the vino love with someone. We’ve also been able to split the cost of the bottles we taste in the class, so bonus!
While reviewing our course materials, Lisa and I have both found a few wine apps that have made learning outside of class really interactive and fun — whether you have an hour to study or just the 8 minutes it takes for the mac-and-cheese noodles to boil. These wine apps have been a great addition to the course — and a fun thing to focus on. Having the ability to build knowledge about something I love while we’re spending so much time inside? Oh, it’s been such a positive thing for me during the pandemic.
If you love wine, too, and are interested in learning more about it, I highly recommend these five wine apps!
1. True Wine App
With fun quizzes and guided courses, this app is one fun and interactive way to build your wine knowledge. If you’re studying for WSET, CMS, or FWS, they’ve got free practice questions and map quizzes, and there’s also a free wine basics course that’s great for any wine lover starting their education journey. In fact, I love this wine app so much that I ponied up the $7.99 monthly fee to take its more in-depth guided courses on everything from food pairing, tasting, winemaking, and wine labels (this was perhaps my favorite one) to deeper dives into famous wine regions like Champagne and Beaujolais.
2. Decanter Know Your Wine
Of all the wine apps, Decanter’s Know Your Wine is the one that Lisa and I have probably geeked out the most over (and it’s free!). It’s definitely challenging, but it has a quick-fire quiz-like format with tons of questions that’s pretty hard to put down. It’ll even ping you throughout the day to remind you to play. As you get questions correct, you move up through different levels and achieve different ranks, such as wine newb, upstart, fanatic, guru — and the ultimate — wine savant. Just give me time!
3. WSET Wine Game
This wine app obviously caught my attention because it’s created by the people behind the whole WSET program, but it’s also a really fun game. Like Decanter’s Know Your Wine, it’s challenging, but, hey, we’re doing this to learn, right? Right! Also free, this wine app dives deep into geography and actually has you select on a map where different bottles you’re shown come from — and there’s a time limit. Level one has you select the country, and level two has you pick the region of the country. I haven’t moved past level two yet, but I’m working on it!
Also worth noting (pardon the upcoming pun), if you’re taking the WSET-2 or beyond, there’s another free app from WSET that’ll help with your tasting notes. This one guides you through their systematic approach to tasting with tips given along the way. As I taste more and more and consider taking the WSET-2, it’s definitely one I plan to use more and more of in the coming months.
4. SWE Wine and Spirits Trivia Quiz
Created by the Society of Wine Educators, this free app lets you quiz your knowledge on a variety of topics, including countries, regions, grapes, spirits, and even dessert wines. Even the easiest level is challenging, but, you know, practice makes perfect — and the app makes it fun and easy to learn along the way.
Vivino is best known as a free app for finding and rating wine, which is fun (come see what I’m drinking here), but did you know that they also have educational content? Called Wine Adventures, these beginner-friendly courses teach you how to best taste wine, learn the difference between old and new world wines, and dive into how champagne and prosecco compare. It’s GREAT for starting your wine education journey.
Have you learned something new or taken a course during these challenging times, too? If wine interests you as well, definitely check out these wine apps, and leave me any others you love in the comments below. And, always, ALWAYS, make time for this. —Jenn