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During the pandemic, there’s been a rapid increase in online courses by educators and trade organizations around the world to help consumers and professionals expand their knowledge. Many learning opportunities are free and speak to a range of experience levels. Some offer a form of certification as well, but that typically means you can expect more evaluation as you learn.

Here are three recently launched courses to consider:

School of Port

Created by Symington Family Estates, which operates W. & J. Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s and Warre’s, the School of Port kicks off with “The Essentials,” a 16-episode video series hosted by educator Isabel Monteiro. The videos tour viewers around the Douro and the various stage of port wine production. The material is aimed at wine trade professionals but works equally well for wine lovers, explaining what happens behind the scenes in Portugal to create the time-honoured styles of fortified wines.

Rioja Wine Diploma

The Rioja Wine Academy developed this free online course to share insider knowledge about Rioja’s classifications, grape varieties, winemaking techniques and wine styles. Over the course of 15 hours, participants will learn about the flavour and character of the wines and how styles developed over time. Modern and traditional approaches are addressed throughout, with review questions coming at the end of each module. Wine suggestions help to illustrate the course contents. Knowledge is tested at the end of each module by review questions relating to the content. A diploma is granted to those that receive a mark of 75 per cent or higher on the 30-question multiple choice final exam.

Wines of South Africa Education Course

Educator Cathy Marston developed this online course with Wines of South Africa to introduce students to various topics related to the country’s wine industry. Six modules cover subjects including history, grape varieties, wine growing regions, wine styles and tourism. The course material is downloadable. Modules vary in length but should only take an hour or two to complete. Each module features a multiple-choice quiz you’ll need to pass with a mark of 80 per cent or higher to progress to the next unit. If you’re unsuccessful, you can go back and redo the session.

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