Wanting To Learn More About Spanish Wine (& Win The Catavino Scholarship)

Two and half years ago, Hubby and I were married in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  As part of the planning process, I participated on The Knot’s Destination Weddings message board hoping to find some creative ideas and learn about other people’s experiences with destination weddings.  When I first started posting on the DW board, I had no idea that I would meet an amazing group of women from all of the world.  The wedding is long over, but I still keep in touch with more than 40 of those women—most through email, some as a group on e-mail threads, some on a private discussion board, some through Facebook and Twitter, and some on The Nest.  Amazingly enough, I’ve even met most of these women.  With only a handful living in the DC area, the fact that we’ve met is a testament to how close the group has become over the last 4 years.

These ladies have been very supportive as I started my wine education. Next to Hubby, they were the first to know that I was taking the WSET certification courses.  When I started my blog, they were my first readers—one friend actually offered to send me her favorite wine from a local Kentucky winery because I can’t find it Virginia, but she wants to know my opinion.  Because these ladies and I are so close, once I saw the Catavino Spanish Wine Education Scholarship competition, which would cover tuition expenses to attend the Wine Academy of Spain’s 3-day Spanish Wine Education course in DC, I started sending out e-mails and posting on messages boards to ask my girlfriends why they thought I would want to learn about Spanish Wine.  I explained what they already knew—that I’m loving learning about wine, that my thirst for wine knowledge has become insatiable, and that the idea of an immersion course in one country’s production sounds like fun, but I also admitted that writing a post with these reasons for wanting a scholarship seemed unoriginal, trite, and unexciting. 

I was stunned at the responses.  Instead of crazy ideas for blog posts, most of the women said that they had little-to-no experience with Spanish wine and that they didn’t associate Spain with winemaking.

Courtney (in Canada) said, “I was going to say that I am not a fan of Spanish wines, so I’d skip.”

Carmen (in DC-Metro area) said, “I def don’t recall having any Spanish wines that were very memorable….when I think of wine, CA and France originally come to mind.

Emily (in Maryland) verbalized what I was discovering, “that there’s so much attention given to French wines that places like Spain get skipped right over.”

Although Marcie offered a bright spot by boosting my ego a little when she said, “Girl…you and your wines make my mouth water!”

After some personal reflection on my own experiences with Spanish wine, while fairly limited, they have been positive.  However, I’m certainly not as comfortable with Spanish wine as I am with French, Californian, or Virginian wines.  Part of that is probably because the WSET advanced certificate book covers Spanish still wines in 9 pages, while French still wines are covered in 40 pages.  Part of that is also because until taking the WSET course, I’m not sure that I ever had a Spanish wine.

The fact that my girlfriends (and I) had such little exposure to Spanish wine makes me think that they’re probably not the only ones who read “A Glass After Work” who that are missing out on Spanish wines.  It’s natural to gravitate towards our comfort zone.  Since starting my blog, I’ve tried to push past the wine regions I’m familiar with and explore wines from all over the world, and I’ve discovered a couple of exciting and enjoyable Spanish wines available at very reasonable prices—some of which I’ve already reviewed.  Ultimately, though, my Spanish wine knowledge is still fairly introductory.  I would love to know more so I can find the Spanish wine “gems” and be a better resource for my readers.  As my friend Amanda said when I asked for ideas, Me, I know NOTHING about Spanish wines, and seriously probably would never try one without some direction/education.  I like the idea that you want to learn so you can pass on knowledge to the rest of us.”  And, what better way for me to gain that knowledge than to learn from the best and earn the “Spanish Wine Educators” and “Certificate on Andalusia and its Wines” through the Spanish Wine Education Program.


  1. Kami says

    I don't know much about Spanish or Portuguese wine either (besides recognizing a Rioja or two and recalling that Port can cause a really unfortunate hangover). But I'm happy for you to start learning and passing on the knowledge! Maybe by November or so, when I can start drinking again, you'll have some suggestions for me?

  2. Alleigh says

    Kami, if I win the scholarship, I'd be happy to share my Spanish wine knowledge with you (and of course spend some quality time with the little one!). If not, it might just be you, me, and some trial and error…and who knows what kind of trouble that could lead cause.

  3. Alleigh says

    Chip–I've recently read that about Spanish wines quality price ratio. And thank you for the recommendation. I will definitely check it out!

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