The Rioja Wine Academy, the educational platform of the Control Board of the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin, launches its first ever “Official Wine Instructor” programmes. The academy’s course draws to a close this year with more than 15,000 students from more than 125 different countries. Furthermore, the academy hosted 15 pre-eminent wine experts in autumn to award a diploma in recognition of their successful completion of an online course. This makes it the first prestigious training facility to offer courses designed to help specialist educators to further enhance their knowledge and understanding of Rioja wines.
Several courses with different focuses
RWA students simply access the e-learning platform and choose from three kinds of certificates. The certificates are : “Rioja Wine Diploma“, “Rioja Wine Diploma for Trade & Distribution” and “Diploma in Rioja Wine Tourism“. The participants can enrol free of charge all-year round these online courses. In addition to these, Rioja Wine Academy organises a fourth programme. This programme aimed at professionals who specialise in the training and promotion of wine-making traditions and practices. The “Official Rioja Wine Educators Programme” takes place once a year under strict selection and numerus clausus criteria. The participants will also have to visit the region to complete a face-to-face teaching module.
Ana Lópezcano is the manager of the Rioja Wine Academy project. The expertise of participants and the enthusiasm with which the wineries involved in the modules embraced the project impressed her. “They are pre-eminent figures with an uncommon level of expertise and showed great respect, interest and admiration for what we do in Rioja”. Lópezcano remarked that the specialists praised the initiative as “a field trip which gives participants the chance to personally experience and understand the complexities of Rioja in terms of quality, authenticity and diversity”.
While Rioja has provided training courses since 2016, the academy in its present form was launched in 2020. The courses are designed to attract not only enthusiasts of wine, gastronomy and wine tourism, but also wine experts. The Educators’ course also sets out to attract prescribers with strong communication skills and an ability to influence consumers in the top wine drinking nations. The Control Board goal is to prepare them to become approved ambassador, in order to monitor the quality and accuracy of the information they convey about Rioja wines. The coverage demonstrated the scope of the project. It appeared in international publications such as ‘Forbes’, ‘Weinwirtschaft’, ‘Sommelier’ and ‘Wein+Markt’. The academy also starts making its mark on internationally renowned academies and organisations.
‘Rioja Wine Academy’ has forged numerous partnerships with distinguished academies around the world. For example the WSET, ‘Napa Valley Wine Academy’, the ‘Culinary Institute of America’, the ‘Florida International University’ and the ‘Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers’
Text: Control Board of the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin.
Photo: Ana Lópezcano
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