This Istanbul Wine Academy Is Training Some of Turkey's Best Sommeliers

A glass of red wine enjoyed at dinner
A glass of red wine enjoyed at dinner | © Shunichi kouroki / Flickr
Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

The International Wine and Spirits Academy in Istanbul recently opened in order to promote education about the world of wine. The academy offers the WSET certification, the first to do so in Turkey.

The academy

In a skyscraper in Istanbul’s mostly residential district of Şişli, lies Turkey’s first and most sophisticated sanctum for everything related to the serving and enjoyment of alcohol. Within the Key Plaze skyscraper, the International Wine and Spirits Academy opened its doors to bring another level of expertise to the gastronomy industry in Istanbul as well as all people interested in a successful career in luxury hospitality service. The academy features all the facilities that training bartenders and sommeliers need in order to learn the minute details of gastronomy and wine culture.

A wine class where different wines are tasted

Apart from the fully equipped bar, the academy has a comprehensive library where information such as manufacturing techniques of wine and spirits, grape varieties and regions, and the world of wine pairing are explained in full detail. A professional kitchen, presentation and seminar rooms, and a work space decorated with vintage wine barrels all exude the academy’s earned goal in bringing a sophisticated edge to Turkey’s wine and spirit education. Apart from helping those in the alcohol industry reach more professional success in their endeavors, the academy is also very focused on preserving and developing the history and culture that surrounds fermented and distilled drinks

Learning about grape varieties and regions

The WSET Certification

However, most importantly, the academy is the only place in Turkey where interested students can earn their WSET certification. WSET, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, is the leading London based organization that educates professionals and amateurs with the most comprehensive classes available. The academy currently offers the Level 1, 2, and 3 courses in wine and spirits, which begins with a hands-on introduction to the main types and styles of wine through the use of the senses, as well as wine pairing and goes all the way to more detailed knowledge regarding grape growing and wine making.

Learning to discern between different wines

Classrooms and events

As for the classrooms of such a unique school, IWSA has a theory class equipped with all the latest technology that abides to the international rules for wine tasting (including proper natural light and air circulation). The practice classroom for the training of distilling and service also has all the necessary equipment necessary for the teaching of cocktail making, mixology, and foundational bar principles.

Apart from additional wine and spirits seminars and workshops, IWSA also hosts regular events in cooperation with the many talented chefs and sommeliers of Istanbul who have already achieved success in their careers. Participants can learn all about the history and culture of Turkey’s national drink rakı (spirit flavored with anise) with Levon Bağış, who is one of Turkey’s most knowledgeable wine professionals.

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