Attracted to the Okanagan lifestyle, Fiona Price relocated from Vancouver to Kelowna just over a year ago. Though she wasn’t entirely sure what was in store for her professionally, Price had a strong background in the tourism industry and planned to target a rapidly-growing area that would bring new professional challenges.
So when she read a story in a local newspaper about UBC’s Okanagan Wine School course, which included Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Foundation Level certification, she decided to dive right in.
“I was hoping to gain some knowledge about the regional wine industry, while having fun and making a few connections,” says Price. “And the fact that I could do this while picking up my Foundation Level WSET Certificate was a bonus. It was very interesting to combine that professional certification with UBC.”
The Foundation Level course provides basic knowledge on how to store and serve wine, talk about wine, and interact with customers. The Okanagan Wine School also provides extensive tutorials on wine tasting, food and wine pairing, and includes field trips to various wineries and vineyards to get a first-hand look at the business side of wine.
“Going outside of the classroom was great and the guest lecturers were fabulous,” says Price, who decided to continue upgrading her education through the Wine School’s Intermediate Level WSET Certificate the following term.
“I found the Intermediate class offered a more in-depth look at grapes, wines and wine-making regions. It was a natural progression from the Foundation course,” says Price, describing how the class visited smaller wineries in the intermediate class and talked extensively with people in the business.
“Although I was there with the intention of advancing my career, others just wanted to learn more about wine. One woman used up a week of vacation to attend. It was really a diverse group, and we had a lot of fun.”
Price has applied her determination, experience and training to her work, and is now in wine sales for Camelot Vineyards in Kelowna.
“When I first signed up for the course I didn’t have the sales job,” she says. “Mentioning that I was enrolled in the Intermediate Level WSET Certificate through UBC Okanagan was absolutely an advantage, and showed my employers that I was serious about learning as much as I could about the wine industry.”
For more information on the UBC’s Okanagan Wine School, visit the Continuing Studies website at http://web.ubc.ca/okanagan/continuingstudies/welcome.html.
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