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Rioja Wine Expert™ | Napa, California

SKU: Master of Rioja Certification


DATE: Stay tuned for 2020 dates.

Set yourself apart and become a Rioja Wine Expert in Napa, California

Our comprehensive one-day certification course covers the wine region of Rioja, its grapes, wine styles, terroir, regulations, trade structures, gastronomy, and history.  You will learn all about the flavor and aroma profiles of Rioja wines and how they evolve as the wine ages. We will cover in-depth the differences between the modern styles and the more traditional wines coming from the region, and the move to terroir-focused wines.  By the end of the course, you will have expert insight into what makes Rioja unique among the world’s most respected global wine regions.

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Location: Napa Valley Wine Academy 2501 Oak Street, Napa CA 94559


To earn the certification of Rioja Wine Expert, students must complete the course and take the optional one-hour online exam within 6-weeks of course completion.

The Spanish wine region of Rioja has a wine culture dating back to the Phoenicians and Celtic tribes and built a reputation in the Middle Ages as a stop on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route.  Rioja is known traditionally for a wine style of extended oak aging, for its noble grape Tempranillo, and for holding wines back until they are ready for consumption. The wines produced now are a mix of classic and modern.  The beauty of these wines and the culture of the region is timeless and inspiring.

Course curriculum:

  • History of the region and influences of the British and the French
  • Regulations, standards and upcoming changes to label requirements
  • Grape Varieties
  • Terroir characteristics, including the sub-regions and tributary valleys of the Ebro River
  • Wine production
  • Aging, oak regimens, outcomes and specific characteristics of oak
  • Wine styles, and the appropriate wine service for the different Rioja wine styles
  • Trade structures – Bodegas, Co-ops, Consejo Regulador
  • Gastronomy and Culture
  • Vintages

Exam details: The course is followed by an online exam ( 30 multiple-choice, 20 short-answer, one essay-question. NO TASTING) One hour in length; given at a later date convenient to the student, within 6 weeks of taking the course.

Instructor:  Nina Sventitsky is a recognized Rioja expert and became one of the first Certified Rioja Wine Educators in the United States, the title having been bestowed on her in 2016 by the Consejo Regulador in Logroño, Rioja Spain.  In addition to her work in education, Nina has consulted with the U.S. Rioja trade campaign to promote Rioja in the US since 2011. She holds the WSET Level 3 certificate, Court of Master Sommeliers Level 1 certification, and is a Silver Pin Certified Sommelier through AIS/WSA.


Additional information



Knowledge Level

Intermediate, Advanced


Napa Valley Wine Academy

Region of Study

Rioja, Spain

Course Format


Course Type