Taking a deep dive into the NVWA’s website membership benefits
By Joe Roberts
Generally, I’m not a fan of spending money on, well, pretty much anything (our current economic inflation battle has been a particularly difficult pill to swallow, requiring me to consume copious quantities of wine to help me through). So when I was invited to take a test drive of Napa Valley Wine Academy’s online membership, I approached it with the turned-up nose that I usually reserve for things like being asked to make recurring donations to political campaigns.
But after spending hours and hours getting giddily lost in their available resources, I’m here to tell you that NVWA’s online membership content is LIT.
I’m a bit manic by nature, so the very first thing I did after logging in was to navigate to a random wine region, landing on Spain’s Jerez. Here’s what greeted me:
- A one-hour-plus lecture that gave an overview of Sherry, led by a WSET Diploma holder.
- A thirty-plus minute Sherry and Andalusia video tasting with Master of Wine Peter Richards.
- A beautifully shot, 45-minute documentary on Jerez, deep-diving into Sherry with a handful of MWs.
Ok, that’s admittedly pretty impressive. But was it a fluke? Did I just happen to hit the one region where the NVWA content was a jackpot of potential knowledge transfer? As it turns out, the answer was “Not Really.”
It’s almost embarrassingly easy to go down the rabbit hole with NVWA’s video content. Also at my fingertips were little treasure-troves of knowledge such as:
- A three-part documentary on the wines of Georgia.
- Six very practical food-and-wine pairing documentaries (all regionally based).
- Documentaries on France’s Rhône Valley, Spain’s Priorat, and Italy’s white-hot-right-now region of Sicily, among many, many other selections.
- A lecture/primer on the unsung U.S. wine regions of New York, Virginia, and Texas (a welcome sight, since while Wine Enthusiast might have all but abandoned those regions, most wine certification exams have not).
It’s like a wine nerd’s Netflix up in there, folks.
I burned some serious time getting my geek on among NVWA’s selections. And at $125 for a twelve-month membership, you’re getting all of that for about the same amount of coin you’d drop on a Netflix subscription.
Turns out there are several inches of sweet frosting goodness when it comes to the icing piled onto this membership cake. As a member, you can schedule (paid) one-on-one time with one of NVWA’s experts (which includes an MW and several WSET Diploma holders). Anyone who has dabbled in the Wine & Spirits Education Trust exam program knows that kind of opportunity is pure gold. For those times when you can’t quite seem to master a segment or two (ahem… Fortified Wines, I am looking at YOU!), this reasonably affordable lifeline could end up being a lifesaver for your WSET certification.
There’s also a study tracker for following your education progress (for those of us who might need a little extra “motivation” to get through the tougher courses).
And if you’re in the mood for a truly humbling experience, navigate to the Pronunciation Library, where you can hear just how bad your take on those French wine terms truly is.