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Mastering wine – Jancis Robinson’s Shortcuts to Success

FULL COURSE: Renowned wine expert Jancis Robinson teaches you how to feel confident about wine in any situation
Expert Academy
4,253 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
Have the confidence to explore a wider range of wines
Understand which wines will work best in a variety of social settings
Choose from a restaurant wine list with confidence
Sniff out the best wine bargains wherever you are
Decipher wine labels and language
Taste wine like a professional at home
Avoid the most common wine pitfalls

Don’t get left behind when it comes to wine

  • How much do you really know about this historical and increasingly popular drink?
  • Is a lack of knowledge holding you back from getting the most from your wine experiences?
  • Do you panic when handed a wine list in a restaurant?
  • Do you always reach for the bottle with the nice looking label in the store?
  • Do you worry about what your partner, friends or colleagues think of your wine choices?
  • Do you want to venture beyond the “safe” wines that you already know, but don’t know where to start?

Learn from a true wine expert

Jancis Robinson is wine columnist for the Financial Times, provides advice for the wine cellar of The Queen and was the first person outside the wine trade to become a Master of Wine.

She edits the Oxford Companion to Wine, widely considered to be the most comprehensive wine encyclopaedia in the world and co-authors The World Atlas of Wine, a classic of the wine world. Her book Wine Grapes was the first-ever winner of all six major wine book awards on both sides of the Atlantic.

Have fun while you learn

Jancis will share her extensive knowledge and secret shortcuts so you can taste wine like a professional at home, decipher wine labels and language, sniff out the best wine bargains wherever you are, choose from a restaurant wine list with confidence and avoid the most common wine pitfalls.

Using fun and practical activities Jancis will give you the confidence to feel like a wine expert in any situation.

An essential life skill

The US now drinks more wine than France. In the UK wine has overtaken beer as the nations favourite drink. Asia is witnessing a revolution in wine as China and India’s growing middle class sip more of what was once considered an elite European drink.

Wine is now becoming the drink of choice for much of the world so understanding wine is quickly becoming an essential life skill for success in business or social situations.

Welcome to the course

Welcome from Jancis Robinson

Meet Jancis! In this introduction Jancis explains her background, expertise and what excites here about wine. She talks about how the appreciation of wine has changed since she became involved in the industry and why she thinks wine should be a democratic drink that everyone can understand and enjoy.

Shortcuts to the course
What you will learn on this wine course

In this lecture Jancis explains how she will provide you the tools, skills and confidence to choose the right wine. She will strip wine down to the basics, show you how to taste, how to choose the right kind of bottle and will also explain the winemaking process.

What you will need to undertake this course

In this lecture Jancis explains the essentials that you will need to take the course.

How to get the most from this course

In this lecture Jancis gives you advice on the best way to get the most out of the course by tasting as many different wines at once, preferably with a few friends.

Understand the wonderful world of wine and it's journey from grape to glass

Introduction to wine and wine production

In this lecture Jancis describes what that this section of the course will cover. This includes what wine is, where wine comes from, how wine is made and the art of reading a wine label.

What is wine, and what are the different types?

In this lecture Jancis describes what wine is and how a single fermented fruit can produce such a huge range of different types and flavours of wines. She also covers the different types of wines available; red, white, rosé, sparkling and fortified and the differences between them.

Where does wine come from and how the geography of wine production is changing

In this lecture Jancis explains where wine can be grown, how the geography of winemaking is changing and how global warming means we could soon be seeing wines from as far north as Norway.

How wine is made: Old and New world wines

In this lecture Jancis covers the differences between old and new world wines and the rivalry which developed between the two schools of wine production. She talks about "Cellar Rats" and how they had a positive impact on European wine production, and how the study of wine terroir improved quality worldwide.

How wine is made: Viticulture and Vineyards

In this lecture Jancis delves into viticulture and how vineyards are designed. She talks about the wine growing season, the impact of weather on the grapes and the trick to balancing sugar and acidity. She looks into how the vines are tended and how farmers manage the vineyards from season to season.

How wine is made: The process

In this lecture Jancis describes how the winemaker goes about creating their wine, how grapes are sorted and processed and the role sugars and CO2 play in the fermentation process. She talks about yeast types, must, mog, and lees in the production of white wine. She describes the differences in making red and white wines, caps, tannin, the value of skins, why winemakers use oak barrels, temperature control and why winemakers manage temperature so closely.

And would you believe that some wine is made in concrete tanks or that you can make white wine from red grapes?

How to read a wine label

In this lecture Jancis explains the clues you can use to decode wine labels, the differences between Burgundy and Bordeaux bottle shapes and what all the information on the label means. She explains the differences between old world and new world wine labelling and why different producers prioritise different types of information on their bottles.

Wine fundamentals challenge

Put your new wine knowledge to the test, good luck!

Summary of the fundamentals of wine production

Jancis summarises what has been covered in this section; what wine is, the three types of wine, the three colours of wine, where wine is grown, the importance of seasons, the importance of grape sugar, and overview of the wine-making process and how to read a wine label.

Activity - wine store visit

Your first challenge. Visit your wine store and try out your newly acquired wine skills.

How to taste wine like a professional and have a sensational sensory experience

Introduction to tasting wine

In this introduction Jancis explains the difference between tasting and drinking wine and how to get the most out of the wine tasting experience.

Preparation for wine tasting

In this lecture Jancis talks about the best environment for wine tasting, the importance of wine temperature when tasting and the types of wine glasses for tasting; from the ISO to the coupe and options from world famous companies such as Riedel and Zalto.

Wine tasting: Step one - sight (white wines)

In this lecture Jancis explains just how much information you can gain from the appearance of the wine before tasting and what the colour of white wines tells you about the age of the wine.

Wine tasting: Step one - sight (red wines)

In this lecture Jancis explains what you can learn from the appearance of red wines, even as far as telling what weather the grapes were grown in.

Wine tasting: Step two - smell

In this lecture Jancis explains the importance of smell and how your olfactory bulb can tell you more about wine than any other part of your body. She discusses the importance of aroma and how to spot a corked or oxidised wine. She explains how wine tasters describe the smell of wine through similes comparing wine to fruit, vegetables, spices, minerals and other scents we experience in everyday life. She mentions how different wine tasters use their own vocabularies, and how newcomers can be as descriptive as more experienced wine tasters.

Wine tasting: Step three - tasting and writing a tasting note

In this lecture Jancis describes the tasting experience, what your taste buds tell you and how you can be a great wine taster without ever drinking a drop. She describes the 4 key dimensions of wine: sugar, acidity, tannin and alcohol. She looks into how acidity influences taste, what the wine growing climate does to the acidity of wine, how tannin preserves red wine, and how they can also be present in white wine as astringency. She also explains what alcohol feels like as you taste the wine, how to identify balance in wine, as well as the finish and what that tells you about the quality of wine.

Jancis then demonstrates the tasting of an Australia Shiraz and shows the process of how to take tasting notes.

Tasting wine challenge
Summary of how to taste wine like a professional

Jancis summaries what she has covered in this section: where and how to taste, what the ideal wine glass looks like, how to use your eyes, noses and palates to judge a wine and finally how to write a tasting note.

Activity: tasting with friends

Another challenge. Get together with friends for tasting activities which don't always require wine and fine tune your taste buds.

Choose and buy wine confidently - must try wines and avoiding costly mistakes

Introduction to buying wine

In this introduction Jancis explains how she is going to help you traverse the minefield that is buying wine from the enormous selection available. She is going to try and direct you to some of the more reliable and best value choices, and to help you be more comfortable and confident when ordering or buying wine.

Where and how to buy wine

In this lecture Jancis explains how to avoid the pitfalls of buying wine in supermarkets, the benefits of independent wine retailers and the importance of establishing a relationship with a good independent store. She gives you tips on how to find a certain wine at the lowest price, what to consider (and watch out for) if you'd like to join a wine club.

What to pay for wine and how to avoid overpriced wine

In this lecture Jancis explains how there is very little correlation between the price and quality of wine, and why you should avoid the very cheapest bottles of wine. She gives a general rule of thumb to find a fair price of a bottle of wine, gives some sources of information to help find great wines based on other enthusiasts' experiences and why your should look out for unusual grape varieties.

How to avoid common mistakes when buying wine

In this lecture Jancis covers some common mistakes to avoid when buying wine, for example when on holiday, wine tasting parties and which wines to avoid when buying in a store.

Some of Jancis's wine recommendations for safe bets and more adventurous options

In this lecture Jancis recommends some grape type and country combinations which are generally a safe bet, as well as some suggestions for more adventurous and less well known wines which you might not have tried before.

The attached document lists all Jancis's recommendations for both which you can use next time you are perusing a wine selection.

Matching wine to food: the golden rules

In this lecture Jancis talks about why you shouldn't stress too much about matching wines to food and gives you some advice and pitfalls to avoid. She lets you in on the secret of the two foodstuffs which make wine taste strange. She goes on to recommend which wines you should try with which meals and debunks some of the common myths.

The attached document lists Jancis's recommendations for matching which wines with which foods.

Wine making: Organic, biodynamic and natural

In this lecture Jancis talks about how wine making is moving away from agrichemicals are changing, what the three new techniques of wine making are and how to spot them. She talks about how sulphur, how it can affect some asthmatics and even "orange" wines which don't fall into the traditional categories of red, white or rose.

Choosing wine confidently challenge

Put your new wine knowledge to the test, good luck!

Summary of how to buy the right wine

Jancis summarises what she has covered in this section: Where to buy wine, what to pay, some recommendations of safe bets as well as more adventurous wines, how to match food and wine and some specific recommendations and finally how wine making is changing.

Activity - talk to your local wine experts

Your next challenge. Get out there and find your local experts.

Wine in the real world - become a wine expert in every social situation


In this introduction Jancis explains how she is going to cover how to get the most out of wine in some specific situations: when faced with a restaurant wine list, out on a date, buying a special bottle as a gift or for a dinner party.

How to select a bottle of wine from a list in a restaurant or a bar

In this lecture Jancis explains why you shouldn't just buy the second least expensive wine, how to get the best advice and why you shouldn't just go for the house wine. She explains how to go through the process of the tasting ritual and what you're looking for when you try the wine.

How to select wine for entertaining at home

In this lecture Jancis explains how to select wines for entertaining at home, offers some ideas on how to compare similar wines with your guests and how to change the wines as the evening progresses. And the wine to definitely avoid if you're serving chocolate mousse!

How to select wine to take to a dinner party or a BBQ

In this lecture Jancis explains why its usually a bad idea to buy the most expensive bottle in a wine shop for a dinner party, and which premium wines are best suited to being drunk immediately. She also offers advice on which wines are best suited to more relaxed outdoor occasions such as a BBQ.

How to select wine for business entertaining

In this lecture Jancis gives tips in the social etiquette of wine drinking in business situations to avoid awkward moments.

How to select wine for special occasions and birthdays

In this lecture Jancis covers how to select wine for special occasions, makes some suggestions for good value sparkling wines for gatherings, gives some wine ideas for birthdays and Valentine's Day.

How to select wine for a date

In this lecture Jancis gives a couple of tips on how to choose wine on a date.

Choosing wine for different occasions challenge

Put your new wine knowledge to the test, good luck!

Summary of choosing wine for different occasions

In this summary Jancis gives some final tips on how to choose the right wine for each situation.

Activity - wine pairing and guessing the price with friends

In this activity Jancis gives some suggestions to help build on what you've learn so far as a group.

The essential tools, tricks and techniques for all budding wine experts

Jancis's essential wine kit list

What hardware do you need to get the most from your wines? Cork extractors, glasses, decanters, champagne bottle openers and more. Jancis tells you about her favourite essential items and the best way to use them.

Closures - a guide to corks and stoppers

The differences between real cork, plastic, screw-tops and other wine bottle closures.

Master the art of bottle opening

Jancis demonstrates the various tools and techniques you can use to successfully open your bottles, what you should do if the cork breaks and how to open sparkling wine safely.

Improve your wine by decanting

Reasons why you might want to decant wine, what you need and how you should do it.

Faulty wines and how to spot them

Wine faults are rare but you need to be able to spot them. Jancis describes typical faults such as "corked" wines, reduction, oxidation, yeast, VA, how to spot them and what you can do about them.

Which wines to age and where you should store them

Jancis describes the wines you should and shouldn't age, the best environment to store them in and what to do if you can't create the required conditions.

Make profit from your wine hobby by collecting and investing

Jancis describes how some people are able to turn their love of wine into profit through collecting and investing. She talks about how to stay safe when investing and lists some wines you may consider purchasing.


A recap of everything you've learned in this section.

Wine tools and techniques challenge

Put your new wine knowledge to the test, good luck!

Activity - decanting with friends

Another challenge you can share with friends to help you understand the effects of decanting.

How to take your new-found wine knowledge to the next level

What next?

Want to know even more about wine? Jancis shares her tips on the resources available to expand your knowledge and skills further.

Bonus lecture: carry on learning

A list of specially selected resources to help you on your journey to mastering wine.

Here at the Expert Academy, we publish courses on a variety of topics, and seeing as you made it to the end of this course we thought we'd treat you to some free bonus courses:


If you would like to try our course on how to make a cup of coffee, completely for free please click on the link below:

How to make the perfect cup of coffee with Richard Hardwick


We also have a course with the incomparable Russell Amerasekera on Personal Branding. if you would like to take this course for free, please click on the link below:

Russell Amerasekera on Personal Branding

And if you enjoyed this course, we'd appreciate some good reviews. And if you didn't, please let us know and we'd do our best to improve it!
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