Study Strategies: MS & MW Perspectives

In this webinar, Chris Tanghe MS and Ashley Hausman MW tackle questions students often consider when pursuing wine certification. From the philosophical (Why am I doing this?) to the practical (Where do I start? How does this fit into my life?), Chris and Ashley offer strategies to prepare for examinations at any level. Years of study, mentorship, and missteps along the way have given them greater perspective on which study strategies work—and which do not.

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Anonymous
  • Hi Kimberlyn! I think we both mentioned travel. I know that for myself, travel was a key component to really learning about particular regions, viti-vini practices, and nuances among different cultures. It made textbook study come to life and actually impress upon me the information in a way that finally made sense. In the same way, working harvest finally made abstract concepts of winemaking more concrete as well. It's hard to explain, but actually going to the places, driving the roads, chatting with different winemakers, seeing and smelling the soils, eating the food... it makes it all come together. And yes - as I got further along in my studies and took advantage of opportunities outside my city (tastings, conferences, networking, etc), I also found that those enriched my learning as well. I think you need to always travel with purpose though - questions and notebook/pen at the ready. Be strategic so you don't wind up feeling you didn't spend you money and time wisely. Good luck! 

  • Thank you so very much for this webinar. I'm studying for Certified, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to sit the exam. When you spoke about travel, what did you have in mind? Did you mean visiting wineries and vineyards, classes and conferences, or something else? 

  • Thank you very much for this awesome conversation! 

  • Thank you Emily, Chris, Ashley. I am looking forward to applying some of the ideas you all presented. I love the idea of chunking unrelated topics / regions together as opposed to studying all one country at a time. I have been studying for exams for quite some time and never thought of that. Paul Coker and Martin Bealy shared that with our study group the other day... brilliant. 

  • Hi Velecia! I am glad you reached out. I think the road to finding a mentor can be difficult at first, especially if you live in an area where there is not a strong wine community. Assuming that, I have a few suggestions for you or anyone at any level of study. First, identify exactly what it is you want from a mentor? Mentors come in all shapes and sizes. They do not need to be a 'Master', nor do they even need to be someone that has passed the exam. They can be seasoned industry professionals who know a ridiculous amount about a particular region (Bordeaux, Germany, etc), or they could be peers who have passed higher level academic degrees and learned a lot about strategic study planning and time management.

    I am a fan of many mentors, as it is more likely you will get people to give you a little of their valuable time and insight versus one person making a commitment wholly unto you (unless you are considering hiring someone).  Plus, you pinpoint individuals for their individual areas of expertise and thereby receive exceptional advice on challenging topics. You are lucky to be part of a massive community with GuildSomm. The first thing I would do is start a thread - How Did You Prepare for Intro CMS and Pass It? Ask for tips on what to ready, how to study, what to expect, and see what you get! 

    I am not an assertive person by nature, and so it took time to find my academic tribe so to speak. All my mentors came about organically, as I had a specific question or concern. And all of them came after I passed Intro CMS, as that experience itself seemed to present a larger networking opportunity. I would make a point to go to trade tastings and introduce myself to people, share my interest in learning more and gaining more certifications. More invitations to taste with groups and attend seminars came my way. And that network continued to expand. Then, as I pushed forward with study and specific area of weakness arose (oh so many along the way), I knew exactly who I wanted to talk to about wine law, must weights, or dosage levels in Champagne. People can sense when you are serious about your academic goals, and they will often take some time to help if you ask and are willing to work with their schedule and within their boundaries. 

    I am not sure if I just made that more complicated or less so for you. But my point is this: there really should be just one mentor in this process. Use what you have to your advantage (GuildSomm community, local wine community, etc), and just take it one question at a time. I promise, you will find your way! And good luck!