Websites We Love To Read

Wine, Wit, and Wisdom is the name of the official blog of the Society of Wine Educators. When I log on to the Internet, that’s my home page. It’s #1 on my list of wine must-reads. I read a lot of blogs, newsletters and magazines, and I’ve downloaded some cool apps. I enjoy most of them, but when it comes to my must reads, Wine, Wit, and Wisdom is it. It, that is, until I discovered the Bubbly Professor.

Six months ago, I was sitting in my CSW class at Capital Wine School in DC when someone said, “Bubbly Professor.” As soon as I got in front of my laptop, I looked it up. This, I thought, my wine loving friends, will be the ticket to my success. Bubbly’s tag line is Excellent Adventures in Wine Education. Her real name is “Miss Jane” Nickles, and she’s the director of education for SWE.

If you’re taking the Certified Specialist of Wine exam, this web site is a must read. By now, you have the study guide, and you have the text workbook, but THIS site is loaded with tips on how to pass the exam. Trust me, if you’re looking for a short cut, this isn’t it. This makes you study harder and smarter. It’s more work. If you think you know the material, the Bubbly Professor will show you if that’s true. It includes numerous learning tools, flash cards, quizzes, and much more.

Speaking of the CSW exam, if you are studying for it, there’s an interesting blog on the WWW site (see below). You can also find it on The Wine Stalker site (see below), written by Joey Casco, CSW. He gives some great tips on how to highlight the study guide to your best advantage. Casco talks about his journey to the exam and adds, “The CSW has a 55% pass rate average.” Ouch.

I love that he took a picture of his CSW pin, and I wanted to feel his joy.

I was about to make my way to New York City to take my CSW exam last February when Mother Nature intervened and leveled the East Coast with something called the Polar Vortex. Happy Valentine’s Day y’all. Thankfully, gratefully, SWE allowed me to reschedule the test for March.

Taking no chances, I flew to Providence, RI, the night before the exam. Pulled an all-nighter to the muted, looped sounds of CNN, just because I could not sleep. “I know this.” “I know that.” “Next card.” A few hours later I showed up at Johnson & Wales University and took the test at 9 AM. A hundred questions in one hour. I finished in 50 minutes. I didn’t want to check it. I was afraid I’d re-think answers. My brain was saying, “Over.” I was done. Fried. C’est fini.

Before we left the testing center, the proctor told us to expect the results in 4-6 weeks. Went down four flights, out the door, and took a pre-arranged taxi from JWU to the airport. I celebrated my stupefied state by eating oysters. Two orders of oysters and a glass of Pinot Noir.

About seven days later I received the envelope. Oh no! I was a wreck! I’m not ready! What happened to the 4-6 weeks? Instead of opening the envelope, I ran my hand across it. There in the corner was this little bump. I knew it was THE pin.

And I felt my joy.

Whether or not you’re taking the CSW exam, you may find these web sites informative or entertaining:


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