Experience the tools to better appreciate a fine wine

Advanced Course

This course is now sold out


Enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the world’s finest wines with the

Académie du Vin’s


The Académie du Vin Wine Appreciation Courses were the brainchild of our Founder, Steven Spurrier, who firmly believed that the only way to learn about fine wines was to sample as many of them as possible – in the company of experts who could explain the fine shades of difference between them and why they came to be so.

Steven ran his first Course in Paris in 1973. Now, in partnership with the Vintage Conservatory, the Académie du Vin is delighted to be reviving the concept, fully repackaged and updated for the 21st century by our teams of experts in Toronto and at the Académie du Vin Library in the UK.


Vintage Conservatory Lombard
100 Lombard St #102, Toronto, ON M5C 1M3

$1,499.00 + HST


A series of four expertly guided tastings commencing
18:30 – 20:30 pm, Monday, May 29th

You will receive the full digital ePUB of the course on a USB stick on the first night of the program. Instructions on how to install the course on various e-readers both Apple and Windows-based will also be on the thumb drive.


Session One: Food & Wine Pairing/How to Prepare a Wine Dinner

During Session One, attendees will learn about food and wine pairing and what preparing a wine dinner entails. The session will start with the hard rules of pairing wine with food, such as pairing wine with spicey foods or not and selecting appropriate wines for red meat, fish, and shellfish. The discussion will also touch upon how the sauce matters more than the protein and how to graduate flavors when preparing a wine dinner. Attendees will also learn about glassware, including the benefits of handblown glassware and the differences between universal and specific glasses, as well as flutes and white wine glasses. The session will cover decanting and service temperature, including a comparison of whites served at cellar temperature and ice-cold and how the trend of reductive white wine affects when to open whites, even if served cold. Attendees will also learn about the benefits of decanting, double decanting, and using different decanters. The session will showcase a comparison of red wine opened recently vs. those opened eight hours prior and the benefits of storing bottles and decanters while they decant. The discussion will also cover the benefits of comparing and enjoying wine side by side during a wine dinner and whether to taste before or after food. Attendees will be encouraged to take notes on wine and menus for future reference.

Session Two: Where to Find Value in Modern-Day Collecting

In Session Two, we explore where to find value in modern-day collecting. We start by discussing the importance of looking outside classic regions due to price and climate change. For instance, Canadian wines are great for cooler climates. Smoke taint is also a consideration, and we will examine examples of smoke-tainted wines. We delve into the effects of climate change on vineyards, and the danger of some grand cru vineyards becoming overripe. We also consider the time it takes to find grand crus and the importance of old vines in the face of climate change. We then turn our attention to where to find value within the classic regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Spain, focusing on satellite appellations and lesser-known areas in Europe. The session also covers the sweet spot for aging wines and the effects of climate change on aging, the importance of following a producer over multiple vintages, and the changes in winemaking that affect the aging process. Additionally, we explore buying aged wines at auction versus creating a collection of wines to age, including the importance of provenance and the need to know the collection you are buying from. We also discuss the vintages we love and the ones to be wary of, as well as the importance of following great winemakers within even poor vintages. Finally, we consider the greatest value regions today with laterals, such as buying Barolo if you love great red Burgundy or Austrian Sauvignon Blanc if you love great Sancerre.

Sessions Three and Four: A Varietal Deep Dive:

With the foundation set after class two, sessions three and four delve into a varietal deep dive of both cool and warm climate grapes, providing a comprehensive exploration of each.

In Session Three, the focus is on cool-climate grapes, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Gamay. Examining the countries that produce each varietal provides valuable insights into the distinct qualities associated with the various regions. The discussion extends to wine-making techniques that contribute to the diversity observed among these grapes. By showcasing the value inherent in each region, participants gain insights into the distinctive qualities and offerings of cool-climate wines. Exploring the concept of laterals, the session identifies which regions provide the greatest value and exemplify the potential of these grape varieties. Additionally, the classes provide valuable context on the effects of climate change, explaining the reasons behind changing conditions and their impact on wine production. The excitement surrounding Austria in light of climate change is highlighted, while the USA’s current growing climate, especially in California will also be examined. Participants also learn about the wine-making changes necessitated by these shifting climate conditions. Classic regions with their iconic wines face new challenges from emerging regions, adding an intriguing dimension to the discussion.

Session Four mirrors the structure of session three but focuses on warm-climate grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Tempranillo, Rioja, and Douro. This deep dive into warm climate varietals complements the earlier exploration of cool climate grapes, providing participants with a comprehensive understanding of both types.

What’s included in the Advanced Course?

  • Course to be conducted at a round table, an excellent space for in-depth discussions, and an atmosphere of conviviality!
  • Four 2.5 hour tasting evenings, to be held at the Vintage Conservatory Lombard.
  • Expert guidance with slideshows and video presentations courtesy of our Course Director, award-winning wine and beverage consultant Toni Weber, supported in wine selection by celebrated sommelier Sam Fritz-Tate.
  • An exclusive set of digital Course Notes for your mobile devices summarizing the material taught during the five evenings.
  • A signed certificate for those who complete the course.

When you say ‘top class’ wines, what exactly do you mean? Well, here’s a selection from the last course offered to give you an idea:

  • Vincent Dauvissat Chablis 1er cru La Forest 2012
  • Clos Rougeard Le Poyeaux 2009
  • Château Malescot St-Exupery 2005
  • Vice Versa Beckstoffer George III Nap Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
  • Château Rayas Cotes du Rhone Château de Fonsalette Reserve 2011
  • Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino 2016
  • Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva 2010

What are the dates for the four evenings?

May 29th,  June 5th, June 12th, and June 19th (all Mondays).

We strongly advise you to attend the first Session. However, if, for any reason, you can’t attend one of the others, you will be able to sit in on that Session during a subsequent running of the Course.

Are there tests or exams?

Absolutely not! The Académie du Vin Wine Course is first and foremost about enjoying yourself in convivial surroundings – do that, and you’ll be amazed at what you learn along the way.