Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 88 (The more more I know, the more I know I don’t know.)

Today’s words come to us from Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss).  Today is his birthday, but that’s only part of the reason Dr. Seuss is getting today’s W3 nod.

Yesterday, after studying for the better part of a year (some days more than others), I passed my Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) exam.  The first-time pass rate for the CSW exam is 46%, so I was rather pleased and relieved when I opened my letter* and read the words: Congratulations, you have successfully passed the Society of Wine Educators’ prestigious Certified Specialist of Wine exam!

[Pause for Happy Dance!]

Last week, I attended the Virginia Wine Chat at Horton Vineyards in Gordonsville, Virginia.  I always think of Dr. Seuss when I’m enjoying a Horton wine, I can’t help it.  A Norton from Horton would make a great sequel to Horton Hears a Who (a person’s a person no matter how small).  And so, Dr. Seuss was still lingering in my head when I walked out of my CSW exam and thought,

SeussI certainly did a lot of reading (I fell asleep in my chair with wine books as my blanket more than once).  And I know so many more things than I did a year ago.  I know there are 33 Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy.  I know the name and location of the smallest AVA in the United States.  I know every conceivable synonym/alias for Nebbiolo.  I can recite all seven parcels of the Chablis Grand Cru vineyard, in order from largest to smallest.  And I know what type of soil Palomino grapes (used to make Sherry) prefer.

But mostly I learned (or re-learned) this lesson — the more more you know, the more you know you don’t know (credit to Aristotle).  You also could devote your entire life to the study of wine and never truly know wine.  And I’m OK with that.

What places will I go from here?  Honestly?  Dunno.  But, the CSW is a terrific foundation to pursue any number of different paths.  I intend to keep reading, keep learning, and keep knowing.  But tonight, the only thing I need to know is a glass of Champagne!

*Incidentally, when you finish the CSW exam, you don’t receive any immediate feedback.  It’s not until you check-out with the identity police at the door (seriously — I had to show my driver’s license, passport, and have my palm scanned to take this exam) that they hand you a printout with your score.


  1. Congrats! Enjoy that glass, or 2, or 3, or . . . But lay off the Boone’s Farm, they’ll take the cert back.


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