Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 124

It’s been a while.  And it’s Saturday, not Wednesday.  I’m playing catch-up ball.

I’ve been drowning (almost literally) in fortified wines for the last five weeks.  Earlier this week, I sat the exam for Unit 6 of the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Diploma:  Fortified Wines. WSET is a British program, so you sit an exam, you don’t take it.  Nifty.  I kind of like that.  Sidebar:  I love it when British folks say the word brilliant.  Americans can’t say the word brilliant with the same panache.  But, during the course of writing piles of tasting notes and practice essays, I found there are certain British-isms I just can’t adopt.  For instance, I refuse to add extra vowels to words that don’t need them (color vs. colour).  Also, oxidize is spelled with a z, not an s.  Dammit.

The little colony rebels again.

Anyhoo.  In the midst of all of the Port, Sherry, Madeira, and vins doux naturels . . . I realized that my house looks like the morning after a frat party, the bills haven’t been paid, and we’re out of milk.  Oh, and the teenagers are bored.

What the heck am I doing with all this studying at my age??  (Btw, my age is 47.  I have never understood why women make such state-secrets out of how old they are.)  By the time I finish the WSET Diploma program (not programme), I will be breathing down the neck of 50.  Fifty.  My kids will be (mostly and hopefully) grown and flown.

And I will be ready (knock on a wine barrel) to re-enter the workforce.

People start new (aka encore) careers at 50 more often than you’d think.  But all this change is daunting.  So much studying.  Will it be worth it?  Will I even get a job?  And then I found these words from Henry Ford, who was, apparently, [read in British accent] brilliant:

My next fountain-of-youth study binge will be Unit 5:  Sparkling Wines.  (Inexplicably, you start the WSET Diploma program with Unit 2, and after that, you can take the other five units in any order you’d like.  I’ve stopped trying to figure that out.)

Stay tuned for my encore.




  1. Congratulations! I love that you are going after your new career with so much vigor. A few years ago I began the transition from corporate shill (i.e., marketing director) to wine writer/educator. It’s been challenging and frustrating at times, but also very satisfying. My next goal is the diploma program, which I hope to start next year. Thanks for sharing your experience – it encourages me to keep going!


  2. What’s this, drowning in fortified wines? I should be so lucky! But as they say, somebody has to do it. Make mine a port, no wait, maybe a sherry, or……. so may choices, so little time. Keep sloshing, ops, I mean slugging away. Cheers.


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