Fortified wine study
So much to study!

The Chilean authorities let me back into the country yesterday with just a mild reproof for bringing more alcohol into the country than is permitted – 12 bottles containing a total of 5 litres of fortified wines! I’m not sure they were convinced that I really needed them to study for an exam.  I know it sounds a bit weak, but it happens to be true – on 3 November I have to face a double whammy at the WSET London School – one exam on the global wine business and another on fortified wines, including a blind tasting, all in the one day.  And the range of fortifieds on sale here in Chile is miniscule.  So, as you can see, from the photo, I’ve come back to Chile prepared for serious study.

In fact, I made a flying visit to Porto and the Douro Valley in Portugal just a couple of weeks ago to see for myself the breathtakingly beautiful mountainous area where Port is made and the historical port lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia across the river from Porto, where the wine is matured in great oak vats. I’ll be reporting on my visit over the next week or two.

However, apart from catching up with family and friends, the main purpose of my visit to Europe was to sit the first WSET Diploma exam, which was on viticulture and winemaking. I’m delighted to say that I just heard that I passed! One unit down, five to go!

Tasting at the WSET school in London
Tasting tutorial at the WSET London School in June.

The WSET Diploma: so many wines to taste!