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Napa Valley Wine Academy Launches a Fresh New Take on Wine and Spirit Education

The Napa Valley Wine Academy launches its inaugural wine program this month with classes that bring students out of the standard classroom and into winery and food centers that place them closer to the subject matter at hand.

Instructors at the Academy are industry professionals who bring an energetic new take to wine and spirit education, using hands-on activities to inspire wine enthusiasts, and interactive learning techniques to help students studying for wine certification classes.

“The Napa Valley Wine Academy stems from our belief that there is no better place to learn about wine than in the heart of Napa Valley, America’s pre-eminent wine region”, says Chris Oggenfuss, Founder and Chief Educational Officer. “Combine this belief with our instructors, who not only teach, but live and breathe the subject matter of wine, and you have a recipe for student success.”

Win a $200 Certificate to Back Room Wines

One of the benefits of taking classes through the Napa Valley Wine Academy is the quality of wines which will be tasted. In its excitement for the large variety of wines available in its local market, the Napa Valley Wine Academy is holding a sweepstakes with the grand prize being a $200 certificate towards the purchase of wine at Back Room Wines, downtown Napa’s fine wine retailer. The winner will have the opportunity to stock up on his or her wine cellar or get a leg up on tasting different wines of the world in preparation for a WSET certification class.

Sign up for the Napa Valley Wine Academy Newsletter at to gain entry into the sweepstakes.

Exciting Classes

A range of classes and wine certification courses are being offered by the Napa Valley Wine Academy:

Basics and Beyond the Basics

The 2-3 hour Basics classes are ideal for wine country visitors, those just entering the wine business, and general enthusiasts, with offerings such as: Prelude to a Sip : So What Am I Smelling and Tasting?  and  It’s a Bubbly World – Sparkling Wines from Around the World.  There are also a series of Beyond the Basics classes such as Wine Finds :  Lesser Known Wine Treasures from around  the World.

WSET Wine Certification Courses

Take your career to the next level:  The Napa Valley Wine Academy is an approved provider of the internationally recognized Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certification courses, Levels 1 through 3.

Certain classes will be offered in Spanish and German.

Napa Valley Wine Academy instructors hold various wine and spirit degrees, but most importantly, what the Napa Valley Wine Academy offers is energy and excitement for sharing wines and spirits with both enthusiasts and those looking to advance their industry careers.

Napa Valley Wine Academy founder and partners are:

Christian Oggenfuss, AIWS, WSET-Certified, Founder and Chief Educational Officer of Napa Valley Wine Academy, is a second year Master of Wine student with the Institute of Masters of Wine in London and holds the Level 4 Diploma from the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Christian brings 20 years of wine experience to wine education as a marketer and brand builder for premium wine brands. He has also successfully launched wine related businesses in Switzerland and traveled extensively to all major wine regions in Europe and North America.

Catherine Seda, AIWS, is lead educator and partner, and holds the Level 4 Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the WSET. Catherine is an international wine accounts manager at Balzac Communications in Napa, CA, sits on the St. Helena Star and Napa Vintners Tasting Panel, and writes monthly wine columns for local and international publications.

Jürg Oggenfuss, WMD, C.S.W., is lead educator and partner and attended the Wädenswil School of Oenology, graduating with the “gold” Wine Merchant Diploma. After a successful wine retail career, Jürg works at Joseph Phelps Vineyards as a distinguished Wine Educator and Education Coordinator as well as host for VIPs. Jürg holds the Level 3 certificate with Distinction from the WSET, and is fluent in Schwiizerdütsch (Swiss-German), German, French, Italian, Spanish and English.

Guest instructors will also be invited to come speak.