The Essential Wine School has been offering wine tuition since 2011, recognising the need for those working with wine and consumers alike to have more knowledge and understating of the world of wine.
The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is the only body approved by the UK government as a national awarding body of vocational qualifications in wine whose qualifications are available in over 70 countries. The Essential Wine School is this region’s Approved Programme Provider providing training and coaching leading to one of these internationally recognised awards.
Directors Ted Bacon and Ken Maitland both hold the WSET’s highest Diploma qualification and are experienced wine tutors and WSET Certified Educators. Most importantly they are passionate about wine and want to share that enthusiasm along with their knowledge.
So as well as offering formal courses the school runs more relaxed tutored tastings, corporate functions and fundraisers throughout Kent and Sussex. All of these events are designed to be enjoyable and entertaining at every level of prior experience but still adding greatly to the understanding of wine in all its forms.
Informing from an independent educational rather than a commercial sales point of view, they enable individuals to gain an insight of how wines are made and what makes them different, develop professional tasting techniques and give the confidence that will help in choosing wine to match every occasion and accompanying food.
Food and wine pairing plays an important role in the pleasure of dining and thus is also a central part of the school’s practical tasting and evaluation sessions.
We are lucky in the UK that the number and variety of wines available in today’s market is huge and offers pleasurable drinking at every level from every part of the globe, but this brings with it the difficulty of selecting from such a wide choice.
Learning about the differences between wines provides the essential knowledge to highlight where every wine drinker should look – or avoid – for the bottle that will be appropriate to their taste. And learning tasting technique and developing the senses and experience to judge wine is vital to that understanding.
The Directors and principal tutors at The Essential Wine School are:
Ken Maitland Dip WSET Certified Educator has a long history of involvement in both the wine trade and in training. When running his first wine business, which was in the Consumer Association's Which? Wine Guide top 100 UK wine merchants, he passed Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Higher Certificate (now Level 3) and Diploma examinations, for which he was awarded scholarship prizes.
He then joined the staff of WSET initially to manage their examinations and as a lecturer on their product knowledge courses.
His time as Registrar at the WSET coincided with significant developments – opening courses and qualifications to the public, the development of government approved vocational awards and the start of the international growth which lead to it becoming the global institution it is now with a presence in over 70 countries.
Ken is pleased to have been a guest judge for several years at the French National Wine Fair to have lectured at the Lycée Agricole at Mâcon, and one of the very first to attend the Austrian Wine Academy.
As well as founding the Essential Wine School in 2011, Ken is one of the guest tutors at the WSET's own London Wine & Spirit School and is involved in their online distance learning programme which helps him keep up to date with the ever developing world of wine.
Ted Bacon BSc,Dip WSET Certified Educator : Ted’s passion for wine first materialised whilst working part time in a wine merchants in Hastings. However he decided to go to the University of Kent where he studied Maths. During years of hard study he managed to find time to further nurture his knowledge of wine with like-minded students. Despite this he managed to pass his degree with honours.
Ted eventually became an Investment Director for a City fund management firm and twenty years in the City and many complex lunches also enabled him to further broaden his knowledge of wine.
On taking (very) early retirement he studied for the all the WSET’s exams, concluding with the Diploma which he passed with merit. Ted also studied at the renowned Plumpton College where he took courses on vineyard management, wine making and wine sensory evaluation.
After qualifying as a Certified Educator he has used these skills to present various tutored wine tastings before helping set up the Essential Wine School in 2011.