Champagne Masters Immersion in Reims
Delve into the Champagne region's unique geology and topography with hands-on tasting and travel experience, mastering its captivating terrain.
Apr 7 - 12, 2024
Led by Essi Avellan MW & Peter Liem
Building upon the Champagne Masters, the most in-depth certification program on Champagne wines, this is an amazing opportunity to supplement your learning and to gain hands-on tasting experience and insight in the region itself.
This in-person session will be taking place from April 7 to April 12, 2024 in Reims, the region’s wine hub.
This 5-day, intensive classroom, field trip and tasting experience will be taught by Champagne wine experts and instructors of the WSG Champagne Masters program, Essi Avellan MW and Peter Liem.
Join us for 5 days of complete immersion with structured, in-depth lectures and field trips covering aspects of Champagne wine production, terroirs, houses and growers. This is completed with extensive tutored tastings of top-quality wines including some of the region’s iconic houses and producers.
The course curriculum for this in-person experience has been specially developed to build upon the existing WSG Champagne Masters course materials. It will provide participants a deeper dive into topics covered and, notably, give the opportunity to taste many wines and experience the vineyards and winemaking first-hand.
This experience is open to new, current or past students of the Champagne Masters certification.
Immerse yourself in this bubbly region with two of the world's leading experts. Enjoy a balance of classroom instruction, tutored tasting and field trips.
Registration in Wine Scholar Guild Champagne Masters program*
Welcome dinner the evening before class starts
Three days of classroom instruction with extensive tutored tastings
Two full-day field trips with stops in Reims, the Montagne de Reims, the Côte des Blancs, or the Vallée de la Marne
Lunch on both field-trip days
Finale dinner at a restaurant in Reims
A fine selection of champagne during the included meals
Individually-proctored online exam, to be taken up to one year from date of final payment (exam is not offered during the course week in Reims)
Access to the full Champagne Masters program will be granted once full payment has been received (120 days before departure). Students have access to the online classroom and Champagne Masters course materials for one year from that date and have one year take the exam. Deduct $300 from total price if previously or currently enrolled in the Champagne Masters program.
- Lunches on the three classroom study days (students are given free time to eat lunch on their own on these days, with many food options within walking distance of the classroom venue)
- Transportation to/from France and to/from Reims
- Dinners aside from the welcome and farewell dinners are not included
There are many hotel or AirBnB options in Reims at all price points. We recommend that you book lodging in the historic center of Reims. Please contact us if you need help with lodging.
Itinerary & Pricing
About Your Instructors
Essi Avellan MW
Your Wine Instructor
- Author of Essi Avellan's Champagne
- Co-author of the 4th edition of Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine with Tom Stevenson
- Chair of Decanter World Wine Awards Champagne panel
- Knighted as Chevalier l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the French Minister of Agriculture
Your Wine Instructor
• Author of the award-winning book Champagne
• Author of ChampagneGuide.net, an award-winning online guide to the wines and wine producers of Champagne
• Former senior editor, critic and tasting director for Wine & Spirits magazine
• Contributor to The World of Fine Wine, Decanter, The Art of Eating and The San Francisco Chronicle
Who is the program for?
Committed students of wine with a strong background in viticulture and winemaking and a good familiarity with Champagne. As the course materials have been specifically designed to be supplementary to the existing online Champagne Masters certificate program, this gives graduates of the program, current students, or new students, the ability to gain additional insight into Champagne. This experience is open to new, existing or past students of the program.
Location / Venue:
This intensive week of immersion into the wines of Champagne takes place in the comfortable and well-equipped Maison Palmer, located on the grounds of the headquarters of Champagne Palmer. The venue is located just a few moments by foot from the center of Reims, close to hotels, shops, restaurants, and other sites of interest. This characterful building has been completely updated with modern facilities making it the ideal base of operations for this exciting course.
About the wines tasted:
With their access to many great houses, your instructors have selected wines to be tasted that represent a broad cross-section of different terroirs, winemaking philosophies, and styles. You will taste approximately 15 wines each day in the classroom as well as many more during your scheduled field trip days and during the included meals.
April 7-2024 in Reims, the region's wine capital.
Morning (9:00am - 12:30pm)
Afternoon (1:30pm - 5:00pm)
Sun April 7, 2024
Students should arrive in Reims no later than 6pm
Welcome aperitif-dinner in Reims
Mon April 8, 2024
Free time over lunch break
FACTORS AFFECTING HOUSE STYLES
Tue April 9, 2024
ALL DAY FIELD TRIP - REIMS
Champagne house visit
Included restaurant meal
ALL DAY FIELD TRIP - REIMS
Champagne house visit and vineyard tour
Wed April 10, 2024
Free time over lunch break
THE CHAMPAGNE REGION: THE BIG PICTURE
Thu April 11, 2024
ALL DAY FIELD TRIP - CÔTE DES BLANCS
Grower visit(s) and vineyard tours
Included restaurant meal
ALL DAY FIELD TRIP - VALLÉE DE LA MARNE OR MONTAGNE DE REIMS
Grower visit(s) and vineyard tours
Farewell dinner in Reims
Fri April 12, 2024
Free time over lunch break
Students are free to book their departure travel for after 5:30pm or stay in Reims if they wish
About the Champagne Masters Program
The five-day in-person experience in Champagne was designed to add supplementary material to WSG's Champagne Masters program, the most in-depth certificate program on the wines of Champagne. Led by champagne wine experts, this completely revised and updated program will take you deep into an exquisite landscape and an extraordinary winemaking process… all the while tapping into the spirit and mindset of those who found a way to capture the bubble in the bottle.
Master the complex and fascinating Champagne region including its geology, topography, and soils
Understand and experience first-hand the winemaking variables that impact quality
Get the inside track on up and coming champagne growers as well as developments from top maisons
Stay current on the evolutions in viticulture, winemaking, and the factors that affect house styles
Gain a deeper understanding of concepts such as malolactic fermentation, aging vessels, oxidative vs. reductive winemaking, dosage, and how they impact the end result
Taste through around 15 carefully chosen champagnes each day during classroom, plus many more wines during fields trips and included meals
Perfect your tasting skills, including blind tasting
Meet fellow committed students of wine and lovers of champagne
Visit top houses and smaller growers and learn directly from those crafting the wines
Experience first-hand some of the top Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards and understand what factors lead to the production of these outstanding wines
Frequently Asked Questions
- You’ll learn so much more than you would on your own! Internationally renowned instructors are with you at all times throughout the week, giving fascinating information, making sure you understand the nuances and subtleties of the region and its wines, and responding to all of your questions.
- You will have amazing tastings in the classroom and get access to estates you would not be able to visit on your own. We have the highest-level contacts in each region. You’ll also get to taste fascinating wines at each estate, and you’ll be welcomed as an honored guest.
- Your instructor has worked in the region for many years. This has allowed them to cultivate extensive experience and contacts within the region. You’ll get expert information about the wine business there, and an insider’s take on local culture.
- The immersive experience makes the most of the limited time you have in the wine region and ensures that you get a thorough overview of the region and its wines.
- You get the camaraderie and pleasure of exploring the wine region with other like-minded people who are as passionate about wine as you are.
- Your instructor will translate for the group at all times, so you will have no communication issues, as many winemakers have limited English.
Our Educational Wine Tours offer end-to-end full-service wine experiences with all lodging, and most meals included. You may move locations throughout the week and visit up to three wineries each day. This type of tour provides a deep-dive experience in the vineyards, cellars, and with local winemakers.
Our Masters Program Immersions provide a 360-degree view of a region via 3 days of classroom instruction with extensive tutored tastings and two days of field trip study. These programs build off of existing WSG course content and are available to new students, current students and alumni. Course materials are included in the price, and you can take your certification exam for the corresponding program once you return home. Hotels are not included in the price, but we are happy to provide information on options for all budgets once you reserve your seat. Lunch is typically included on field trip days only, with free time on classroom days to source your own lunch at your expense. Group dinners are also included with the remaining three at your expense. Many students prefer the structure of learning in the classroom combined with the free time of this format. It is also well-suited for those who wish to be more social, as students quickly become friends with others in the group.
We request that all guests on our trips are serious and passionate about wine, however, there are no official prerequisites for WSG Study Abroad experiences.
For all Masters Program Immersion experiences, you will receive study materials in advance once your balance is paid in full, or 120 days before travel. To get the maximum benefit from the trip, we strongly recommend being familiar with content that is provided in advance.
WSG Studio is also an excellent resource and contains hundreds of topical recorded lectures and webinars on many of the regions we visit. For trips that do not include study materials, we will generally send a curated selection of webinars to watch in advance.
Yes, the following include enrollment in the corresponding online Masters Program:
- Champagne Masters Immersion in Reims
- Bourgogne Masters Immersion in Beaune
If you're a graduate of the program, or are currently enrolled, you are eligible for the "Enrolled Student Price" ($300 discount) when paying your final balance. Study materials and access to the online classroom will be provided when your full payment is received (120 before the start of the trip). Students have one year from the date they pay their final balance to take the online exam. Extensions, at an additional cost, are available.
They begin and end directly in the wine region you’ll be visiting. For your convenience, all trips start and end in or near a city with major rail links and/or airports. Transportation to and from the meeting and ending point is up to you and at your own cost.
Information on trip starting and ending points are included in the itinerary for each trip. You’ll be sent all the information you need to make your travel arrangements once reserved.
Our instructors have arranged professional-level tastings at some of the finest estates in each region.
At all the estates, you'll receive a warm welcome and an educational tasting often with the winemaker him or herself. In most cases, you will tour the technical facilities (vat room and aging cellars) in addition to your tasting. You may taste from the barrel or vat in addition to recent and older vintages in bottle. Sometimes you’ll taste in the cellar, sometimes in a tasting room and other times outdoors.
During some visits, you’ll go out into the vineyard with the winemaker to discuss vineyard management and harvesting. If the winemaker doesn’t speak English, the instructor will translate for him or her, and for you if you have questions. Each estate visit is unique: at one winery, you might see a cooper making barrels; at another, there may be beautiful gardens; at a third, a special art exhibit or museum.
Preparing for the trip
Please ask the instructor if there is enough time at the end of the visit for you to make your purchase without impeding the progress and timing of the trip. It is rare that estates offer international shipping.
If you would like to purchase wine, we recommend that you ask your government’s customs office for their rules and regulations if you intend to bring wine back into your country, or have wine shipped to you.
You always have the option of bringing wine home with you in your checked luggage. A specialized wine suitcase is perfect for this. Depending on your home country, this amount will vary. You may have to pay some amount of duty on your wine when you go through customs. Therefore, it's best to check with your local authorities for further information.
For the field trip days, it's best to bring clothing that’s casual without being unkempt. Avoid sweats and old sneakers, for example. For our visits to more prestigious estates, slightly more elegant attire is requested and appreciated.
We'll be doing quite a bit of standing and some walking during the field trip days, plus the cellars can be damp, so it would be best to avoid high heels and opt for comfortable shoes for the daytime. For walks in the vineyards, you’ll want appropriate walking shoes or sneakers. For the evening, do bring some dressier clothes for dinners in elegant restaurants.
For Masters Program Immersion: these experiences typically include a welcome dinner, a farewell dinner as well as one or two lunches during your field trip days. These meals will be paired with selected local wines. The rest of the meals are at your expense. WSG and/or the instructor will provide a list of some dining options for you to consult.
Instructors & Course Assitants
Our trip instructors are among the most renowned and respected wine professionals in the wine business. They are also professional wine educators who are absolutely passionate about the region and its wines.
You can see a full biography of the instructor for each trip on the corresponding page, so you can know exactly with whom you'll be touring and learning. Most are native English speakers (American or British), and all other instructors speak English fluently. Our instructors have that special combination of high-level wine expertise, personal warmth, friendliness, and excellent leadership skills. They'll accompany you every day, throughout the trip, and will be able to answer all of your questions about the wines of the region you’ll be visiting (and about wine in general).
The course assistant is there to help the instructor during the time in class, serving wines and other tasks. During the field trip days, they are there to make sure all the logistics of the day run smoothly so that the instructor can devote their time to instructing! This includes liaising with the bus driver and restaurants before and during the trip. Along with the instructor, they are responsible in making sure that the group is punctual for all visits, meals and drop-offs. They also help to handle any emergency that may come up.
Booking a trip
Yes, we strongly encourage you to purchase a very comprehensive travel insurance package once you have paid your deposit for a Study Trip. Note that many plans require you to purchase the insurance very soon after your deposit payment (some require it within 14 days).
There are any number of things that can happen that can cause cancellation or interruption of package travel, and travel insurance can help cover the costs you incur as a result. You can find travel insurers easily and there are sites where you can compare policies (for example, Insure My Trip).
Be sure to read policies very carefully before you purchase. Include your airfare, train fare, and any other expenses you will have in addition to the price of the study trip itself. We highly recommend getting a “cancel for any reason” policy, which offers the best coverage. Travel experts say “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel,” so don’t skimp on this important coverage!
"Students of Wine"; whether wine industry professionals or serious wine hobbyists who wish to learn extensively about the wines of France, Italy, Germany, Portugal and Spain with the leader in French, Italian and Spanish wine education and certification.
Yes, you need to be in good physical condition. On field trip days, we will be walking short distances into the vineyards, walking through a winery, up and down stairs, and often standing in place for a while during a winery tour and tasting (sometimes there is no place to sit in the winery).
Yes, definitely. We keep group size to no more than 16-18 participants, to make sure that everyone gets individual attention. The smaller group size also allows us to use a smaller motor coach, so we can take smaller, more scenic country roads and maneuver more easily through narrow estate access roads. It also enables us to visit exclusive estates that do not accept large groups.
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Our industry-recognized educational wine tours offer intensive, professional-level education within wine regions of France, Italy, Spain and beyond. Led by prominent wine professionals and journalists, our itineraries and curricula provide a backstage pass to the most celebrated wine regions.