Florida Wine Academy offers wine, spirits, and sake education. They are an Approved Program Provider of WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) courses. WSET is recognized as one of the three major wine trade credentialing bodies. Additionally, they offer courses offered by the Wine Scholar Guild and the Sake Sommelier Association.
Restaurants, bars, and wine retailers can benefit from Florida Wine Academy’s consulting and on-site training services. The training includes wine list design, wine pairing, handling, and service training for staff. By learning more about the products they sell, trainees are more likely to provide better service to guests and increase sales. In addition, they offer cellar management services, advice on buying fine and rare wines, and auction representation for private collectors.
Private Wine Events
Additionally, they host corporate events, seminars, and educational tastings. Original curriculums for Grape to Glass, the Lab Series, and a Bordeaux Masterclass are some of the most recent additions to their schedule. In addition, they regularly work with outside educators to bring additional courses for their students, including Master of Rioja DOCa and the WSET Level 1 in Sake.
As a founder of the Florida Wine Academy, Alessandra Esteves is the Director of Wine Education. A Certified Educator, she holds a Diploma in Wines & Spirits from WSET. She also holds the Wine Scholar Guild certifications for French Wine Scholar and Champagne Master, Master of Rioja DOCa, and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW). In the past, Ms. Esteves worked as a corporate lawyer in Brazil and Germany.
Florida Wine Academy is co-founded and run by Guilherme de Macedo. At the Florida Wine Academy, he is responsible for the Sake Education Program. He is also responsible for developing new partnerships with corporations, associations, and chambers of commerce, overseeing all back-office activities, and ensuring quality control at all levels.
The wine school is located within 305 Wines in Palmetto Bay, a suburb of Miami. The classroom is actually an extra-long dining room table in the center of the wine shop, seating up to 10 people. Before then, the school was located in the SunTrust International Center, Suite #1440, in downtown Miami.
The shop is opened in 2019 by Alessandra and Guilherme, the owners of the Florida Wine Academy. Located in an older strip mall, they offer a diverse and well-curated selection; we were delighted to find wines from Switerzland, Armenia, and Lebanon on their shelves. There is an impressive selection of Sake, as well. This is the type of synergy that allows a wine school to thrive.
Owning their own facilities is an important criterion for a wine school, showing a level of investment and commitment to wine education that is sadly missing in many of the WSET-affiliated schools.
The Commission for Independent Education, within the Florida Department of Education, has approval and licensing authority for independent postsecondary institutions. The state maintains an online database of all approved school. However, the Florida Wine Academy is not listed. A follow-up call confirmed that FWA is not a recognized wine school in Florida. That in itself is not unusual, but a worrying trend for WSET schools.
For a fairly new wine school, they have a decent amount of reviews. As of this writing, there are a half-dozen reviews on Yelp, and about two dozen on Google, all of which are positive. We find the same here, which about 20 positive reviews coming in from our readers, and only one negative review.
In our review of their programs, we love the fact that they have a brick-and-mortar location, but that is balanced by their reliance on WSET accreditation, which is a very weak framework for running a school. The team running the school is top-notch, but not quite up to par with “Ivy League” schools like the Napa Valley Wine Academy.
We all know that WSET isn’t for high achievers. It’s for bus boys who want to become sommeliers. It’s the wine version of a woodworking class in highschool. For that, this Florida school is a smart choice.