The Neptune School of Wine stands out for its expert-led courses and comprehensive curriculum. It is an excellent choice for those serious about advancing their wine knowledge and willing to invest in quality education. The practical aspects of the courses, especially the blind-tasting workshops, are particularly beneficial.
However, prospective students should consider the cost and location when deciding whether the school aligns with their educational needs and goals. The school’s efforts to embrace a diverse student body, including non-English speakers, are commendable and add to its appeal in a multicultural region like Southern California.
Mr. Neptune is one of the most influential people in wine education, so we are offering an expanded biography here.
Early Life and Career Beginnings: Born on July 10, 1956, in Newport Beach, California, Peter Neptune’s initial exposure to wine and food began at his mother June’s restaurant, Tivoli Terrace, in Laguna Beach, CA. This early experience laid the foundation for his future endeavors in the wine industry.
Acting Career: Neptune’s journey took an interesting turn in 1979 when he moved to New York City to pursue a career in theater acting. He studied under Wynn Handman at The American Place Theatre and appeared in significant theatrical productions, including “A Girls Guide to Chaos” and “Leader of the Pack.” His acting career also extended to television, with roles in shows like “L.A. Law,” “Tour of Duty,” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” among others.
Transition to Wine: Neptune worked in restaurants to supplement his income while acting. His interest in wine deepened during this period, leading him to manage a high-end restaurant’s wine program with limited initial experience. In 1989, after a decade of balancing acting and sommelier roles, Neptune returned to Orange County and decided to focus exclusively on wine.
Wine Sales and Education: Starting as a wine salesman in the mid-’90s, Neptune’s passion and knowledge about wine grew. After a setback in his first wine exam, he persisted, eventually achieving success. He joined the Henry Wine Group in Benicia, CA, and rose to become Senior Vice President of Corporate Training.
Neptune School of Wine: In 2003, Neptune founded the Neptune School of Wine, Southern California’s first institution dedicated to the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) curriculum. The school also offers the French Wine Scholar program and exam.
Master Sommelier: A pivotal achievement in Neptune’s career was passing the Master Sommelier exam in 2005, making him one of the few to hold this prestigious title globally and the first in decades from Southern California. He has since been involved in teaching and examining roles at the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Role in ‘SOMM’ Documentary: In the 2013 documentary “SOMM,” which follows the challenging journey of four candidates through the Master Sommelier examination, Peter Neptune’s contribution was not just limited to his appearance as a Master Sommelier examiner. He played a pivotal role in the production of the documentary as well. Neptune was instrumental in championing director Jason Wise to the Court of Master Sommeliers’ board of directors. His advocacy and influence were key in securing the necessary permissions and access for filming this influential movie.
Additional Credentials: Besides being a Master Sommelier, Neptune holds several other prestigious titles, including Certified Wine Educator (CWE), a diploma in Wine and Spirits from WSET, and the title of French Wine Scholar with Highest Honors.
Wine Consulting: Neptune’s expertise has been sought in creating and enhancing wine programs for various establishments, including Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and the Terranea Resort. His curated wine list at One Pico at the Shutters Hotel has been recognized with Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence since 2009.
The Neptune School of Wine, a pioneering institution in Southern California’s wine education scene, was originally part of LCA Wine. LCA Wine was founded by Nancy Milby, a distinguished figure in the world of wine, known for her extensive knowledge and passion for wine education.
Established in 2003, The Neptune School of Wine emerged as the first Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) affiliated wine school in Orange County. It broadened its educational offerings by including programs from the Wine Scholar Guild, initially known as the French Wine Society. This expansion underscored the school’s commitment to providing comprehensive and diverse wine education.
LCA Wine, located at the SOCO Collection in Costa Mesa, Orange County, was an innovative concept that combined a wine shop with the wine school. Under Nancy Milby’s guidance, LCA Wine became a hub for wine enthusiasts, offering a unique blend of retail experience and educational opportunities. This integration of retail and education under one roof allowed for an immersive learning experience, making it a unique destination for those passionate about wine.
However, in May 2019, LCA Wine ceased operations. This closure marked the end of a significant chapter in the region’s wine education and retail history. The Neptune School of Wine underwent a major transition in conjunction with this. It relocated to a new facility near the regional airport, reflecting a new phase in its development. Simultaneously, the school rebranded itself from the Peter Neptune of Wine to the Neptune School of Wine, signaling a refreshed identity and renewed focus on its educational mission.
Despite the closure of LCA Wine, the Neptune School of Wine continues to carry forward the legacy of providing high-quality wine education. Its move and rebranding represent the school’s adaptability and enduring commitment to fostering wine knowledge and expertise among enthusiasts and professionals.
Too many WSEt people are ready to condemn it’s leaders. Peter Neptune is an upstanding man and leader in wine education.