The NJ Wine School specializes in wine and spirits classes. Their wine education includes both WSET certification plus specialty wine classes. The school had formerly run French Wine Scholar (FWS) and the Italian Wine Scholar (IWS) programs. All classes are open to the public, age 21 years and older, and include theory and tasting analytics.
Founded in 2010 by Susan and Mark Hesleitner. Susan is the head instructor. Before opening her school, Susan was a Wine Associate for Vino Volo restaurant at JFK Airport and a tour guide for Millbrook Winery. She holds a Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and the French Wine Society.
Mark is the Chief Financial Officer of the NJ Wine School. He currently holds the Level 2 WSET Certification in Wines & Spirits. He is a Financier, Real Estate Investor, and a highly regarded Eagle Scout in his community.
This school offers consumer wine-tasting classes and in-person Wine & Spirit Education Trust programs. They claim to offer up to Level Three certification, but only Level One is currently scheduled for in-person classes.
This school does not have a brick-and-mortar location. It does not list an address on its website, but several sites have a home in Port Jervis, New York, listed as the headquarters. Upon researching that address, it was the Hesleitner’s home. A few years ago, we reached out to clarify where classes were held but did not receive an answer. The school’s Twitter feed shows that some classes are in Fairfield and some in New Brunswick, about an hour apart. At the time, no other information is given about the locations of their wine courses.
This may have been a pandemic issue, as there is now clarity on where they hold classes. As of this writing, classes are now held at Primo Mercato in Short Hills, New Jersey.
The New Jersey Department of Education is the approval authority for vocational-technical schools and noncollegiate proprietary schools. As typical of this type of wine school, this school is not listed nor approved by the state of New Jersey to offer professional courses. No location, no license, and only their WSET franchise to back them up.
I called multiple times, but never got a response.