Get your “Aldiploma” to really know your merlot.

By Tim Nelson
October 18, 2019
Bastian Lizut / EyeEm/Getty Images

The first time I bought a bottle (as opposed to a box) of wine on my own, I had literally no idea what I was doing. That’s not an exaggeration: when I finally uncorked it and started to pour, I was shocked and dismayed to discover that what I’d thought was a classy red I’d bought in the hopes of impressing someone was actually a white.

Though I’m still haunted by that experience, a new online course in wine literacy launched by UK-headquartered international supermarket chain Aldi can help ensure that budding fans of fermented grapes don’t have to make that same mistake. This “Aldiploma” program as they’re calling it will feature six online and video-based lesson modules that cover the basics of wine so you can set yourself on the path towards sommelier status.

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Developed by Aldi’s in-house wine expert Sam Capron (who also happens to be one of only 382 official masters of wine in the world), the free, learn-at-your-own-pace course covers things like how to taste wine, an overview of various reds and whites, a survey of the world’s wine growing regions, plus a lesson on sparkling, sweet and fortified varieties.

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For British supermarket with more than 1,800 U.S. locations, it’s a clever effort to make the process of shopping for wine a bit less intimidating.

“At Aldi we believe that visiting the wine aisle should be an enjoyable experience,” Julie Ashfield, managing director of buying for Aldi UK told The Drinks Business. “The Aldiploma provides a unique and fun approach to learning about wine, giving customers the confidence they want when selecting a wine and debunking any complicated wine terminology.”

Of course, there’s something in it for Aldi as well. Though the course is free for anyone to enroll, the brand says it pairs well with their three Wine Discovery cases, which can be purchased for £110 (about $141).

Still, given how the world of wine can seem stuffy and pretentious even to outsiders hoping to learn more, the chance to up your wine knowledge on your own time should be a welcome one. Once you get that Aldiploma, that next box of Franzia will taste even better.

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