Home Industry News Releases Napa Valley Wine Academy Announces New Online Course

Napa Valley Wine Academy Announces New Online Course


Wine 201 covers wines of the world offered asynchronously

Napa Valley, February 2021 — Napa Valley Academy announces the launch of a new online course, Wine 201: An Exploration of Wines of the World. The course follows the Academy’s highly popular Wine 101 course released two years ago, and offers a next-level opportunity for students to explore wine in more depth and breadth.

Offered 100% online, this intermediate course is jam-packed with 26 lessons, videos, interactive exercises, reviews, quizzes, and a final exam. Following successful completion of the course, the student will obtain a certification of completion which can be printed (and framed).

Wine 201 is ideal for students who have completed Wine 101 and wish to take further steps towards becoming a wine expert, but also for wine enthusiasts or trade who have some previous knowledge of wine, and wish for an intermediate course to deepen their learning of key wines of the world.

“We are delighted to offer this new course as an approachably-priced, yet fully stocked course for those looking to expand upon their knowledge of wines of the world,” explains Academy founder R. Christian Oggenfuss. “This course provides enormous insight into aspects of the wine world which will help wine students advance their careers in wine or allows them to comfortably discuss wines of the world with their friends and family,” he added. “As we all weather the pandemic, the popularity of online education is growing, and we’re thrilled to be increasing the options available for wine aficionados everywhere – at and excellent price,” he said.

The class is currently available at the Napa Valley Wine Academy website and costs $199.00. It is offered asynchronously, which means that students can access the course online at their convenience. Recommendations are made for wine purchases, which can be acquired by the students at their expense. Upon enrollment, the student is invited to join of the Academy’s robust online community, with opportunities for engagement and interaction online.

The instructor, Jess Helfand, is a long-time educator at the Academy, and teaches all levels of courses, from foundational to trade professional-focused. Jess Helfand explains that “the goal of Wine 201 is to provide a comprehensive foundation of wines of the world, with emphasis on wines relevant to the American market, for both wine professionals and enthusiasts.” The material is direct, informative, enthusiastic and a little playful. “Wine shouldn’t be shrouded in mystery, and knowledge shouldn’t feel out of reach. For this class I’ve developed eye catching infographics and maps in addition to text to explain key topics and ensure understanding,” explains Helfand. “I’ve set out to make a whole host of wine information accessible and easily digestible,” she adds.

The course covers a broad range of topics, from fundamentals of fermentation to styles of Sherry. Topics covered range from the role of the grape and its expression around the world. “If you’ve never heard of Chenin Blanc from Savennières, this will be your opportunity to learn all about it,” Helfand says.


Jess Helfand is an economist by training who has always had a love of wine and spirits. She has over 10 years of experience in wine education, wine retail and on wine judging panels. She completed the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma in 2016 and has been teaching for Napa Valley Wine Academy since 2017. Jess is the Nashville representative of the Academy, teaching both in-person and on-line. She is recognized as a regional expert in wine education with students attending classes from all over the southeast and beyond. Jess teaches all levels of WSET in Wines, from Level 1 to Diploma, as well as teaching wine fundamentals classes to corporate clients and groups within the community. In addition to teaching formal classes, Jess serves as a tasting and theory coach for the Napa Valley Wine Academy. Jess is a WSET Certified Educator and holds the titles of Italian Wine Professional (IWP), Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS), Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), and Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS). She also has an MA in Policy Economics from Tulane University and holds an MBA from the University of Maryland. Jess resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and three cats. When not teaching, Jess works in a wine and spirits boutique and continues her work as an economist. In her free time, she enjoys Pilates and creating innovative cheese and charcuterie boards.


Napa Valley Wine Academy is America’s Premier Wine School™ and the two-time winner of the WSET Global Wine Educator of the Year, having won in 2016 and 2019, making it the most awarded WSET wine school in the world. The Academy is based in Napa Valley, California with ten locations across the United States and Online. The Academy is proud to be an approved program provider of the internationally recognized WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) series of wine, spirit, and sake courses (including WSET Levels 1 through 4 in Wine) as well as a full suite of online classes and a host of other specialty classes ideal for enthusiasts and critical for wine and beverage industry professionals.

For more information about the Napa Valley Wine Academy and its numerous courses and experiences, visit https://napavalleywineacademy.com/.

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