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Photos by Linda Nguyen
Pinkies up! Vitis House will start offering whiskey and sake certifications as well as WSET online courses in May. Founded by chef, cookbook author and wine educator Doreen Colondres, Vitis House is a program provider of the most prestigious wine and spirits schools in the world—and its WSET certifications are recognized around the globe.
While wine is its main focus, Vitis House recently launched a whiskey and bourbon class that was so popular Colondres decided to bring the certification to the state of North Carolina. Adding to that the increased demand and popularity of sake, Colondres decided to offer classes and certification courses on sake as well. She was approached by the Sake Sommelier Association—which is based in London and owned by a female Japanese sommelier—who helped her bring the license to NC.
“I love NC—especially Raleigh,” says Colondres. “People are so open to new things, and they’re open to learn. I feel honored with the success that we’ve had so far because everyone was very welcoming—they never had all these certifications in town. And now they have all these options. We have people from all over the state coming [to Vitis House], even people from out of state.”
Colondres will be teaching the sake classes and certification courses, while Raj Sabharwal—who is WSET Level 3 Spirits certified, a certified educator, certified Whiskey Ambassador and the founding partner of Glass Revolution Imports—will be teaching everything related to spirits. “He has an impressive background,” says Colondres. “Achieving a Level 3 WSET in spirits is kind of not normal.” But clearly impressive.
Vitis House’s fun, laid-back and educational classes are designed by Colondres herself, and usually take about an hour-and-a-half. Meanwhile, the whiskey course takes a full day, while sake level 1 is 3 hours, and sake level 2 is two days (WSET 1-3 in-classroom courses vary from 1-5 days).
To complete the courses, participants must take an exam and, if they pass, become a certified Whiskey Ambassador or sake sommelier, respectively.
“I’ve noticed many people will come in for class after class, and then one day they come in for a certification,” says Colondres. “I love to see that I’m taking their interest to a passionate level. It’s really cool to see them getting into the world of wine or spirits.”
For those who can’t make the in-person WSET courses, Vitis House has also recently added courses online as well. Colondres adds, “The more we know, the more we appreciate the good quality of wine and spirits. And I think people enjoy it more and appreciate it more when they’re pouring in their own glass.” Get into the spirit by registering for a class or a certification at vitishouse.com.
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