It has become clear in recent months days that what is clearly needed in the wine world today is education.

Yes, education. But not about wines, and their myriad combinations of distinctive grapes from far-flung places. We’ve got that part settled. Everyone who knows anything about wine knows: it’s all about personal taste. Find and follow your own palate. The rest is gravy. The age of needing critics to guide one to specific vintages from specific producers is gone.

No, the training people need now is how to deal with the trappings, the minutia, the devilish details that have come in the fast-paced, Web-driven new age of wine. With that in mind, I hereby am opening the E-cademy of Worldwide Wine. Or EWW {pronounced Eww!}.

All classes will be conducted via twitter, tumblr, facebook, Yelp, YouTube, Ning and/or other online platforms. No tuition, no need to register, just “Tune in or tune out,” as the great wine critic of the 1960s, Dr. Timothy Leary, used to say. Our first batch of classes will include…

  • How to Be a Wine Blogger. All you need is a computer, spare time, a chronic habit of buying your own wine for your own personal purposes, and the chutzpah to want to gab about said wines and other wine topics to lots of people you will never know, meet or get any monetary reward from. In this class you will learn the basics of communicating sincerely about your passion; and signing up will qualify you to pay your own way to the Wine Bloggers Conference this July in California. Bonus: state-by-state tips from veteran bloggers on how to get wine shipments dropped off at home while you’re at work!
  • How to Be a Wine Rater. 90-point wines: magic or just savoir-faire? Our machine-like wine-critic luminaries promise to share their secrets of how to line up 30 glasses of wine blind, then sip and spit your way through them while constantly pivoting toward a computer screen and entering a laundry list of organoleptic qualities, which may or may not be evident to a single other human being. Then, these mathematical geniuses will instruct you how, at the end of each flight, to assign scores which 85% of the time will actually be above 85 points, and which will stick to those wines forever and ever. Caution: no food will be allowed in this class.
  • How to Publish Your Own Buying Guide. Once you build up your stamina and gather a team of “beat” tasters who can help canvass all corners of the wine world with marketing budgets, you too can put out page after oversized page of eye-glazing rated reviews that no one will pay attention to besides the winery and people trying to sell it. Learn the nuances of Buying Guides, such as how to sell label reproductions and pawn them off as editorial, thanks to tiny fine print. Then learn how to spinoff a lucrative shelf talker business, snookering lazy retailers who have a hard time answering wine questions, let alone making recommendations.
  • Retail Savvy 101. Being a successful retailer in today’s cut-throat 90-point wine world is not as simple as just posting shelf talkers until they turn yellow. No, sometimes you need to talk the talk and walk the walk. Our panel of old school merchants will demonstrate the trusted techniques of nodding gently, suggesting quietly, and deftly handing customers a bottle of whatever wines in the shop have the greatest margin that month.
  • Intro to Slavic Email Marketing. Constant Contact just isn’t enough anymore. Whether you are selling off a boatload of old Chardonnay or trying to drum up attendance for your next winery BBQ, you need the latest trick in the book, namely how to code your emails to read like this: Мы подготовим Вам рекламу в Интернете, через e-mail рассылку. У нас самые большие базы. Наши заказчики, оценив рассылку, заказываю ещё и ещё. Aha, we knew that would get your attention!
  • Wine Ethics Master Class. Become an EMW (Ethical Master of Wine) via this intensive, one-weekend seminar, to be conducted as if it were an actual press junket. You will vicariously participate in all of the glorious food, wine and inside access that a wine critic does. Then you will be coached by a variety of industry experts on how to keep these personal perks under the public radar. Open to both wine writers and wine raters; but not bloggers (sorry, the nature of the Internet is diametrically opposed to ethical shenanigans via blogs).