It's notoriously tricky to make wine work on screen for the mainstream consumer - though ITV's current series The Wine Show has met with some success. For the wine student, however, video remains a largely untapped opportunity. Books will always retain ultimate referential authority, but video can be much more approachable and user-friendly.
This is ably demonstrated at two very different levels of expertise by the short films found on WineTutor.tv and Udemy.com.
WineTutor.tv is billed as an online resource for MW students, although anyone can use the site and watch the videos once they are registered. It's a free service, funded by advertising that runs before some of the short videos start. The project is fronted by Tim Wildman MW, who is creating a series that is intended eventually to cover every aspect of the Master of Wine syllabus.
At the stage one seminar for MW students in Austria this January, several wannabe MWs cited WineTutor.tv as a useful resource for getting to grips with the course. There are currently 20 videos on the site, most of which concern the mysterious art of exam technique. Stylistically, they follow a similar formula, with Tim Wildman presenting and most of the content delivered through quasi-animated hand-drawn doodles and text. The content is precise and compact, with lots of ideas and helpful advice. Sometimes it feels a little prescriptive, because not every technique will necessarily help every student - but that is ultimately something for the individual to determine. And while the lighthearted tone is mostly engaging, I found that the repetitive soundtrack quickly became grating, which is something they intend to address in future films, I gather.
Those gripes aside, WineTutor.tv is invaluable as a first-hand insight into how to approach the Master of Wine qualification, and is a worthwhile addition to the arsenal of resources that every student must acquire.
Another new addition to the small world of online wine education is Jancis's Mastering wine course on Udemy, launched late last year. Designed to introduce people to the world of wine through the handy tips and tricks that Jancis has accumulated throughout her career, it is the video equivalent of her 24-Hour Wine Expert book. Three and a half hours of content are split into 51 'lectures', and readers of this site can take advantage of a 36% discount on the price by following this link.