Twenty-five new wine professionals received their AWBP certificates from The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone on Friday, May 3. They are the latest graduates of the college’s Accelerated Wine and Beverage Program (AWBP). Eighteen of the 25 have already gone on to pass the Court of Master Sommelier Level 2 exam.
Vintner and entrepreneur Agustin Huneeus was the keynote speaker for the graduation ceremony. His Huneeus Vintners features numerous properties from his native Chile to the Sonoma coast and Napa -- including Quintessa.
Huneeus told graduates that they’ll be the ones defining the future of American wine culture. “I stand in awe of the width and the depth of your preparation to take on this very special path that you have chosen,” said Huneeus, whose career in wines has spanned more than 50 years and 15 countries, and included heading Seagram’s worldwide wine operations.
“While most of your generation is fixated on technology, on speed and pressure, you are dedicated to the aesthetics of life, to beauty, to pleasure. They make life faster. You make life better.”
A recipient of Chile’s highest civilian honor, the Servicios Meritorios a la Republica medal, Huneeus also earned the Distinguished Service Award from Wine Spectator magazine. He serves on the CIA’s Vintners Hall of Fame Board of Stewards.
The AWBP is held at the CIA’s Greystone. Over the course of eight months, students tasted more than a thousand wines, went on dozens of field trips, and learned from the CIA’s expert wine faculty as well as more than 50 guest speakers. Classes focused on wines of the world, sensory analysis and the professional business of wine, spirits and mixology.
This was the largest graduating class for the CIA’s AWBP, and the program continues to grow. The next class begins in September. Enrollees must be at least 21 years old with a bachelor’s or associate degree in hospitality management, culinary arts management, or a related field; or a bachelor’s degree and experience in a restaurant with a professional wine and beverage program. More information is at ciachef.edu/accelerated-wine-and-beverage-certificate-program-ca.