Throughout the course of the 12 Week Certificate, students are exposed to the wonderful world of wine through a series of lectures and tastings, delivered by Colm McCan, Head Sommelier at Ballymaloe House. Wine lectures are typically conducted on Wednesdays and students are introduced to the major wine regions of the world, with a particular focus on organic and biodynamically produced wines from ethical producers. Guest speakers are invited to speak to the students, from wine merchants to vignerons to wine writers. The Week 12 Final Exams include an in-depth wine examination which will put students to the test on a wide spectrum of wine information, including food and wine pairing.
Students also typically have the opportunity to attend wine events at Ballymaloe Cookery School or at Ballymaloe House during the course of their studies.
About Colm McCan
2014 recipient of the Food & Wine Magazine 'Sommelier of the Year Award', Colm McCan grew up in Tipperary in the family guesthouse business, a listed historic property with a 250 year old wine cellar, so it's no surprise that Colm has been interested in all things wine-related since then. Following completion of studies including a Diploma in Business Management (Hotel & Catering Management) at GMIT, and wine studies undertaken with the WSET, Colm has worked in high profile hotels and restaurants, both in Ireland and overseas for the past 25 years, joining Ballymaloe House in 1995 as Head Sommelier - a position that has won him much praise from patrons and peers alike.
Wine accolades received during Colm's tenure at Ballymaloe include:
- 'Best Restaurant Wine List & Wine Service' - Tomas Clancy's annual Wine Awards in the Sunday Business Post
- Wine Spectator Award of Excellence - "One of the best restaurant wine lists in the world"
- Lonely Planet Magazine - No. 1 Wine Weekend in the World
- Georgina Campbell - Wine Award of the Year
- Automobile Association 'Notable Wine List' Award for Ireland
- Daily Telegraph - Top 10 Wine Events in UK & Ireland
- Food & Wine Magazine - Top 10 Best Wine Experiences
Colm is our Wine Lecturer here at Ballymaloe Cookery School, and delivers a wine education programme for our 12 Week Certificate students three times yearly since 2006. Welcoming national and international wine experts on a regular basis in person to the cookery school, he also participates in live streaming international tastings and virtual wine events, all culminating in a wine exam for the students at the end of their course. Colm introduced the first electronic wine list in the world, with dedicated winemaker video-clips, made specifically for Ballymaloe. At the time, this received global recognition, including The Wall Street Journal, The Drinks Business, The Financial Times, The Sommelier Journal of America, and many other printed and online media including JancisRobinson.com.
Colm is also:
- organiser of the wine and drinks events of the internationall acclaimed Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine
- consultant to specialist wine merchant Le Caveau - twice awarded Best Wine Merchant in Ireland
- founding member of the newly formed Cork-based Munster branch of the International Food & Wine Society
- organiser of a series of wine events at the Grainstore at Ballymaloe
- founding member of 'Bringing the Wine Geese Home
When not in the depths of the cellar, Colm can be found in the first East Cork vineyard right here at Ballymaloe Cookery School.