Who We Are

How To Drink Wine became an idea after we (Alasdair & Ashely) realised there were no good sources for working sommeliers to use to help give them a path the being a certified sommelier. There are many wine educators, wine websites, courses, etc. But none of them give you a direct, simple path to what is actually required of you to pass your wine exams, be it through the CMS, WSET, or SWE, or others.

Each education body has different idea’s about how your should taste wines, what information you should know, amoungst other things, which can cause a lot of confusion, with sommeliers or people who just want to learn, not knowing what path to take.

Our goal here is to help you understand what is actually required for you to reach your desired level. We will help create study plans, work with you through your preperation for blind tasting, service, and theory, and be there for you if you are struggling with any aspect of it.

Ashleys experience of being a wine educator and working sommelier for 15 years along with Alasdair’s none industry path to the certified level will give you the confidence that you can pass these exams whether you are a working somm or not.

Alasdair Walker, Founder

My path to becoming a certified sommelier came around due to me having an up brining that essentially involved cycling around vineyards in the south of France as a teenager, carrying lots of wine back to the campsite for my Mum and Dad. From there well it wasn’t until I was about 33 years old, I realised wanted to create a new journey for myself and wine would be a strong component of that journey.

Unlike most somms I wasn’t working in the Industry when I began studying for the CMS exams, I went the route of starting my own businesses and I am more of a second career sommelier which is like many people now sitting the course. I spent a whole 4 months prepping for my first attempt and failed my intro exam quite badly, but this only made me realise that – it was a lot harder than I thought, and i needed to get a coach if i was to take this seriously.

18 months later after some time away form wine I decided to go again and I fortunately came across Ashley in a wine forum and sent an email. We then spent between March and September prepping like crazy for this exam, and main thing I learnt was that blind tasting doesn’t have to be a complicated as it would appear. I actually failed my 2nd attempt (passed intro) failed the cert – but it wasn’t because of lack of theory, or tasting knowledge – my inexperience at industry level as a working somm on the floor shone through. Back to the drawing board – 3 months of intense service practise later – we were back – and I passed (not that i remember much as i had been drinking wine all day) . It was all thanks to Ashley’s teachings on service, and her unique tasting methodology that we are keen to teach here at How To Drink Wine to others looking to pass your CMS or WSET exams.

Now, it’s my goal to help as many people as I can who have come into the CMS like me who are pursuing an interest, to help guide you in the right path to passing their exams and getting that all illusive shiny pin.

Current goals – studying for CWS exam + CMS Advance Sommelier

Ashley Broshious, Co-founder

My whole life has revolved around service.  From the time I was young I wanted to help people and create a better world.  I cultivated that passion in the restaurant industry while in college and fell in love with wine.  There was something special about being the caretaker and knowledge holder of the history of the wine estates, and how those winemakers expressed the fruit of their land.  I attended culinary school at the Culinary Institute of Charleston and passed my Certified Sommelier exam at 22.  I was blessed with many opportunities to work for chefs such as Eric Ripert, Traci des Jardins, Chris Cosentino, and Charlie Palmer.  My journey took me from Charleston to Grand Cayman, San Francisco, and to the Napa Valley.  I had many amazing teachers and mentors along the way who taught me how to build and manage wine programs successfully and with a focus towards the needs and wants of the restaurants I worked for.  I excelled in financials and utilizing Profit and Loss statements, while maintaining highly functioning bar and wine programs.  I passed the Advanced Sommelier Exam in April, 2014 and was given the gift of working for an incredible small winery on Howell Mountain, Arkenstone Vineyards.  Along with How to Drink Wine, I am the founder of Into the Vines Consulting, and I am an instructor for the Commonwealth Wine School and the Culinary Institute of Charleston. I am currently pursuing the Master Sommelier Diploma, as well as always working to create better ways to help my students succeed.

During the pandemic, I went back to school for a diploma as a Master Herbalist and a Wellness Coach, 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher and a Clinical Somatics Instructor.  This is my way of giving back, helping others to achieve their dreams without the pitfalls I’ve experienced, and to teach in a new and meaningful way.  I want to focus on more than just getting you to your dream career quickly, I want to help you do it well, with intention, and with a balance in your own life so you can be on your journey for the long term.

I hope to be able to serve you, and our wine community, in any way you might need.

Expertise:

  • Tutoring for all levels including the following NVWA courses: American Wine Expert, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Professional, CSW, WSET 1, WSET 2
  • Training your Focus:  How to handle any exam from multiple choice, essay or verbal formats and build your own personalized study program
  • Blind Tasting prep for Certified and Advanced Sommelier exams, WSET II and CSW.
  • Mastering the art of restaurant wine service
  • Breaking down and understanding wine laws of all major wine growing nations
  • Building and maintaining beverage programs from the ground up including program costing, list development, bar programs and how to get the most from distributor relationships
  • Building staff training materials for all levels
  • Building your program from scratch including documents for inventory, ordering, product rotation, par systems as well as physical cellar maintenance and design