Worcestershire all-rounder George Rhodes and paceman Jack Shantry were two of nine past and present county cricketers who developed a nose for wine on courses organised by the Professional Cricketers’ Association.

The PCA teamed up with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and Accolade Wines to run the courses at the Kia Oval and Edgbaston.

If George and Jack and the other players who attended pass the course, they will gaining the WSET Level One Award in Wine.

The award is a beginner level introduction to wine and is suitable for those interested in starting a career in or pursuing an interest in wine with courses being run by WSET certified educators from Approved Programme Providers WSET School London and Birmingham Wine School.

Lynsey Williams, one of the PCA’s six-strong team of Personal Development and Welfare Managers, helped to organise the courses and appreciated the support of WSET and Accolade Wines.

She said: “It is always exciting to be able to offer new courses and qualifications to our members. The WSET Level One Award really appealed to them due to its practical nature and the fact that they were able to put their new knowledge and skills to immediate use.

“WSET has been wonderful in tailoring the courses to meet our needs and the timing of the course helped us to attract a mixture of current and former players.

“Accolade Wines generously supplied the wines, including the Hardy’s brand, for the courses and we are very grateful for their support of this initiative.”

The course syllabus included the main types and styles of wines, common grape varieties and their characteristics, how to store and serve wine, the principles of food and wine pairing and how to describe wine using the trademark WSET Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine.

The assessment criteria also included an understanding of the issues relating to the safe consumption of wine across legal, social, health and safety standpoints.

At the end of the course, all the players took a 30 question multiple choice exam and will receive a certificate and lapel pin if they pass successfully.

The players were also given advice on how to further develop their knowledge and experience and about the range of careers in the wine and spirits industry.

Ian Harris, WSET Chief Executive said, “The beauty of WSET courses is that they give hands-on wine and spirits education to anyone of any level, almost anywhere. The Level 1 Award in Wines is the perfect introduction to build on an existing interest in wine, or spark a new one, with practical information delivered to a professional standard that lays the foundation for future tasting and learning.

“We’re delighted to have been able to offer this opportunity to PCA members and it was exciting to see such an impressive line-up of players looking to expand their wine knowledge with an internationally recognised qualification.”

The Players who attended the WSET courses were:
James Franklin, Ollie Rayner (Middlesex), Mat Pillans (Surrey), Luke Wells, Laurie Evans (Sussex), Jack Shantry, George Rhodes (Worcestershire), Chris Wright (Warwickshire), Nick Denning (Essex).