Study wine then baby, baby and wine or baby then wine?
May 21, 2012 5:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in studying all things wine related but what stops me is the desire for a second child sooner than later. How can I study wine while pregnant? Odd question but could use some help in understanding.

I've been interested in wine for a short while but just recently I've decided that instead of just imagining what it would be like to know, I'd like to get up and get immersed in everything wine related. My future goal is to maybe be a wine master.

Currently, I'm on more a home study kind of level. I have the 2006 edition of the Windows On The World course, know of basic tastings at the grocery store or World Market. I've joined a few meetups so I can get to real tastings but for the most part, I'm reading and have yet to get out there. There is the ISG diploma program locally that I'm considering. It starts in October and I'm thoroughly interested even if it doesn't happen for me till next year. The thing is I want a second child and while I know that wine is not all about drinking, I imagine I would have to do at least some beyond tasting and spitting it out. Right?

Do I put off studying more in depth till after pregnancy? Just keep with my book? If so, can you give me more ideas on what to do and how to study? I can't see me getting very far any time soon if I do end up pregnant and have to wait till I wean to actually drink any wine. I also can't see myself putting off having another child for a couple years as studying wine can, I'm sure, take up the rest of my life. Do I have the wrong idea here on what it means to study wine? Advice? I'll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing when it comes to this industry, I'm super interested, but the thought of mixing wine and pregnancy (if I'm blessed enough to end up pregnant) makes me pause and I have no idea how to handle that here when I want both.
posted by grablife365 to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This website (the Court of Master Sommeliers) will give you lots of information.

Here's another one, a little less stringent than the CMS.

If you have a culinary school nearby, see if they offer any courses. When I was in culinary school for chef training, there was an entire course just for wines. I learned so much from that class.

And then there's this organization, too.

So, really, it's up to you. There are all levels you could investigate. The questions you need to ask yourself are: what do you want to do with this knowledge? Do you want to be a sommelier at a restaurant? Do you want to open a wine store? Do you just want to impress your friends? The answers to those questions should guide you in your education.
posted by cooker girl at 5:35 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

FWIW women in some countries drink wine while France. Not a lot of wine, of course, but a glass here and there. I'm sure people drink other things in other places and do not entirely abstain even while pregnant.

That aside, I'm not sure how much actual drinking would be necessary for in-depth study of wine. I think above all, whether or not you are comfortable with a little wine while pregnant would be the most important factor in this decision.
posted by fromageball at 5:36 PM on May 21, 2012 [8 favorites]

"The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recently conducted a large study including 400,000 American women, all of whom had consumed alcohol during pregnancy. Not a single case of fetal alcohol syndrome occurred and no adverse effects on children were found when consumption was under 8.5 drinks per week. 3

A recent review of research studies found that fetal alcohol syndrome only occurs among alcoholics. The evidence is clear that there is no apparent risk to a child when the pregnant woman consumes no more than one drink per day..."

"There is a strong ideological and political movement in the USA to convince pregnant women not to drink any alcohol. An examination of the research literature on the results of drinking during pregnancy does not provide any evidence that light drinking is harmful to the foetus."

"Current research says that occasional use of alcohol (1-2 drinks) does not appear to be harmful to the nursing baby."
posted by kmennie at 5:46 PM on May 21, 2012 [21 favorites]

Anecdata: an acquaintance who is a wine professional did a lot of tasting and spitting during her pregnancy with no ill effects to the baby. However, as you know from kid #1, your sense of smell and taste may be off during your pregnancy.
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:48 PM on May 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

Wait, are you actually pregnant right now?

If so, what everyone up there says about spitting and one to two units of wine per week blah blah blah.

If not, why not start moving down the road and see what happens? There's a lot of territory between "So I hear there are casual wine tastings at my neighborhood shop" and "International Wine Ninja". And it's not like you know EXACTLY how long it'll take for you to get pregnant. You could have a good six months of drinking before this is a concern.

If you're pregnant in October, put off the serious professional course. If you're not, do what you feel at that point.
posted by Sara C. at 6:01 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

My relatively conservative health providers have said 2 oz/day of wine is fine in pregnancy. That said, I have definitely found that wine doesn't taste right, and I would be hesitant to be in a program where I was relying on my senses of smell and taste while pregnant.

That said, the advice I was given before getting pregnant was this: don't delay anything you want to do just because you might get pregnant. It might take a while, and it's worth starting down paths you know you want to start down - you can always change course if/when your reality changes, but it's not worth planning around a hypothetical. Best of luck with both paths!
posted by judith at 6:38 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hi - I'm 32 weeks pregnant and drinking a glass of wine as I type this.

I'm in the US where people, IMO, are utterly insane about drinking and pregnancy. I have allowed myself to drink reasonably throughout my pregnancy, after reading what I could, taking into account that women in France, Ireland, Spain and Italy don't normally all go cold turkey for 9 months, and knowing that I and pretty much all my friends who were born in the 60s and 70s had moms who drank some (if not more) during their pregnancies and we're none of us FAS victims (thank god).

THAT SAID - don't put off doing this til after you have a kid for any reason, who knows what could happen in the future! And my *very personal two cents* is that pregnant ladies can have a dram now and then and it's OK, everybody calm down.

(PS - I work with, and many of my good friends are, doctors. They all, to a person, have been supportive of my decision to drink very responsibly while pregnant. Your "responsible" and mine are different by virtue of biology, so YMMV. IANYD, lucky you.)
posted by tristeza at 7:23 PM on May 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'll echo everyone else here that I think being a responsible pregnant person and moderate imbibing are not mutually exclusive environments. I know a mom who has four children and she had them while she and her husband launched their now-very-successful winery. She certainly did not swear off the stuff while pregnant.

I was also briefly involved in some culinary circles while pregnant and while I did have occasional wine or beer (two of my passions) along with cheeses (all kinds), I also found that my palate was very different. It was like I could taste too much of the different flavors in beer. And that may have been in part due to an increase in smell sensitivity. So, for science's sake, I think you should start up immediately and take lots of notes and then when you have small samples later while pregnant you can marvel at what new and different and odd flavors you're getting.

Also, if you're going to be a pro, you really can't drink everything. You'll get too drunk and you won't be able to keep track of anything. So, get used to spitting or taking very small and meaningful sips.
posted by amanda at 8:05 PM on May 21, 2012

How many glasses does it take to get you drunk? Don't drink that much. No children here , but I think it is supposed to be okay to have a glass of wine while pregnant. I don't know how much you'd have to drink to make a proper study of wine, but you don't have to be an alcoholic to be a wine student either.
posted by discopolo at 8:41 PM on May 21, 2012

The minute I realized that I wanted to know everything that I could about wine I started reading. But I only got so far. It wasn't until I took a class where I got to sample some wines that I wouldn't have had the chance to taste by the glass or in tasting events locally that my education really started to gel.

Right after getting my first level sommelier certification I went to Napa & Sonoma and tasted, tasted, tasted, tasted. It made a huge difference in my appreciation and understanding. I'm aching to go to my next stop on what I anticipate will be a life long exploration of wine areas.

Your study of wine will likely have at least two impacts. First, the more you learn about wine, and specifically, higher end wines the less interested you'll be in drinking the stuff that you might otherwise have enjoyed. Second, you'll likely want to explore as much wine as you can. Different varietals, different countries, different AVAs, you name it.

You are correct, this can be a lifelong pursuit if you choose to let it be. There is always a new producer, a new AVA, etc. coming along and it's a wonderful thing to explore. Start now. If I had stopped "learning" after just four months of study I would still have known more than most people will ever care to know about wine.

Only you can decide whether or not you're okay with drinking a bit of wine as you continue your education during your pregnancy.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:58 PM on May 21, 2012

When I was 6 months pregnant with my second child, my midwife told me it was fine to have a glass of wine at night. The baby was awake all night doing gymnastics. A small glass helped us both sleep. The midwife's words were, "Don't go downing a whole bottle."

One of my very early indicators of both pregnancies were that I could not keep down ANY amount of alcohol. Half of a beer and I was sick, even before I missed a period. Might be something to keep in mind, if you're biologically wired the same way.
posted by lilywing13 at 11:47 PM on May 21, 2012

You really don't drink the wine in a wine course (I did the WSET Higher Wine Certificate) unless you want to. I did, because I was traveling to the course by subway; my classmates who were driving did not, on the whole.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:00 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

There is so much you can do without actually consuming the wine. When I took intro wine courses, most of the class was memorizing. You have to know the wines, grapes, places, etc. It's a LOT of memorization. What grows in what valley at what time of year? What are all the regions of Italy and which kinds of grapes grow in each one? What are the characteristics of a Sancerre grown in a warmer climate (or whatever)? Getting this foundation is something you can do now. You can also start using/memorizing an aroma kit now.

Also, in wine tasting class, our instructor recommended that we NEVER drink the wine in our program, so that we were always clear-headed. I can't say we all followed this rule all the time, but many did and it's certainly possible.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 11:11 AM on May 22, 2012

I don't think studying wine and being pregnant have anything to do with each other. You're not asking to be blitzed. For the minimum, you have to postpone drinking for 9 months. Do the basics, background, and non consuming studying and then go at it once the baby is born.
posted by stormpooper at 1:02 PM on May 22, 2012

I remember reading that Andrea Immer studied while pregnant, and that seems to be backed up by the Wine School of Philadelphia in their note about pregnant students.
posted by freezer cake at 2:06 PM on May 22, 2012

« Older What diet book would best fit my need?   |   Yes, I know what it rhymes with... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.