Ask me anything about wine! I'm a wine expert and a professional sommelier. I teach online wine courses and run live wine tastings.

Svetlana Ruiz Kasparova
Aug 9, 2018

My name is Svetlana Ruiz Kasparova, I'm a wine expert and a professional sommelier. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have about wine. 

Teaching about wine is my great passion. I teach Introductory Wine Course Online at HBF School

If you want to know how to drink wine, how to enjoy it to its fullest, how not to overpay for wine, I'm happy to give you a few very practical tips. The right knowledge is the key!

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Can you explain why having the right glass is so important when it comes to getting the most from wine?
Aug 11, 6:14AM EDT0

Dear Bheem,

all types of wine have certain characteristics that are better expressed in a wine glass of a particular shape. That was discovered in an experimental way. There are standard glasses for red, white and sparkling but modern wine lovers don't wait long to get more appropriate glasses. You can find them at glass producers websites and study. In our course we also have a lesson on that.

Chin Chin!

Aug 14, 4:23AM EDT0
What does the process of producing a hybrid grape wine entail?
Aug 11, 4:35AM EDT0

Dear Adri,

Wine production has very concrete steps that are not connected with types of grape. They entail fermentation, pressing, aging, stabilization, bottling. Cultivating of grape varieties is a different story. We speak at our wine course in details about production.

Best wine regards

Aug 14, 4:24AM EDT0
What are sulfites? Are they dangerous?
Aug 11, 2:10AM EDT1

Dear Chitto,

Sulfites are conservatives that help to keep wine stable.  Usually it's added at the stage of bottling. Nowadays there is a strong tendency to reduce the quantity of sulfites they used before. An after-wine headache can be connected to the big quantity and low quality sulfite. Normally they don't bring much danger as they are used in many food products. Attention should be paid to less expensive wines. Don't over drink them.

Chin Chin!

Aug 14, 4:25AM EDT0
How many people do you accept in your introductory wine course?
Aug 10, 11:31PM EDT0

Dear Eadiatu,

I don't think there is a limit in the course as long as it goes online. Good luck at the course!

Aug 14, 4:29AM EDT0
What do you think is the most common mistake most people make when it comes to wine?
Aug 10, 7:51PM EDT0

Dear Cheryl,

when it comes to choosing wine I think people should be more open to ask for professional advice. The choice of wine is very big nowadays thanks to the open trade, it's easy to get mislead. When it comes to wine tastings people can have many prejudice and be too self-demanding.

Best regards

Aug 14, 4:28AM EDT0
Can you explain the importance of using a decanter with certain wines?
Aug 10, 7:51PM EDT0

Dear Cheryl,

decanter is an important tool in the work of a sommelier. It's used for red wines mainly that need contact with air or have strong sediment. Very often in the 1st case it's enough to open the bottle couple of hours in advance. But if we don't have such time to wait before serving the wine we decant it. The use of decanter is quite often overestimated. And we should be very careful decanting old wines.

Good luck!

Aug 14, 4:28AM EDT0

Which certifications do you hold and how was it studying for them?

Aug 10, 11:12AM EDT0

Dear Analise,

I was lucky enough to learn practical skills from very good sommeliersand wine makers, that I did before, during my studies and after at mycareer. The certificate of a wine expert I received after a half yearof intensive studies (around 6 hours per day) with everydaytheoretical materials, tastings, meeting wine makers from all over theworld, best sommeliers, and passing difficult exams. It was not easyat times but incredibly effective and fulfilling. I'm happy that now Ican share my knowledge and experience with others.

My best wine regards!

Aug 11, 11:01AM EDT0
What's the medallion sommeliers wear around their neck? What does it mean?
Aug 9, 6:47AM EDT0

Dear Cesargarin,

the medaillon sommeliers wear is in fact a small shallow cup, looks more like a saucer. It's called tastevin (taste wine in French)  and nowadays it's worn only as a tradition. When a sommelier becomes a part of a world sommelier association they receive it as a sign of entering the sacral world of wine. In the past the tastevin was used indeed to taste wine especially in a cellar with lack of daily light.

My best wine regards!

Aug 11, 11:52AM EDT0
Do you like sparkling wines? What are some considerations buyers should take into account when shopping for a good sparkling wine?
Aug 9, 6:45AM EDT0

Dear Gareth,

of course I love sparklings! When we buy a sparkling wine we need to make sure  what sugar level we look for. Would it be Brut, Demi-Sec, Doux (Sweet) or others. This is what we teach at the course as well. Next thing to consider is the event we buy it for. Will it be an apperitive drink – so we can get something lighter or a more serious sparkling to accompany food.


Aug 11, 11:53AM EDT0
To which areas and locations is your introductory course restricted, how long will the course run, when are the classes and how long is each class?
Aug 9, 6:30AM EDT0
How did you go about creating your class curriculum for your introductory wine course, what were some of the questions you were asked that lead to the creation of this curriculum?
Aug 9, 4:12AM EDT0

Dear Gamerhuy,

as I did a professional course on wine I have the methodics of what one has to know about the subject in my mind. And of course I've used my experience of client work and carrying out wine tastings and seminars collecting most common questions to create the curriculum in the best way. Among those were how to behave at a wine tasting, how to store wine, wine and food pairing, how to choose wine etc.

Chin Chin!

Aug 11, 12:16PM EDT0
What is the most expensive wine you have ever drunk and was it the greatest wine you ever tasted? Are expensive wines synonym of good quality or better wines?
Aug 8, 10:39PM EDT0

Dear Mennah,

When a sommelier has got a chance to try the Great expensive wine they have to make sure they are prepared to it in order to be able to evaluate it correctly. I've tried an excellent Petrus of an old vintage, the cost was around 6000$ per bottle. I've tried some unique 60-70 year old samples of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc, they didn't have price because they were on sale only for some auctions. Yes, the price level correlate with the level of wine. But it doesn't mean that a wine for 15$ cannot be good. Every wine should cost its price, this is the rule. Of course there is a certain level of quality that you always want to keep up with.

Aug 11, 11:55AM EDT0
What methods of presentation have you chosen to relay the information in your course and how did you develop this method of presentation?
Aug 8, 5:19PM EDT0

Dear Red_Sun,

I developed the methods of presentation with our small but creative team. Mostly I've put my own ideas but no good project is formed by someone alone. In the course we use video lectures, interactive  presentations, PDFs, quizes and discussion groups. Good luck with the course!

Aug 11, 12:19PM EDT0
What are the requirements for one to qualify for enrolment for one of your courses?
Aug 8, 5:18PM EDT0

Dear Ab3lard0,

there are no specific requirements. Only your desire to learn about wine and become a part of wine lovers community.  Once you enroll you get the access to lectures, classes, self-assessment tools and materials. I personally curate the course during its offilical sessions. You can also participate in a closed discussion group and receive invitations to special online events.

Enjoy the course!

Aug 11, 12:02PM EDT0
This might be a ridiculous question but, why do sommeliers sometimes spit out wine after they've tried it?
Aug 8, 4:31PM EDT0

Dear Mar,

normally sommeliers spit the wine out very often. They do it for a very simple professional reason- to stay sober. Imagine you participate at a professional tasting with 60 samples to try and describe. Even if we spit all the wines out we feel the effect of alcohol by the end of such tastings. Have good tastings!

Aug 11, 12:03PM EDT0
Which is your favorite wine? What are the reasons behind this preference?
Aug 8, 2:51PM EDT0

Dear Jeamie_Elona,

this question of yours doesn't have a definite answer. I've got quite a list of my favorites wines and wine regions. The top of the lis tbelongs to Sherry, Vintage Champagne, Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Sancerre and many others. Our taste enriches and develops all the time. And once you try a wine that finds a respond in yourself you will want to have a closer friendship with it, and it becomes hardly comparable with something else. Enjoy your tastings!

Aug 11, 12:04PM EDT0
What are the ideal conditions to store wine?
Aug 8, 11:11AM EDT0

Dear Roman,

the ideal place to store wine is a dark and cool place like a wine cellar or a wine fridge where you can set constant temperature. Keep your wine bottles in horizontal position. Try not to disturb it in vane, visit it often, put some classical music and your wine will be very happy.

My best wine regards!

Aug 11, 12:04PM EDT0
How many different types of wine bottles exist? Why are some wines only bottled in a specific type of bottle?
Aug 8, 10:53AM EDT0

What is the correct temperature that red and white wines should be served at?

Aug 8, 9:40AM EDT0

Dear Victor,

red wine is normally served at 18'-19' C, white wine at 12' C. It alsocan depend on wine types, and grape varieties.

Good luck!

Aug 11, 12:05PM EDT0
What are the courses you offer through the HBF school and what do these courses include?
Aug 8, 9:30AM EDT0

Dear Evoh,

I personally teach an Introductory Wine Course.

HBF school offers courses from skillful experts from all over the world, who teach practical skills and knowledge in the area of cooking, healthy nutrition, food & drink etc. All courses are very well worked through, easy to learn, have interesting approach to topics and are very entertaining. Enjoy!

Aug 11, 12:31PM EDT0
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