Wine, Beer & Spirits Education

//Wine, Beer & Spirits Education

Wine, Beer & Spirits Education

The team at Merchant’s Fine Wine is educated, knowledgeable, nice and will assist you with any purchase. They can lead you through the store selections to help you identify the similarities and differences between the products. Excited to learn more? No problem, we can help there too! If you are seeking to expand your wine, beer & spirits education, this is a great place to start! Explore the categories below for some great educational resources and recommendations. These include information on wine education training, beer classes, wine organizations, beer guilds, Michigan brewing, Michigan wineries, downloadable wine aroma wheels, and where to find upcoming events such as wine tastings and beer festivals. Have fun! Cheers!

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC)

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) was created upon the repeal of Prohibition by the legislature acting in special session in December of 1933. The mission of the MLCC is to make alcoholic beverages available for consumption while protecting the consumer and the general public through regulation of those involved in the sale and distribution of these alcohol beverage products.

If not on the shelf, Merchant’s Fine Wine can special order spirits from the Liquor Control Commission price book. If it’s in the price book and in stock with the state, we can get it for you in the next order. Please note: Merchant’s Fine Wine cannot take special orders for alcoholic beverages over the phone. Please visit us in the store so we can help arrange your special request.

Visit the searchable price book online:

KnowBeer: Beer education and Cicerone® Certification prep by Annette May, Certified Cicerone®

To ensure that every establishment serving beer brings you a GLASS, without you asking for one. Meaning, a BEER CLEAN glass, UNFROSTED, and appropriate for the style. AND that the server asks whether you would like them to pour the beer, and if so, doesn’t pour the yeast from the bottle into your beer.

Annette May, Certified Cicerone®, became both a BJCP judge and a Certified Cicerone in 2008, and since then have focused on beer education and encouraging people to explore the Cicerone program. She has over 20 years of experience working in the craft beer biz in a couple of different states, starting out in 1995 with bartending and managing a multi-tap beer bar, then transitioning to sales and distribution of high end imports and craft beer.

You’ll often find her plotting her next class while having fresh beers from her basement brewery and deciding what to cook to go with the beers. (Life is good!) She has a lot of experience with food and beer pairings, including speaking at conferences about this.

She conducts the “Cicerone off-flavor” classes in Metro Detroit, as well as hold the “Know Beer!” classes about beer styles and the other areas. She plans to do some classes focused on beer and food pairings too, as well as “Intro into beer” classes.

Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP)

The Beer Judge Certification Program or BJCP is a non-profit organization formed in 1985 “to promote beer literacy and the appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills.” It has been described in the press as a “hands-on … study program designed to teach aspiring beer enthusiasts about the essence of any kind of beer.” The BJCP certifies and ranks beer judges through an examination and monitoring process. Membership is limited to beer judges who have taken the BJCP exam.

Fermenta: Michigan Women’s Craft Collective

A non-profit initiated by Michigan women, committed to diversity, camaraderie, networking, and education within the craft beverage industry.

Fermenta is unique in that it welcomes women involved in all alcoholic craft beverage industries to join. From the beginning, it was important for the group to be inclusive. This is an exciting endeavor because Michigan has an amazing craft beverage industry and a growing number of female participants. The sharing of knowledge and encouragement of communication will unite the state and further strengthen all of the industries.

The organization is filing for a 501 (c) (3) legal status and will direct funds to educational seminars and endeavors for its members. The membership structure is two-tiered, active professionals (women who earn an income from a craft beverage industry) and associate members (women interested in the industry but do not earn an income from the industry).

Free Wine Aroma & Wine Tasting Wheels

Download to Print (pdf, 811 KB)

White Wine Aroma Wheel
White Wine Aroma Wheel
Red Wine Aroma Wheel
Red Wine Aroma Wheel

Wines of Germany

The German Wine Institute (DWI)’s site offering information about Germany’s wine styles, grapes, regions, news and events.

USA site promoting knowledge and events surrounding German wine, including red wine, white wine, riesling, wine tastings, and food and wine.

American Craft Beer Week

American Craft Beer Week gives craft beer fans across the U.S. the opportunity to share the beverage they love. #ACBW celebrates the culture and community of craft beer, and gives local craft breweries and beer businesses the opportunity to connect with beer enthusiasts in their communities.

#ACBW is recognized annually in May and offers an exciting opportunity for small and independent craft brewers and the community of better beer retailers to celebrate the ever advancing beer culture here in the U.S. Plus, tens of thousands of today’s beer beginners, beer enthusiasts, and hard core beer geeks make time to toast the week. was created to communicate the passion, authenticity, excitement, creativity, camaraderie, and joy of the craft beer community. Plain and simple: was created on behalf of U.S. craft brewers to celebrate the best of American beer.

When visiting, you can expect to learn about all aspects of the amazing craft-brewed beer from America’s small and independent producers—not just how to better enjoy the beverage in your glass, but about the individuals and processes behind your beer.

Their goal is to energize and engage craft beer enthusiasts and arm them with the resources to be active and educated appreciators of the ever-expanding craft beer movement.

Wines of Chile
Wines of Chile is an organization committed to promoting the quality and image of Chilean wine throughout the world. Their mission is to strengthen the image and recognition of Chilean wines in international markets by increasing the value of the “Wines of Chile” brand, thus elevating the average price, sales, and added value for all Chilean wine industry stakeholders, including small and large growers, suppliers, wineries, and exporters.

The Distilled Spirits Council – United States (DISCUS)

The Distilled Spirits Council is the national trade association representing the leading producers and marketers of distilled spirits in the United States. Since the repeal of Prohibition, DISCUS and its predecessor organizations have advocated on legislative, regulatory and public affairs issues that impact the industry, its consumers, and its business partners in the hospitality industry. The Council protects the industry from higher taxes and works diligently to reduce trade barriers across the globe, while supporting policies that increase adult market access for spirits products, provide greater convenience and choices for adult consumers, and encourage responsible consumption.

Wines of Argentina

Wines of Argentina is the organization that, since 1993, promotes the Argentine wine brand and image worldwide, spreading knowledge of the winemaking regions of Argentina. It organizes numerous events such as fairs, trade shows, tastings and other activities in the USA, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Europe and elsewhere.


CellarTracker is the world’s largest collection of wine reviews, tasting notes and personal stories from people who love wine. It’s mission is to enhance the appreciation of wine through innovative technology. CellarTracker is a tool to allow wine collectors to manage their collections and to share reviews with the broader community of wine lovers. Find over 1.3 million wines, read 3.3 million tasting notes (community and professional) for great recommendations, and join a community of over 227,000 users to share your opinions. Use their online cellar management tool to track your collection, see its value, and much more. Users are managing 35.5 million bottles.

The Brewers Association

The Brewers Association is an organization of brewers, for brewers and by brewers. More than 1,700 US brewery members and 36,000 members of the American Homebrewers Association are joined by members of the allied trade, beer wholesalers, individuals, other associate members and the Brewers Association staff to make up the Brewers Association. Their purpose is to promote and protect small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.


LocalWineEvents (LWE) was created to be the one-stop destination for people seeking information about “local” food and drink events. Doesn’t matter if you’re into food, wine, spirits, craft beer or the places they find them!

  • LWE has posted over 412,000 local events — and averages more than 4,200 current events every day, making it easy for people to find and pinpoint geographically where they want to attend an event.
  • LWE has an average of approximately 175,000 monthly unique visitors a month.
  • You know you can buy tickets right from postings?
  • In addition to finding food & wine events, you can subscribe to “The Juice” their free bi-weekly newsletter for a listing of events in your area, wine tips and more.
  • The Juice newsletter has over 227,707 subscribers and is growing around the globe.

All About Beer Magazine

Mission: To grow the beer culture by building communities of beer appreciation throughout the world.

Company Overview: Celebrating the world of beer culture through publications and events.

Cicerone Certification Program

Anyone can call themselves an expert on beer. But when consumers want great beer they need help from a server who really knows beer flavors, styles, and service. They also want to buy from a place that understands proper storage and serving so the beer they drink will taste the way it should. Too often great beer is harmed by improper handling and service practices. The Cicerone Certification Program seeks to ensure that consumers receive the best quality beer at every service occasion. To facilitate this, those who sell and serve beer need to acquire knowledge in five areas:

  • Beer Storage, Sales and Service
  • Beer Styles and Culture
  • Beer Tasting and Flavors
  • Brewing Ingredients and Processes
  • Pairing Beer with Food

The word Cicerone (pronounced sis-uh-rohn) has been chosen to designate those with proven expertise in selecting, acquiring and serving today’s wide range of beers. The titles “Certified Cicerone®” are protected certification trademarks. Only those who have passed the requisite test of knowledge and tasting skill can call themselves a Cicerone.

This website offers extensive information about the program, including free study resources and sample exam questions.

The Beer Institute

The Beer Institute was organized in 1986 to represent the beer industry before Congress, state legislatures and public forums across the country. It is committed to developing sound public policy that focuses on community involvement and personal responsibility.

As the recognized and authoritative source of information on aspects of the industry, the Beer Institute focuses on these principles through its representation, information and service. The Beer Institute assures a role for industry members in formulating public policy goals and works to implement our goals by providing representation before federal and state governmental bodies.

Today, the more than 2,800 breweries in the U.S. are responsible for billions of dollars that flow each year through channels of American trade and commerce. From agricultural products, can manufacturing, food processing, food stores and general retail, to wholesaling, construction and real estate, brewers, along with their wholesale and retail partners, directly or indirectly employ more than 2 million Americans who earn nearly $79 billion in wages and benefits.

Michigan Breweries

The craft beer craze is sweeping Michigan, making it fifth in the nation in the number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs. Bolstered by the Great Lakes and nurtured by the glacier rich soil, here awaits a brewer’s paradise. With countless varieties of styles and tastes, Michigan is on tap to pour your new favorite. And what better place to try seasonal beers than a place that truly experiences all four seasons. Pack up your palate and go on one of our brewery tours. See the breweries map to get started and treat yourself to the fresh taste of Pure Michigan.


BeerAdvocate (BA) is a global, grassroots network, powered by an independent community of beer enthusiasts and industry professionals who are dedicated to supporting and promoting beer.

Based in Boston, BA was founded in 1996 by the Alström Brothers, Jason & Todd, who provide the site as a free resource to:

  • Wake the masses to better beer options.
  • Give beer consumers a voice.
  • Empower them to learn, share, and advocate.
  • Rally to support the beer industry.
  • Put the Respect back into Beer.
  • BA remains solely owned and operated by the Bros, who in addition to providing this online resource publish BeerAdvocate magazine (the only monthly beer magazine of its kind), and organize several Beer Fests and events throughout the year.

“Respect Beer.” is their motto.

The Michigan Brewers Guild

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state.

The Michigan Brewers Guild runs four annual public events:

RateBeer’s Guide to the Best Beer in Michigan, USA

The following are the regional highlights of best beers available in Michigan, best beers brewed in Michigan, events and local RateBeerian information for Michigan, USA. This site is interactive, you can take part in the rating, addition and correction of the site content.

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country is an American Viticultural Area, stretching across the southwestern corner of Michigan from the Indiana-Michigan state line, north to the Kalamazoo River and east toward the City of Kalamazoo. They call Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country the Napa Valley of the Midwest. Like the hills of Califtornia, this land is ideal for handcrafting fine wines. Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country is a guide to discover more than a dozen southwest Michigan wineries and tasting rooms, each with its own style. Make it a romantic getaway. Or take a leisurely road trip with friends to discover your favorite vintages. Try a cooking class. Or revel in our festivals. This site is full of ideas, including places to eat, sleep and play along Lake Michigan’s beautiful shores.

Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail

Southeast Michigan’s newest pioneers are the vintners of the early 21st century, growing and selling special wines for you to discover. Southeastern Michigan’s Pioneer wine making region is a great place to spend a few hours … or a few days. Check out their tours and events online.

Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

The mesoclimate of Old Mission Peninsula is unique not only in the state of Michigan but in the world.
Lying on the 45th parallel – like Bordeaux, Milan and other wine producing regions – the Peninsula stretches north 19 miles into Grand Traverse Bay and is only four miles wide at the broadest point. The area is virtually surrounded by 600-foot deep water in East and West Grand Traverse Bays. The temperatures stay cold longer in the spring, protecting the plants from late frosts. The warm temperatures linger in the fall, so the grapes benefit from an extra six to seven weeks of ripening. The rolling hills and lake-effect snow ensure Arctic blasts of freezing air won’t stick around long enough to harm the vines.
Eight distinct wineries comprise this stunning appellation, and they have been well recognized by international wine enthusiasts. Discover the beauty of the Old Mission Peninsula and experience its award winning wines: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gewürztraminer, sparkling varieties and prestigious ice wines.

Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association

The mission of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (LPVA) is to help spread the word about all the good things happening in the Leelanau Peninsula along Michigan’s Wine Coast. Cool-climate, Michigan wines go beautifully with food and have been winning increasing national and international awards and praise each and every year. They are committed to providing world-class wine touring experiences on the Leelanau Peninsula in concert with other businesses and organizations in our region and industry.

Michigan Beer Guide

Michigan Beer Guide (MBG) is a publication that offers letters, news, brews, events, stories and photos about the brewing industry in Michigan and about beer sold in Michigan. MBG is available for free at locations listed in their directory as well as beer knowledgeable retailers, homebrew shops, and in all the Michigan Welcome Centers.

Michigan Wines is the official website of the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council. It’s mission is to provide resources, education and the promotion of the Michigan wine grape and wine industry. Michigan Wines helps visitors travel the state’s wineries and enjoy the wide variety of award-winning wines at more than 100 tasting rooms around the state. With red, white, dry, sweet, sparkling and fruit wines to choose from, you are sure to discover a new favorite.

Department of Viticulture & Enology, University of California–Davis

The V&E Department combines the sciences of viticulture and enology in a single research and teaching unit that encompasses all of the scientific disciplines that impact grape growing and winemaking. For over one hundred years the University of California has maintained an active and productive program in research and education in viticulture and enology. The continuing excellence of the Department has enabled California growers and vintners to develop practices that have allowed the Golden State to achieve its potential and become a premier wine-producing region.

The American Institute of Wine & Food

The American Institute of Wine & Food is a national non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding, appreciation and quality of wine and food through fun educational experiences in support of our signature Days of Taste® and Scholarship programs.

Academy of Wine Communications

Academy of Wine Communications was founded in 1994 to encourage wine writers, the craft of wine writing, and wine coverage in the media, the organization’s mission has slowly evolved over the years. The organization provides its membership a means to network with colleagues; to meet key members of the media; hone and update their media lists; and learn classic and innovative marketing and public relations techniques.

Goals and Activities include:

  • Holding regular meetings and webcasts, featuring talks and presentations by writers, editors and industry leaders.
  • Providing members with an opportunity to network with key members of the media and industry colleagues.
  • Honoring both new and well-established wine writers and generally encouraging the craft whenever and wherever possible.
  • Acting as a resource for the media who seek information, contacts and story ideas.

The Society of Wine Educators

The mission of the Society of Wine Educators (SWE) is to advance wine education through professional development and certification. The Society of Wine Educators was founded in 1977. They are a non-profit educational organization whose goal is to foster and promote the professional education and development of the individual in particular, and the professional education and development of the wine industry as a whole.

The Court of Master Sommeliers

The Court of Master Sommeliers was established to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. The Court of Master Sommeliers was established in 1977 as the premier international examining body. Becoming a Master Sommelier involves passing rigorous examinations in restaurant services and salesmanship, wine knowledge, and practical tasting.

The Institute of Masters of Wine

The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) exists to promote the highest level of educational achievement for the wine industry, culminating in the internationally recognized qualification of Masters of Wine. They promote professional excellence and knowledge of the art, science and business of wine. Students wishing to take the exam are required to take a 2 year program of self-learning to develop their knowledge and skills. The Institute’s membership spans 24 countries while its study, examination and events programs are conducted annually on a worldwide basis.

The Institute hosts events which offer an unparalleled opportunity to taste with and learn from the experts. Most of their tastings and master classes are open to members of the public with a serious interest in fine wine. Since the autumn of 2010, many events have been recorded to create an online educational resource, offering insights into wine. Their archive of events can be found on their website.

Detroit Wine Organization

The Detroit Wine Organization (DWO) is a non-profit organization incorporated in 2002. Their mission is to promote the education and enjoyment of wine, as well as the great wines and wine experts in Detroit’s local markets, while benefiting charities. They host events that are both educational and fun, including the monthly Wine Down Wednesday and annual Detroit Uncorked, as well as by providing resources and professional development opportunities to the local wine industry. Their membership base is composed of people of all ages and walks of life who share is a desire to explore the joys of wine while meeting others with similar interests. Membership is free and entitles you to discounts on DWO event tickets, the weekly 60-Second Wine Course, and first-priority ticket purchase options for events like Detroit Uncorked (which sells-out quickly).

American Wine Society

The American Wine Society is the largest consumer-based wine organization in the United States. It was organized in 1967 as a non-profit, educational organization for those interested in learning more about wine. In 1973, the Society was incorporated in the state of Michigan. Membership is open to anyone interested in wine and over 21 years of age.