The summer courses you need to impress your friends


Shaw Academy is a handy and comprehensive resource for those looking to learn more about enjoyable topics, learn something new, or even get certified. Topics range from wine appreciation and creative writing to project management and digital marketing. We tried a wine appreciation class to improve our knowledge of the estate, and not only did we learn a lot, but we also had a lot of fun. We’ll show you how it works and what you’ll encounter if you want to try Shaw Academy for yourself.

Kate Aedon /

How it works

The first step is to visit the Shaw Academy website and check out the courses they offer. They currently have courses in over 100 subjects. You can browse the courses by category, such as photography, marketing, finance, or music. Click on the category of interest and you will see subcategories that delve deeper into the specific areas that the courses will cover. For example, click on the Arts & Hobbies category and you’ll see classes in painting, knitting, wine appreciation, floral design, cooking and baking, and more. You will also see how many “graduates” have taken the course. Over 65,000 people have learned cooking and baking!

Once you have found a course that interests you, you can read the course overview. If you’re interested, check out the content description in more detail. You can also read comments from others who have taken the course.

If the course suits you and there is space available, you can register for it. Shaw is currently offering a limited time offer of 4 weeks of free unlimited access. There are limits on the number of places available for each course, and when you decide on the course, the percentage of places taken appears on the page. The duration of the courses varies and can range from 4 to 32 weeks. They contain modules that help organize the material into chunks that advance your education in the subject as you go through them.

What it costs

Rather than paying for individual lessons, you enroll in Shaw Academy on a subscription basis. If you want to dip your toes in the water, you can start with a 4 week free trial. If you decide Shaw Academy is right for you, basic monthly subscriptions start at just $ 69. If you’re willing to take plenty of courses, there are quarterly, semester, and annual memberships, each offering savings for greater engagement.

Each course offers live chat support for teachers, 20 or more hours of learning, and accredited certifications available for purchase. Each course may also have specialty products that you can purchase to accompany the course. For example, in our wine appreciation course, we had the option of purchasing course materials for each section, such as tasting notes and a wine aroma wheel. You can also purchase a Certificate of Wine Appreciation to show friends and family you know your stuff. The prices of these items vary by course.

Shaw Academy Online Course List
Shaw Academy

Variety of courses

One of the things we love the most about Shaw Academy is the wide range of courses available. There are courses that offer learning in great fun topics such as wine appreciation, iPhone and Android photography, and knitting. Other courses offer learning that will bring value to everyday life, such as real estate investing, mindfulness, and meditation. If you’re looking for training to help you seize business opportunities, courses in project management, mobile app development, and digital marketing might be what you need.

Fun and creative

The Arts and Recreation category is ideal for taking a summer course that will enrich your life and provide you with knowledge to impress your friends. We had fun browsing the different offers. Screenwriting, cat care, floral design, cooking and baking all caught our eye.

The Beauty category includes makeup, nails, and beauty, as well as beauty therapy and image consulting, which could provide you with a great way to turn that knowledge into extra dollars as a scramble.

Design courses cover graphic design, web design, interior design, fashion design, and more. You can improve your photography skills with online wedding photography, video production, and photoshop classes, among others.

Valuable business skills and knowledge

There are plenty of courses in technology, finance, business, and analytics. Some of the courses are very focused, such as Excel, Python programming, and cryptocurrency. Others offer broader training such as a mini MBA in business, how to start a business, and economics.

Several courses are also available in the Health & Well-being category. Some offer personal development like nutrition, Pilates, and yoga. Others, like childcare training, meal planning, food science, and coaching, offer new potential earning opportunities.

Lots of variety

The other categories include music, language, and marketing. With over 100 courses and over 3,000 hours of content, Shaw Academy has served some 12 million students since 2012. They continue to grow their programs while focusing on their goal of providing accessible and affordable education for all.

four glasses of wine on barrel from the Shaw Academy Wine Appreciation Course
Shaw Academy

What you learn – Our experience

We weren’t sure what to expect when taking the Shaw Academy online wine appreciation course. We have had some experience with educating winemakers, producers and traders who help us understand their own wines. But this was the first time we had researched an education in wine appreciation in general, so we were intrigued by what we were about to find out.

The first thing we noticed was that over 6,000 graduates had taken the course and several had posted positive reviews. This gave us more confidence in the quality of the course.

Wine appreciation modules

We then looked at the lesson plan. Our four modules cover a lot of territory. Starting with the essentials exploring what wine is, the basics of the bottle and pouring wine, the first module then explains different colors and categories of wine. The modules progress by explaining aspects of viticulture from the cultivation of grapes and their harvest to fermentation. Going forward, the course looks at styles of wine, terminology used in wine appreciation, career opportunities in the wine industry, and how to pair food and wine. We love to pair wine with chocolate and thought it would be fun to learn how to pair wine with other foods.

The fourth module explores the wines of the world and the different regions of origin, defining and comparing the wines of the old world and the new world. The icing on the cake is to learn what is going on in the world of wine, alternative and natural wines, and the future of the industry. Although we are familiar with wine from some countries like Portugal, we enjoyed being exposed to wines from other regions and learning more about what the wine industry will do in the future.

Guided by experts

The course is led by an experienced oenologist with references in the field. We had the option of purchasing written materials and props to accompany our course, many of which could be used for other tasting experiences that we could share with friends and family.

When it comes to friends and family, Shaw also offers an upgrade so you can share your account. There is a current offer to share with three other family and friends for free when you sign up for a class so you can share the gift of education.

You can get certified, as with many topics offered by Shaw Academy, and quizzes are offered along the way to test your knowledge. Educators are also available whenever you want to get further explanation or discuss something.

women applaud party wine outside during sunset
Dasha Petrenko /

Is it worth the money?

This is a question that each person should determine based on what they want to get from Shaw Academy. There are courses for entertainment and personal development as well as for business and career advancement. Our wine appreciation course allowed us to deepen a subject of interest. You can go at a pace that’s convenient for you, and if you want to get certified or graduated for certain courses, this is an option for an additional fee.

Courses in subjects such as project management or sales and business development could improve earning potential. Others, like how to start a business or how to trade stocks, could lead to entirely new business opportunities. And those such as Wine Appreciation offer personal enrichment and perhaps knowledge to impress family and friends at the next gathering.

The price is pretty modest, but as with all purchases, you’ll want to make sure this one matches your interests. It is certainly easy to find out in advance by reading the detailed course descriptions and reviews and using the 4 week free trial. The courses also offer optional upgrades, so you can choose how to spend your money beyond the subscription fee.

Our final thought is that Shaw Academy provides easy access to fun and valuable learning opportunities. The all-you-can-eat subscription with a free trial and optional purchases make Shaw Academy a low-risk investment worth seeing.

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