St. Cloud, MN
Swirl Wine School
Certified Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier, Wine Location Specialist, WSET Level 3 with Distinction
Kent Benson is a Minnesota-based writer and wine educator. Kent is the founder of Swirl Wine School, where he teaches a six-part wine appreciation course. In addition, Kent provides training for restaurant staff, wine list design, and educational wine tasting experiences for small, private parties, as well as large, corporate events. Kent combines his firsthand knowledge of the world’s wine regions and his hands-on cellar experience with a lively, humorous teaching style, to create an environment where learning is easy and fun. Kent’s extensive use of maps and detailed handouts are designed to help students make a more meaningful connection with the wines being discussed, the places where they are made, and the people who make them. Kent is convinced that an intimate knowledge of a wine’s creation sets the stage for a fuller appreciation of what ends up in the glass.
His designations include: Certified Wine Educator, French Wine Scholar, Certified Sommelier, CIVP Certified Provence Instructor, and Wine Location Specialist. In 2008, Kent was the runner-up in Wine Australia’s AusWISE wine educator competition. For two years, Kent was the editor of the popular, weekly wine quiz at thewinehub.com. He has also provided fact-checking services to one of the wine world’s most successful authors.
As a wine writer, Kent’s regular column, Wine Savvy appears in Central Minnesota Style, and his writing has also appeared in Wines and Vines and Sommelier Journal. Kent is a member of the Society of Wine Educators, the French Wine Society, the Guild of Sommeliers, the Center for Wine Origins, and the Wine Education Network.
Rhône Master-Level with Highest Honors
Provence Master-Level with Highest Honors
French Wine Scholar with Honors