Waynesboro native becomes first Mississippian to earn wine education diploma 

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A Waynesboro native has become the first Mississippi resident to graduate from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

Christen Raanes, owner of The Little Wine Shoppe in Hattiesburg, earned her ceritfication from the London-based organization with the intent of delivering a more advanced education about the beverage to others across the state.

“Just out of an interest, I began studying and taking these certification courses, and that led up to the opening of the wine shop,” Raanes explained on Good Things with Rebecca Turner. “Initially, it kind of started with an interest level, and then I thought, ‘Okay, this could help with the wine shop that we’ve recently opened.’ Now I’m thinking more forward into perhaps bringing more formal certification-level education here to Mississippi as well.”

Raanes and her husband formed a wine-tasting group with the American Wine Society before the COVID-19 pandemic caused many businesses to temporarily suspend operations. They met at a local Hattiesburg restaurant where Raanes discovered a growing interest in wine education from those who attended the tastings.

“People were thirsty — literally and figuratively — for that education and for that knowledge about wine, and for something to do,” Raanes recounted.

As a wine connoisseur, Raanes notes that there are historical, scientific, and geographical components that can pique the interests of those who have never indulged in the beverage. In addition, she believes with all the different assortments of wines in existence, there is one that can please just about anybody.

“I think there is a wine for everyone. If you’re interested in adult beverages, perhaps you just haven’t had the one that is happy with your palate just yet,” Raanes said. “For some people, oftentimes whenever you’re starting out having wine, the first wines you enjoy are going to be those that have a little bit of residual sugar to them and have a little bit of sweetness to them.”

Watch the full interview below.

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