About AWA

Amsterdam Wine Academy, founded by people with a passion for wine and education. We are building a platform where you can find everything that you need to gain more knowledge about wine. We are here for the absolute beginners as well as the more advanced students in wine.

Who we are?

We are Fransje van Santen and Wouter Aalst. Besides being partners in the academy, we are also married and proud parents of twins Tijs and Dide. Fransje has a background in production work and Wouter is a horeca entrepreneur. The experiences we have gained in the past are now very useful in the management of the academy. When we decided to set up Amsterdam Wine Academy in 2019, it was a strong wish to provide our lessons in our own locations, equipped primarily for teaching. We are very proud that we now have three such locations in De Pijp. Here the design is done with teaching as the absolute focus. There is high quality glassware from Grassl, a large clearly visible screen and the right lighting.

In addition to AWA, we are also the entrepreneurs behind wine bar Paskamer in de Pijp. This is where we sit in the morning, when the business is still closed, with a cup of coffee behind our laptops. We also go for the highest possible quality in the wine bar; there is a very well-trained and hospitable team with a great deal of knowledge. We are very proud that, at the start of 2023, Paskamer was awarded ‘Wine bar of the year’ in the Netherlands. Paskamer is open seven days a week and is therefore the ideal place to practice wine tasting at the end of the afternoon. Our employees are used to providing feedback to our students. You can also eat well at Paskamer, which is why it is advisable to make a reservation if you want to come in the evening.

We hope to welcome you at our academy and our wine bar.


Fransje and Wouter

Our quality standards

The highest quality wine education 
The basis of our course offering is the teaching material from WSET, based in London (UK). This is the largest and – in our opinion – most reliable training in wine knowledge in the world. The books are well written and concise, with clear explanations. WSET’s systematic way of tasting offers the beginning student a lot of guidance. Wine tasting is the most exciting part of any course for many students. We can reassure you: we will teach you how to do this! And, you don’t have to do a blind taste until the WSET Level 3 exam. For those who want to proceed after level 3 we offer an in depth course on the wines of France. This course is provided by the Wine Scholar Guild, an United States based educational platform.

In addition to the WSET curriculum, we also regularly offer masterclasses. For this we invite experts from a wine-related field to provide an afternoon or evening at our academy.

We are proud that Amsterdam Wine Academy has been a WSET recognized trainer since shortly after its establishment, with a registration with the CRKBO and the quality mark of the NRTO.

‘It is our mission to increase the wine knowledge of our students. We transfer our knowledge and love for the product wine with a lot of energy and enthusiasm in order to be the provider of wine courses in Amsterdam’ – Wouter Aalst, founder AWA


About Fransje

Fransje is the spider in the web of AWA. She takes care of everything that happens behind the scenes down to the last detail. When it comes to communicating with the students or setting up our course locations: she does everything with a great eye for detail and without concessions. Fransje likes a nice glass of Chardonnay from Burgundy, but prefers to leave the studying and the talking to Wouter.

About Wouter

Wouter is the senior lecturer at AWA and is mainly concerned with the educational side of the company. Wouter has a background as a hospitality entrepreneur and brings extensive experience with hospitality as one of the most important values ​​of the academy. Wouter has a preference for Chianti Classico, but also loves a nice glass of champagne.

Do you want to learn more about wine?

Amsterdam Wine Academy is a WSET and WSG approved program provider.