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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    Andrea Mcewan

    Andrea Mcewan

    Trace Acres, FWS

    Congratulations to Trace Acres, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Trace:

    I’ve been a wine enthusiast for decades, and in 2018 I turned my passion for wine into vineyard and winery positions in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. I also publish a wine blog (vinsights.ca), consult to clients needing occasional wine advice, and lead a variety of unofficial tastings and seminars - online and in-person. I enjoy learning about wines and wine producing regions and hope to continue building my knowledge, primarily by continuing my travels to wine regions around the world.

    I have completed the WSET Diploma. The French Wine Scholar program drilled more deeply into France’s regions, terroir and unique wines than any course I have taken before. For anyone thinking of pursuing the WSET Diploma, I would recommend taking FWS first.

    FWS broadened my knowledge of French wines and piqued my curiosity about some lesser known regions like Savoie, Corsica and the Southwest. I hope to visit them someday! In addition, the text is proving to be an excellent research resource.


    Tom Martin, IWS

    Congratulations to Tom Martin, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Tom:

    I am an enthusiast and former “Professor” at the Fox School of Wine in Park City, Utah. Google it.

    When the Coronavirus pandemic spread across the US, I decided to enroll in the intensive IWS2 course led by Alan Tardi. I had already passed IWS1. With little else to do, I had plenty of time to read and reread the booklet and attend the webinars. I used the Learning Objectives (LO) templates to cull information from the manual and webinars and used my completed LO documents intensively for review. I sat the IWS2 exam in early June and learned that the Wine Scholar Guild has awarded me certification with highest honors! Very exciting!

    Then, in early July my wife and I sold our home and moved to Maryland to stay safe from Coronavirus in our camper trailer on the farm of a friend. You’ll see in the attached photo a Western hat and Eastern plow as I proudly display my certificate. It is emblematic of my past and present.
    What’s next depends on how soon the pandemic subsides and opportunities to work in the trade arise. Oh, and my wife and I need to find a home before winter locks us into our trailer!

    My certifications include WSET3; FWS, IWS and Alsace Advanced Study. The WSET program got me deep into understanding wine, appellations, vineyard management techniques, and vinification techniques. The study and certifications with the Wine Scholar Guild have broadened my knowledge.

    As for what comes next, I hope to resume study for the Advanced Program for Champagne that I suspended a while ago. I am also keen to take the Spanish Wine Scholar program.

    The IWS, with two parts and many appellations and grape varieties, presented a challenge to learn and remember so much. It gave me the skill to learn and retain both basic and curious facts about geology, history, and culture. That skill will benefit me as I continue to explore the world of wine.


    Jonelle Gingrich, SWS

    Congratulations to Jonelle Gingrich, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Jonelle:

    I am a wine enthusiast! Someday maybe I can enter the business side of the wine world. My husband and I enjoy travel to various wine regions all over the world. Some of our favorites have been in Europe.

    When I moved to the UK 4 years ago, a friend informed me about “wine certification courses” and I completed WSET level 3. After that, I felt I needed more background on old world wines before jumping into the diploma – a niche WSG fulfills beautifully with their baseline French, Spanish and Italian wine courses.

    Now I am a current diploma student, and I can say with 100% certainty that there is no comparable program that gives you such a depth of knowledge on Spanish wines as the Spanish Wine Scholar. I feel confident I can handle anything thrown at me in the Spanish wine world after this program! There is no other program that gives you the volume of information on Sherry, Spanish sparkling wines or the wine laws of Spain. As an additional bonus, my husband and I discovered so many Spanish wines we had never heard of and now are staples in our wine rack. So many old vine gems and truly affordable price points.


    Leslie Lim, FWS

    Congratulations to Leslie Lim, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Leslie:

    I am a wine enthusiast and started my wine journey 6 years ago, and have never looked back since! I’m eager to learn as much as I can, and I’m thinking of potentially working in the wine trade in the future!

    I’ve done the WSET level 3 prior to taking the FWS, and I think the FWS has been a great complement! The WSET level 3 has provided a broader understanding of wine, but the FWS has provided me with a much more in depth study into French wines. It’s been a great experience and I am thinking of doing the Italian Wine Scholar and Spanish Wine Scholar as well!

    I have learnt so much more about French wines through FWS, and I am certainly appreciating them much more now when I drink them. It was also great to understand the history behind so many of the various French wine regions!


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