An Interview With WSG's Newest French Wine Scholar Program Provider
We were recently lucky enough to add a fantastic Belgian school to our global French Wine Scholar Program Provider network. Sybille Troubleyn of Winewise in Antwerp tells us in this interview about how she got into wine, why she feels the French Wine Scholar program is a great addition to a WSET education provider's repertoire and how her school and the style of education they offer to wine students in Belgium is unique.
1) What type of education experience do you provide at your wine school that sets you apart?
We offer international wine qualifications and "Keep Up" sessions for wine professionals...
More than 75% of our customers are from the trade and/or HORECA.
We offer these qualifications in open classes, tailor made or online combined with workshops and always with a personal approach. We consider the student and what he/she needs to be more valuable in their profession.
I am also proud to say that I was elected Wine Lady of the Year in 2017 by Foodprint (the Belgian Culinary Yearbook), after 20 years of work in the wine business.
2) Give us a bit of background on your history in wine and your wine school: Winewise.
I’ve been involved with wine since the 1990’s. After my education in hospitality in Belgium, I went to Bordeaux University to study Commerce des Vins et Spiritueux and also the DUAD (Diplome Universitaire d’Aptitude à la Dégustation).
I worked for a while for a wine magazine and for Sopexa, but decided after a few years, to go on a one year trip around the world to visit some New World vineyards and other important places for the industry like South-Africa, Australia, New-Zealand, Washington, Oregon, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and New-York. During this trip I met a lot of wine professionals including wine educators and these people really inspired me.
So once I was back in Belgium, I decided to go into wine education with an international focus. First, I worked for a Belgian educational platform for the HORECA (Hotel/Restaurant/Café) and then later in 2007 I decided to start my own company, WineWise, focused on Wine Education with international qualification.
3) Why did you decide to start offering the French Wine Scholar Program at Winewise?
Well, while we do offer all levels of WSET we also felt there was a gap between Level Three and Level Four. A lot of students are not confident enough to go on to level 4 or don’t want to continue on to do their Diploma.
The WSG programs are good preparation for those who are continuing on to their Diploma and a good specialization option for those who are not.
The Belgian market is 85% French/Italian and Spanish wine. And, I really like the WSG’s approach and their study resources.
4) What changes have you seen in wine education or the pursuit of wine education in Belgium and the Netherlands over the past 10 years?
Students are looking for international qualifications because other qualifications in Belgium and the Netherlands don’t have a global standard or global recognition.
In addition, young professionals are interested in pursuing studies in English because they realise that this is the language most commonly used in the industry.
5) If you were stuck on a desert island for the next 20 years and had to choose only one wine to enjoy on the island during that time, what would it be?
I think I would go for a Madeira Sercial. I would have a sip every day.... why not?! :)