Congratulations to Danny O'Neill, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I am a wine professional who has been in the industry for 13 years working in retail, wine education, wholesale, and now for Winebow Imports. I manage California and Nevada for Craft + Estate, Winebow’s import division covering wines from France, Greece, and Austria. The portfolio I represent is diverse and eclectic, ranging from historic Burgundian domaines to Austrian natural wine pioneers and much more, so it is easy to stay passionate about what I sell. I spent most of my career my hometown of Boston, with a couple of years in Baltimore, and I have been Los Angeles based since 2017. I did not grow up in a wine drinking household, but have always had an interest in geography, history, and music, all of which have been relevant in some way to my education and development as a wine professional.
I completed Levels 2 through 4 of Boston University’s Wine Studies program. I studied under Bill Nesto, MW, and graduated Level 4 with Merit in 2012. The program was modeled after the WSET, but split from affiliation with that program some years prior to my attendance. I am interested in taking WSET (at least Level 3, possibly Diploma) as a refresher and to achieve a more nationally / internationally recognized title. After completing BU Level 4, I taught 2 semesters of “Introduction to Wine & Beverage” at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Cambridge, MA. I enrolled in FWS at the beginning of the pandemic to make use of some newfound free time, and since it had been 8 years since I had any formal wine education. It provided a much needed refresher, especially as my career gravitates toward French imports as the primary wines I need to have in depth knowledge of.
Most of the wine I sell in my current position is French, and much of the course material was a refresher, but it helped greatly to dive into regions with complex geography like Burgundy. My primary take-aways were about the history of these regions and various ancient peoples’ influence, as well as important info about regions I do not currently sell professionally (our book is mainly Burgundy and Bordeaux, with just 1 producer each from Rhone, Loire and Champagne). I loved learning about Jura and the Southwest in particular!