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WSG Instructor the Year 2016

Wine Scholar Guild honors Sheral Schowe, M.Ed., FWS, as Instructor of the Year and the Art Institute of Vancouver as Program Provider of the Year for 2016!  

Instructor of the Year is an award of excellence recognizing creative and effective classroom instruction. The recipient is selected based upon outstanding presentation skills, organization, congeniality and a genuine and spirited joie de vivre—all talents reflected in stellar student evaluations. 

Kudos to Sheral Schowe, M.Ed., FWS of Wasatch Academy of Wine, Salt Lake City, Utah, WSG Instructor of the Year 2016!



Sheral Schowe, M.Ed., FWS

Sheral Schowe, M.Ed., FWS

Founder and educator at Wasatch Academy of Wine in Salt Lake City

Instructor of the Year 2016 logo



About Sheral Schowe, M.Ed., FWS

Sheral Schowe moved from San Francisco and the Bay Area in 1978 to pursue a Masters Degree in Education Administration. She developed Utah’s first district-wide community education program serving children and adults with disabilities. Needing to raise funds to pay for the self-supporting fees required for students to participate in the programs, Sheral began teaching wine classes to generate scholarship funds which enabled hundreds of students with mental and physical disabilities to attend independent living skills classes.

Sheral began her serious study in the world of wine by attending courses at UC Davis, the Bordeaux Wine Institute, the Bouilland Symposium in Bourgogne with Clive Coates and Becky Wasserman, and attending annual Society of Wine Educators’ conference sessions and tours. 

In 1991, Sheral opened Utah’s first wine school, Wasatch Academy of Wine, LLC, which is now Utah’s largest wine school serving hundreds of students each year from the top to the bottom of the state. 

As well as owning and directing Wasatch Academy of Wine, LLC, Sheral is the adjunct professor of wine studies for Salt Lake Community College Culinary Arts Department, the wine educator for Harmons Cooking Schools in five locations and for University of Utah’s Osher and Lifelong Learning programs.

Wasatch Academy of Wine, LLC is the affiliate provider of the Wine Scholar Guild’s post nominal certification courses in the areas of France and Italy with active and successful programs in Salt Lake City, Park City, St. George, and for Salt Lake Community College.

Interview with Sheral Schowe M.Ed., FWS

How do you succeed in recruiting students for your classes in a state where alcohol and wine are strictly regulated?

Wasatch Academy of Wine, LLC is the provider of wine education classes, pairings, dinners, events, lectures and tours through a wide network of colleges, culinary schools and University programs in the state of Utah. Each one of these entities advertises to their customer base and registers their students to fill my classes. In addition, social networking has been very effective in attracting new students with a desire to learn more about specific grape varieties and wine regions as well as to discover first-hand what the Utah wine stores have to offer. The very odd and restrictive liquor laws only help my success in driving more wine lovers to my classes looking for an inviting and informative experience with wine.

What type of experience (food provided, teaching style) do you provide to your students attending the French Wine Scholar program? 

The majority of our classes include a food component, which is relevant to the wine tasting or region of focus. Thanks to several local cheese retailers and chefs, we are able to provide cheeses from the majority of the regions of Italy and France as well as chef-prepared food pairings to highlight traditional recipes of specific regions. My teaching style is multi-sensory, and thanks to the excellent quality of visual, auditory, and hands on learning experiences offered through the Wine Scholar Guild, I am able to address each of my student’s learning preferences.

Cheese and wine pairing

A group of happy students studying the French Wine Scholar program

A group of happy students studying the French Wine Scholar program 

If you had to recommend the French Wine Scholar program to wine lovers and francophiles, what would you say? 

France and Italy has never been more exciting to learn! The depth of knowledge that our instructors and students receive and the quality of information delivered in a multi-sensory format is unparalleled in our industry. It is so much more than a list of appellations and grapes. It brings history, geology, culture, winemaking technique and even regional food traditions to life! I have been a student, and now instructor for the Wine Scholar Guild, formerly the French Wine Society, since its inception and look forward a lifetime of enjoyment of their endless opportunities to discover the magic of France, Italy and Spain.


FWS: New 6th Edition was just released!

The 6th Edition of the French Wine Scholar program has just been released!

The FWS manual has been fully updated and reformatted into a perfect binding (no more spiral!) with:

  • New, custom-designed maps
  • New charts, graphics and rich imagery
  • Need-to-know icons now mark all AOCs that count as test material eliminating some appellations that are seldom exported beyond their local zone of production.

In keeping with these changes, the online study program has been upgraded and is now fully mobile compatible.

All teaching materials have been updated and given a fresh look also!

This new edition has been enriched thanks to the insights provided by area experts including: Mélanie Poupart (Loire), Wink Lorch (Jura/Savoie), Thierry Meyer (Alsace), Marie-Céline Wallerand and  Tom Fiorina (Corsica), Eric Aracil (Roussillon), Elizabeth Gabay MW (Provence), Catherine Machabert (Languedoc) and Emmanuelle Voinier (Rhône).

Register for Distance-Learning Register for Classroom-Learning



Learn more about the French Wine Scholar study and certification program (new, 6th Edition!) via 2 live webinars on Saturday, March 4th, 2017 at:

  • 12 noon EST (NYC Time) , 9 am PST, 5:00pm UK, 6:00pm France, 1:00 am Sunday in Hong-Kong


  • 8:00 pm Hong-Kong, 9:00pm Shanghai, 7:00 am EST (NYC time), 11 pm Sydney, 12:00 noon UK, 13h in France.

About this webinar:

  • Find out about the curriculum and study options.
  • Review sample exam questions.
  • Get a feel for the emphasis and thrust of this certification program and if it is “a fit” for your professional development goals.

Host: Lisa M. Airey, WSG Education Director.

Duration: 45 min-1 hr.

Register for the FREE preview webinar:

Instructions on how to access this live webinar will be emailed to all registered 48 hours prior to the webinar.



Italian Trade Commission endorses the Italian Wine Scholar program


The Wine Scholar Guild’s Italian Wine Scholar Program received official endorsement from the Italian Trade Commission (ITA).

The Italian Trade Commission is a governmental body whose role is to promote the internationalization of Italian companies in line with the strategies of the Italian Ministry for Economic Development. It identifies and connects Italian and foreign businesses and provides support and advice to both.

Wine Scholar Guild President, Julian Camus, stated, “The Italian Trade Commission works to position Italy in a best-foot-forward framework and we are proud that our Italian wine education program has made the cut. Having an official endorsement from this governmental organization is a wonderful reward for all of the hard work we have put into this program.”

Maurizio Forte, Trade Commissioner and Executive Director for the ITA in the USA stated, “We are delighted to support the educational program dedicated to the wines of Italy whose study manual, reviewed by industry leaders and wine professionals, was praised for its comprehensive coverage of the diverse wines and wine regions of Italy, its well thought out structure and its easy-to-follow format.”

“To show our support for this endeavor,” continues Forte, “the Wine Scholar Guild is authorized to proudly display the Italian Trade Commission logo (ITA) on all materials relating to the promotional and educational activities that will be carried out by the Wine Scholar Guild in connection with the Italian Wine Scholar program.”

This endorsement follows the official support and endorsement of three wine consorzi: Consorzio Vini Alto Adige, Consorzio di tutela vini del Trentino, and Consorzio Barbera d'Asti e Vini del Monferrato.

The Italian Wine Scholar: Wines of Northern Italy program launched in May of 2016 to the Wine Scholar Guild program provider network around the globe. Unit Two, Italian Wine Scholar: Wines of Central/Southern Italy will launch early in 2017.

The Wine Scholar Guild offers wine study and certification programs for serious students of wine. These programs are offered by 50 program providers in 15 countries on 5 continents. Educational programing is also available in distance learning formats.


In both instances, students should register for each unit separately. We highly recommend that students complete one unit before moving on to the next. The units can be taken in any order.


Register today for Unit 1 and be among the first Italian Wine Scholars!


WIN a Study Trip Scholarship to Italy!

Top Italian Wine Scholar student at IWEG Drinks Academy in Toronto will WIN a Study Trip Scholarship to Italy!

IWEG, our exlusive Program Provider in Toronto, is pleased to announce the Italian Trade Commission in Canada as its first Gold Sponsor with the sponsorship of the new Italian Wine Scholar program beginning at IWEG in October 2016. 

This partnership will make possible a host of exciting and educational activities throughout the academic year that will enhance the student experience and help our students achieve their personal goals through the program. Additionally, the top performing Italian Wine Scholar graduate at IWEG will also receive a study trip scholarship to a consorzio (specific wine region) in Italy!

"The Italian Trade Commission has launched a Canada-wide campaign to promote authentic Italian food and wines to consumers and professionals. We have identified IWEG as a valuable partner in a project that seeks to promote a better and stronger awareness of Italian wines among members of the trade and the public. We are delighted to sponsor a wine education program that is exclusively about Italian wines and provides a level of knowledge at a professional level with an internationally recognized certificate" said Pasquale Bova, Trade Commissioner, of the Italian Trade Commission in Canada.

"The Italian Trade Commission is a valuable partner for IWEG, enabling us not only to enhance the student learning experience but also to provide unique ways to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals", said Paul Miles, Executive Director of IWEG.

Italian Wine Scholar 

The Italian Wine Scholar is an Italian wine course designed to provide committed students of wine with the most advanced and comprehensive specialization study program on Italian wine bar none!

IWEG is one of the first international schools and the first school in Canada to offer the Italian Wine Scholar program. 

Our Italian Wine Scholar instructors Nancy Reynolds and Rose-Anne St. Jean are ranked globally in the top 3 for academic achievement with the Wine Scholar Guild. (Number 1 is IWEG WSET Diploma alumnus Donald McEachern!)  

Italian Wine Scholar - Unit 1 
Date: Tuesdays, October 18th - December 6th @ 7PM
Location: IWEG Drinks Academy
Register Now!



Italian Wine Scholar launches!

The Wine Scholar Guild announces its worldwide launch of a new study and certification program on the wines of Italy.

The Italian Wine Scholar Program was created by Maurizio Broggi, native Italian, DWS and Certified Sommelier, who joins the Wine Scholar Guild as Education Director for Italy. This course provides up-to-date and comprehensive information on the diverse wines and wine regions of Italy. It offers students of wine the opportunity to master Italian wines and obtain professional-level certification upon the successful completion of this two-part course.

The program has received the support of Italian wine DOC/G consortia and the endorsements of important members of the global wine community. (See kudos below.)

The Wine Scholar Guild is an international provider of advanced specialization and certification wine programs and is acclaimed for its highly successful French Wine Scholar program currently offered by 50 program providers in 20 countries and on 5 continents.

Julien Camus, President of the Wine Scholar Guild, states, “After establishing excellence with the French Wine Scholar Program, we are very proud to present the Italian Wine Scholar Program. Italy vies with France as the #1 wine producing country in the world. Mastering Italian wines is a must for all committed wine scholars and we are delighted to make this comprehensive program attainable to wine students worldwide!”

Maurizio Broggi, WSG Education Director for Italy, explains "Creating this program was both challenging and fascinating for me since every Italian wine region has its own traditions, grapes, and wine styles. What makes this program unique is the comprehensive nature of its content and its straightforward organization. Each Italian wine region is broken down into clear sections that cover history, geography, climate, topography, soils, grapes and appellations. All of the Italian DOCs and DOCGs are featured and described."

The Italian Wine Scholar Program will be available for study in two different formats: online distance learning and classroom instruction. These two study options make the course highly accessible to professionals and wine enthusiasts from all over the world.

The Italian Wine Scholar will launch in distance learning format in May 2016 and in classroom format via the WSG’s program provider network in September 2016.

Classroom instruction will be provided by the same extensive network of wine schools that have been approved as program providers for the French Wine Scholar Program.

Numerous wine professionals have already endorsed The Italian Wine Scholar Study and Certification Program, highlighting the quality of the program in their statements.

I am impressed by the thoroughness of research that has gone into the Italian Wine Scholar study manual, and by the clear way it is laid out. I am sure that this course will prove very useful for the growing numbers of wine students wishing to improve their knowledge of wines in general and Italian wines in particular.
Nicolas Belfrage, Master of Wine, author of the acclaimed and benchmark books on Italian wines “Barolo to Valpolicella: the Wines of Northern Italy” and “Brunello to Zibibbo: the Wines of Tuscany, Central and Southern Italy”.


I would recommend the Italian Wine Scholar study program for anyone who really wants to learn about the complex and fascinating wine regions of Italy."
Jeannie Cho Lee, Master of Wine, Award-winning Author, Wine Critic, Educator and Contributing Editor for Decanter


Committed students of wine will love the Italian Wine Scholar manual. It’s exhaustive coverage of Italy’s regions, grape varieties and wine styles will only make you thirsty. Plus, extensive use of images, labels and detailed maps helps bring everything to life.
Peter Marks, Master of Wine, Vice President of Education at Constellation Academy of Wine



Video: The Viticultural History of the Rhône Valley

Our Rhône Master-Level program just launched with a first webinar on the Rhône Valley's viticultural history, presented by Louis Barruol, 14th generation Gigondas winemaker at Chateau Saint-Cosme.

Louis' vineyard and winery represent a living past and a modern-day treasure. His family has been unearthing 2000-year old tools and statues on their property since they purchased it in the 15th century. The winery cellar itself was carved out of rock by the Romans.

In a webinar that is part show-and-tell/part fireside-chat, we journey from the beginning of viticulture in the Rhône valley to the phylloxera epidemic while learning the forces that have shaped agriculture over the millennia.
If you think the Romans can be credited for viticulture in southern France, think again! 
Have you ever wondered how people made wine and sold it 2000 years ago? Louis explains it!
If you think you have heard the phylloxera story a million times and know it all, you are in for a surprise!
Don’t miss this fabulous presentation, it’s only available for free for 7 days. See the video below

Missed the launch of the program? No worries! You can easily catch up! All live webinars are recorded as a video and mp3 podcast and are available for on-demand replay!



Winner of our March Member-only Quiz on Italy

The Wine Scholar Guild is thrilled to announce that Nancy Reynolds, FWS is the winner of our March 2016 Member-only, Quarterly Online Quiz on Italy! She wins a free Italian Wine Scholar Unit 1 program!

Nancy is an approved French Wine Scholar instructor at IWEG in Toronto and preparing herself to qualify to teach our Italian Wine Scholar program.

Our other top scorers this time around include:

  • Gill Gordon-Smith
  • Leanne Quirk, FWS
  • Chip Stryker, FWS
  • Don Kinnan
  • Sarah Bortz
  • Molly Brooks
  • Rhea Cook
  • Tom Martin
  • Dinah Leach
  • Danielle Donovan
  • Ivonne Nill

While you are no longer eligible for prizes associated with this quiz, you can still test your knowledge by logging into your account online, going to “My Online Courses” and selecting “Member Quizzes” to access this archived quiz.

Our next online member quiz with prize will launch soon!



Wine Scholar Guild Top Exam Scorers for 2015

The Wine Scholar Guild is excited to announce the list of 2015 top exam scorers from around the world! Bravo!

French Wine Scholar Program

1. Lee In Soon, FWS (Seoul, Korea) - Score: 100%

''Currently I’m a wine educator, a consultant and the Director & Head Lecturer of LeeInSoon Wine Lab. Before that I used to work as the Director & Head Lecturer of WSA Wine Academy for 11 years until November of 2015. In total I have worked as a lecturer, consultant and winewriter for more than 17 years.

By cooperating with wine importers, producers and many Wine Boards (CIVB,BIVB, Australia Wine Association, Italian Grandi Marqui, etc.) from important wine producing regions all over the world, I arrange many interesting and informative wine seminars that are focused on various wine styles and wine producing regions. Through these activities, I have had opportunities to introduce good-quality, but less well –known wines.

I give lectures to various people working in the Korean wine business; such as sommeilers, importers, distributors,... READ MORE

2. Shaun Grant Sidwall, FWS (Manitoba, Canada)- Score: 99%

Shaun is computer consultant in the automotive industry. Shaun has his level 1 and level 2 certification from ISG.

''I will definitely be taking the Spain and Italy courses if/when they are taught in Winnipeg and am hoping to get my full sommelier certification at some point and the FWS program will definitely make that easier.

I really enjoyed the class, was definitely a lot more difficult and detailed than I expected, but learned a ton and enjoyed it all.''

2. Mike Lasky, FWS (Wisconsin, USA)- Score: 99%

''My wine career began in May 2015, when I accepted a position at Otto's Wine & Spirits in Elm Grove, WI where I specialize in the international wine section.

The most enjoyable part of my job is interacting with my customers. I want them to be as excited as I am about the diverse selection of wines that France has to offer. I plan to continue my wine education so that I will be able to offer wine classes at Otto's in the future.''


Bordeaux Master-Level Program

 1. David March (South Africa) - Score 98%

''After 30 years as a teacher and Adult Education Manager in the UK (with Honours Degree from London University), a year’s job exchange to Australia ignited my passion for wine. I signed up for wine courses and passed the WSET Higher Certificate and Level 4 Diploma and passed the first year of the Master of Wine course in the UK.

Moving to Cape Town in 2009, I became a Cape Wine Master in 2012; my dissertation looked at ‘Wine Investment in South Africa’. I write for www.wine.co.za and have finished a guide to the wines of Stellenbosch. I am a judge for the Veritas Awards, the Shiraz SA Awards and the Gold and Vitis Wine Awards. I also edit the newsletter of the Institute of Cape Wine Masters as well as lecturing and assessing Cape Wine Academy students at Certificate and Diploma level, which I really enjoy.

2. Benjamin Broidy, FWS (California, USA) - Score 97%

Benjamin is import manager for Regal Wine Company in California, USA.

''I am in charge of the import education, supplier relations, helping to manage inventory, pricing, programming, and purchasing for my company.  I hold the Diploma for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and the Certified Wine Educator title through the Society of Wine Educators.  

I am also a Master of Wine Candidate through the Institute of Masters of Wine (just took the exam and waiting for results).''


Bourgogne Master-Level Program

 1. Mark Shipway, FWS (British Columbia, Canada) - Score 99%

Mark studied winemaking & viticulture full time at the University of Brighton as well taking the WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits in which he graduated with honours in 1999. Mark has had a diverse experience in the wine industry having worked for wine estates in South Africa, a supermarket wine-buying department and in sales and marketing for a major UK retailer.

He currently works for International Culinary School where he has been teaching and administrating both the FWS and WSET programs for over ten years. Mark has been a regular judge for the UK’s premier International Wine & Spirit Competition and also a contributing writer for trade magazines, The Publican and Vendor and is continuing his own education through the FWS Master Level certificates as well in the Court of Master Sommelier’s program. READ MORE

Champagne Master-Level Program

1. Kirra Barnes, FWS (Pennsylvania, USA) - Score 98%

Kirra Barnes was the product education coordinator with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for many years. She has recently changed her carier path. Among her new projects, she consults for the Wine Scholar Guild's education department.

''I work with a talented and dedicated team to provide excellent wine and spirit education to all store and administrative employees. I inherited a love of bubbles from my mother, who insists that Champagne be included in all family gatherings.''


1. Erika Frey, FWS (Massachusetts, USA)- Score 98%

Erika is Education Director and Lead Instructor at the Boston Wine School, wine consultant for Winestone (wine retail store) and wine educator for The Tasting Company, The Grape Experience and The Boston Center for Adult Education.

''I hold the Diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and I am a Certified Wine Educator with the Society of Wine Educators. I also completed the Wine Studies Certificate at Boston University. I've done some wine studies at Cornell University and UC Davis as well. I also hold the California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS) and Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) certifications in addition to my FWS and Alsace and Champagne Master Levels. I just completed a WSET course in Sake.

Most of the other programs I have done have been overview courses which really only allow students to touch upon each regions. With the Master Levels, I have enjoyed focusing on one area and really digging deep into the history, people, process, etc. READ MORE

Sud de France Master-Level Program

1. Soo Jin Hwang (France) - Score 100%

Soo Jin is president of the JinJi Table Coréenne.

''I am at a pivotal moment of my career, trying to be a wine professional from a wine enthusiast.

After obtaining a bachelor degree in economics and international business in Seoul, South Korea, I moved to France in 2007. I had always enjoyed wine since my adolescence, and living in Southern France helped me to open eyes to the world of gastronomy. This is how I decided to get a French cuisine diploma instead of continuing my studies in a graduate business school.

I opened the restaurant in 2010 which is referred in Michelin guide since 2012. As in France no meal can be complete without a good bottle of wine, I began to study wine through several professional formations. The thing is, once I started to study wine, I could not stop it anymore! This is why I have decided to sell the restaurant recently wishing to work in a wine industry. READ MORE

Provence Master-Level Program

1. Christopher Ruhland, FWS (California, USA) - Score 97%

''I am not a wine professional.  But I am passionate -- some might say obsessive -- about wine, particularly French wine.  I am a big fan of the French Wine Society (now the Wine Scholar Guild).   I think the teaching programs are excellent tools for anyone who wants to better understand and appreciate what is in the glass.''



Video: On the wine roads of the Rhone with Christophe Tassan

The Rhone is one of most exciting wine region in France today! Home of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, the wines have a way of eloquence conveying the lavender and herb strewn landscape from which they are crafted. The boulangeries, patisseries and chocolatiers are world renown, in fact Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France and the world.


Christophe introduces himself as your guide before presenting the highlights of the trip: producer visits, lunches and dinners at gastronomic restaurants, accommodation at charming hotels and tours of the renowned landscapes and terroirs of the Rhone.


  • Born and raised in the Rhône
  • Sommelier and wine program director at top restaurants
  • Best Sommelier “South of France” in 1992 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2004
  • Rhône Master-Level Program Lead Instructor

Christophe will introduce himself as your guide before presenting the highlights of the trip: producer visits, lunches and dinners at gastronomic restaurants, accommodation at charming hotels and tours of the renowned landscapes and terroirs of Provence. Register for the webinar and ask all the questions you want!




Video: On the wine roads of Provence with Elizabeth Gabay MW

Picasso…Cézanne…Van Gogh…add your name to the list of masters inspired by Provence!  Be it in on canvas or in the glass, there is something about the sheer lightness of being in this region of France!

In this webinar, Elizabeth Gabay MW presets the Wine Scholar Guild’s upcoming Immersion Study Trip to Provence.

Immerse yourself in Provence and find out why the stunning French Riviera is one of France’s hottest wine regions!

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