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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!


French Wine Society becomes Wine Scholar Guild


In only 10 years, the French Wine Society has become the leading provider of French wine study and certification programs internationally.  We could not have achieved this without your support!
In response to our students’ and instructors’ requests, we have decided to expand our educational offerings to include the wines of Italy and Spain!

You can count on our continued passion and commitment to provide the same level excellence as we release our professional development and specialization programs!

Name Change: French Wine Society becomes the Wine Scholar Guild

To achieve this exciting expansion, we are creating a new organization: The Wine Scholar Guild.

Our goal is for the Wine Scholar Guild to become the leading, international provider of advanced specialization wine study and certification programs on the wines of France, Spain and Italy.

Within the next few days, the French Wine Society website will be transitioning to www.WineScholarGuild.org.

We will make this transition as smooth as possible, making sure your access to our existing educational materials and membership benefits remain available at all time.

Italian Wine Scholar launches in 2016:

Our Italian Wine Scholar program will be launching in May of 2016 with preparatory online learning activities. The first classroom sessions will start in September of 2016 via our program provider network around the world!

Learn more about the Italian Wine Scholar program launch!

Our Spanish Wine Scholar program will follow shortly thereafter.

Wine Scholar Guild Membership:

The extension of our programing also means exciting developments for members!

All the member benefits French Wine Society members have enjoyed will be gradually expanded to include Italy and Spain!

All existing members and all future members will become Wine Scholar Guild members with access to all continuing education programs across the board… at the same $100 price!

Not a member yet? Join today!

We are really excited for you to be part of the Guild. Together, we want to create the most active community of wine students around the globe!



We are hiring a Sales & Marketing Assistant

Founded in 2005, the Wine Scholar Guild is the leading provider of French wine study and certification programs internationally. 

The Guild also provides study & certification programs on the wines and wine regions of Italy and Spain.

Our programs are taught online as well as in classroom around the world.

Our members and students range from wine industry professionals to advanced students of wine; they hail from all over the globe. Yet, as diverse as they are, all have a passion for French, Italian and Spanish wines and are serious students of wine.

Location: Home Office or Washington DC

What You Will Do:

  • Write effective, sales-driven promotional content (newsletters, brochures, etc…)
  • Write pertinent educational and editorial content to help drive traffic and interest
  • Develop and implement marketing solutions that generate sales
  • Develop and implement public relation plans that raise media, trade and consumer awareness and encourages sales
  • Develop and implement digital, mobile and social tactics to maximize student engagement 
  • Partner with the marketing and graphic team to execute content and original creative ideas
  • Identify new business opportunities that will drive the greatest return on investment for the sales effort 
  • Create awareness and interest among key segments
  • Develop membership registrations and retention
  • Develop further valuable benefits for our members
  • Develop partnerships and corporate account sales
  • Analyze promotional and marketing campaigns and adjust actions accordingly
  • Assist in customer relationship

What Will Set You Apart:

  • Equally willing to be both a creative thinker and hands-on executer 
  • Solid skill set of writing, editing, idea creation, storytelling and organization is essential
  • Must have ability to effectively multi-task, prioritize and work collaboratively with a team
  • A passion for wine and strong wine culture/knowledge
  • Understanding of the wine education industry
  • Skilled in the use of MS Office

What Would Be A Plus:

  • PhotoShop & basic web-design experience
  • E-commerce & email marketing experience
  • Experience in digital marketing, social media strategies and SEO
  • Experience working with a CRM
  • Fluency in French, Italian and/or Spanish in addition to being a native English speaker


  • Offers the flexibility of working from home
  • Possibility to start part-time and expand
  • Must be available immediately

How to Apply:

Send your resumé and motivation letter to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Our Members’ Quarterly Quiz is back!

We are super excited about our next Member's only Quiz in which one lucky winner will take home this amazing VinGardeValise® as our prize (a $270 value)!

Our quarterly quizzes are a great way to expand your knowledge while having fun! This time, the 15-question quiz will focus on the Rhône Valley.

Want to win? Members in good standing are invited to enter the December quiz, which will be held from December 14-18. Just make sure to complete the quiz within that time period to be eligible for the prize.

What you’ll win: The VinGardeValise® is the safest way to travel with your wine! This special case is made from 100% virgin polycarbonate and protects your wine with durable foam inserts. It is easy to maneuver, with a 4-wheel ergonomic spinner case and is fully compliant with FAA and TSA luggage policies and procedures. Plus, it transports your wine under the 50 lb airline baggage limit. *

*Prize is limited to residents of the United States and European Union only.

For more details on the VinGardeValise®, please see: http://grapegazette.com/product/vingardevalise/

Members will receive access instructions in advance.

Not yet a member? Time to change that and get in the game (quiz)!


Meet our Members: Gary Hewitt

Member Profile:
Gary Hewitt, FWS
Winnipeg, Manitoba, CA

What was your initial introduction to wine?
I grew up in the Prairies without a wine background in our family, so my first introduction to wine was a sweet strawberry wine. Fatefully, due to changes in my family, my new stepfather was a German Master Goldsmith who provided me with an introduction to high quality German wines – Mosel and Rheingau at first and later, wines from Franken. I didn’t really appreciate just how good they were at first, but this was certainly the genesis of my interest in wine. A little later, this experience was followed by the receipt of the first edition of Hugh Johnson’s World Atlas of Wine, in which I was able to look up some of those early German wines I had tasted. From there, my fascination with wine grew.

Which is your favorite French wine region and why?
I’m a bit of a chameleon when it comes to French wine regions. Right now, I am fascinated by the South of France, particularly the Languedoc-Roussillon area, due to the emerging quality and diversity of its wines. Plus, much of it is still very affordable. Of course, I am a total sucker for a great, white Burgundy, I love Alsace and I don’t drink nearly enough Champagne!

What is your current position/company/role?
I am presently the Buyer and Sommelier Instructor for Banville & Jones Wine Company, which is the largest private wine store in our area (Winnipeg, Canada), one of the few private stores that co-exists with the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries organization. I like to think of us as a community center for wine because in addition to the store, we also have the Banville & Jones Wine Institute through which we offer wine classes. Additionally, we publish the Cellar Door magazine, which has been very well received by our customers and the industry – generating talk within our market – and is entirely supported by advertising. We also offer tasting events and dinners.

What was the most recent glass of wine you drank?
I’ve been on a roll with the wines I have been tasting recently. Last night, I tasted three wines, two French-inspired and the last from the South of France - the Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut 2013 Occultum Lapidem Cotes Du Roussillon Villages Latour de France. We’ve been carrying this wine in the store for a long time and I needed to try the current vintage. It was terrific, typically intense, polished and honest.

Please tell us about your experience as a Wine Scholar Guild member (and as a provider).
The experience so far has been very positive. We made our initial contact with the Wine Scholar Guild because we started to see that the programs were being offered elsewhere in Canada and we wanted our offerings to be as complete as possible. We looked into it and were extremely pleased with the program. We have enjoyed working with the Wine Scholar Guild’s people and the program has been well received by our students. It fits well into our overall program offerings.

With regard to membership, I haven’t been able to take advantage of the webinars as much as I would like to, but I have participated in a few; they were very well done.

Meet our Members: Erika Frey

Member Profile:
Erika Frey
Boston, MA, USA

What was your initial introduction to wine?
My father is from Germany, so we usually had Riesling around the house, but my real serious introduction was at Cornell in the 800-person, Introduction to Wines class. I began to understand the differences among wines and learned to appreciate all there is to know about wine.

Which is your favorite French wine region and why?
It’s probably Alsace, partially because of the German influence and my family background being German. But, also, I went to Alsace last year [on the Wine Scholar Guild Study Immersion trip] with Theirry Meyer and it feels almost like home to me. The region is an interesting combination of the two influences – France and Germany. Of course, the wines have a lot of unique characteristics themselves; they are unique to Alsace and are produced in a very food-friendly style.

What is your current position/company/role?
I am the Wine Education Director for the Boston Wine School [in Boston MA]. In this role, I build curriculum, buy wine, recruit and train teachers and also teach myself. In addition, I work for a boutique wine shop called Winestone. I also teach WSET courses and whatever else comes up; I’ve taught French Wine Scholar classes for Jo-Ann Ross previously. And, I also do some marketing and recently poured wine at the Wine Riot.

What was the most recent glass of wine you drank?
It was a Sicilian Etna Rosso last night because I'm working on co-leading a wine and food focused tour of Sicily next year.

Please tell us about your experience as a Wine Scholar Guild member (and student).
As a student, the materials have been top-notch and very thorough. The written and online materials reinforce your learning, plus students have the option of classroom learning as well. It has been one of the strengths of the program – this diverse interaction with the education materials.

As a member, I haven’t been able to take advantage of all of the webinars, but it is a great resource for us. You can watch webinars from experts – the people that live and work in these regions – and others who we know are completely expert in their respective wine fields.

The overall quality of Wine Scholar Guild programs has been excellent. It makes me want to take more programs. I have already signed up for some of the Master-level programs. The trip to Alsace was amazing – we got to visit the most famous places and meet these famous producers – sitting with them at lunch or dinner – which is such a great opportunity for a wine educator to be able to bring back with him/her to the classroom.


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