Latest news

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 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.''


Subscribe Today

Subscribe to receive weekly original stories about the wines of France, Italy and Spain


Stay Informed

Sign up to receive our latest updates