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Wednesday, 12 September 2018 09:12

INTERVIEW: Sybille Troubleyn of WineWise in Belgium

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?! :)


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