Congratulations to Garrell Keesler, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with honors !
"I am a wine enthusiast and am particularly passionate about the intersection of food and wine and the ways each complements and changes the experience of the other. For a long time, I’ve been able to taste a wine and create a dish to complement it. With my wine studies, I am working on tasting a dish and pairing the perfect wine with it.
I am not a wine professional, though I am interested in providing wine education.
I have the WSET Advanced Certification and am a Certified Specialist of Wine. I am not currently enrolled in another program but am considering the WSET Diploma, the Certified Wine Educator, or perhaps a Level 1 Sommelier. After completing the French Wine Scholar Program, I not only have a deeper knowledge of the wines of France, I have a more comprehensive foundation for all future wine study.
Knowing the wines of the premier wine country is crucial to comprehensive wine knowledge. Knowing the growing and flavor profiles of classic French grapes on various soil types will provide insight into how these grapes develop in other locations. The FWS has provided a well-organized and methodical way to learn about other regions."
Congratulations to Sonia Hyncik Beauvarlet, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors with Wine Smarties in San Diego !
"I have been a wine enthusiast for many years but only recently explored a career in this field. I presently live in San Diego and grew up in France where our family lived in Dijon, Paris, Rouen and Lyon. So it's fair to say that I quickly developed a preference for French wines and gastronomy! After 23 years working in the Southern California commercial real estate field, I decided to make a life change by pursuing a new career in the wine business. I just started working at a wine store but I've also been helping out at local San Diego wineries to gain knowledge in winegrowing and winemaking. I'm keeping my options open while I figure out which branch of this industry suits me best. Perhaps some day I can use my business & language skills (French, English, German, Spanish) to define my future role in this field.
I started my wine studies in 2015 at San Diego State University where I earned a Certificate in the Business of Wine. During this time, I completed my WSET level 2 which allowed me to take on the Court of Master Sommelier Level 1 Award. These courses gave me a good background to confidently tackle the French Wine Scholar designation. I signed up through Wine Smarties in San Diego, taught by Lindsay Pomeroy. The course was not only an exciting challenge but also a sheer delight for a Francophile like me. Our class was very enthusiastic and at each meeting, students brought regional cheeses, charcuterie and desserts to amplify the wine tasting experience.
The course book was beautifully written and is something I will frequently consult. The online Wine Scholar Guild tools also made a difference for me: thorough course modules, detailed maps, beautiful illustrations, comprehensive quizzes... To date, the French Wine Scholar course has been the best educational experience on this journey. I feel it has helped me become a better student and made me step out of my comfort zone when approaching new subject matter and new wines. I am anxious to try the Italian Wine Scholar course and hope it will soon be available in San Diego. Since achieving the FWS designation, I enrolled in the WSET 3 course. My next challenge will be the Certified Sommelier exam and the Italian Wine Scholar course. I really appreciate the wine knowledge and networking opportunities the program has provided for me."
Congratulations to Megan Barone, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with honors with NorthWest Wine Academy in Seattle !
About Megan Barone:
"I've been a Francophile since childhood, and a wine enthusiast since I was old enough to drink (though I grew up in the California food/wine industry, so honestly forever)! I've been with Trader Joe's for 13.5 years, and have begun to transition into the importing/distribution side of things.
The FWS was the first wine certification I pursued, and I found the program to be thorough and rigorous, yet easy to follow and absorb. I've been able to better educate my crew and customers about French wine since the course -- and have accepted a position with a boutique importer of French wines since completing the course. The education the Wine Scholar Guild provided, along with the support and expertise of the instructor, Regina Daigneault has given me the skills and confidence to pursue my growth in the wine industry.
I am presently pursuing a degree in wine business from the Northwest Wine Academy, where I will most definitely be taking the Italian Wine Scholar course when it is offered in the spring. The FWS program was a perfect intro into the world of wine certifications for me! The format, book, and online modules were so helpful in absorbing all of the information and fully UNDERSTANDING French wine, as opposed to just memorization of facts. I can only hope that the other certification programs are this well set up. I am thankful to have had the experience, which has opened up a new world to me. I can't wait for IWS in 2018!"
Congratulations to Joshua Lee, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors with AWSEC!
About Joshua Lee:
"I am a wine enthusiast. I was introduced to wine at university where wine was typically served with food at college hall dinners; I had minimal exposure to wines or spirits prior to that. I actually found the first few sips of wine awful but gradually acquired a taste for wines. I was hooked by the taste of wine but never had a clue about the wines I was enjoying. I knew nothing of wines apart from white, red, and rose. Things only took a more serious turn when my wife got me a Riedel wine glass set for my birthday with a wish to put them to good use. This was a key push in signing up for first wine education course. The past 3 years since then have been a fascinating journey of discovery and transformation. If I started of as simply curious prior to my wine education, then I have now been converted to an evangelist who cannot stop sharing with others about the wonders of wine. I never could have imagined that enjoying wine could be a highly intellectual activity. It hits all the right notes for an academic geek like me: a combination of history, geology, geography, and chemistry. I also enjoy formulating unusual/untested food and wine pairings, and of course the satisfaction of getting it right.
I started my wine education with the WSET Level 2 run by AWSEC in Hong Kong. I was then just a curious academic without a clue about wines. The WSET Level 2 was a fun introduction to wine for a person with no prior knowledge of wine. Having thoroughly enjoyed the course, I signed up for WSET Level 3 to both deepen and broaden my knowledge of wines (and spirits). My WSET teachers spoke positively about the FWS and I had been travelling to France for work, so I signed up for the FWS. The FWS stands in a different category from the WSET courses. While the WSET 3 provides the sheer breadth and a global perspective on wines, the FWS provides a unique focus on the country that continues to be the standard bearer that producers from other countries look to. The FWS provided me with a perspective that I could not have acquired from the WSET courses which I felt was essential to my wine education.
I have been contemplating about going for the WSET Diploma and the FWS has been an important stepping stone in my wine education towards that goal. As an outsider to the wine trade, the FWS was a gauge of how serious I was before proceeding with the diploma given my busy work schedule. The Italian Wine Scholar would also be a good complement to the FWS.
The depth of coverage on French wines offered by the FWS has strengthened my understanding of wine. As an educator, I appreciate that a strong foundation is essential when furthering studies at a more advanced level. The huge volume of facts to assimilate in the FWS course has only deepened my thirst to expand my knowledge of wines further and are a reminder that there so much to discover about the fascinating world of wines. You can simply never stop learning and never grow tired talking about wines."