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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    Nathalie Sibille

    Nathalie Sibille

    Wednesday, 07 November 2018 10:12

    Renga Vasu, FWS

    Congratulations to Renga Vasu, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!


    About Renga:

    I have practiced and taught medicine in the field of neurology for over 30 years. I retired a few years ago when I moved to Washington DC metro area. I have pursued my interest in wine for at least 20 years. I got certified for the Intermediate Level Master Class on Sherry Wines last year. After retirement, I have taken up music/ violin lessons as well.

    I took interest in wine, vineyards, and reading wine literature as a hobby. I have no professional connections with the wine industry. I further developed interest in this field as I traveled globally visiting various vineyards. French vineyards have always fascinated me as they are the most disciplined, oldest, most understood and researched in the field
of viticulture. I have been to several wine tasting sessions which have augmented my passion in the subect. The ritual of visually checking out the wine, sniffing for the flavors, swirling it in the glass, and ultimately tasting has become a routine!

    One of my longtime interests was to be a French Wine Scholar though I knew it was going to be tough. Even with a basic knowledge of the vineyards, geography, grapes, viticulture techniques it was a daunting task as I had no French background with the language or pronunciation. I registered with Wine Scholar Guild, and the accompanying study manual was extremely informative. The book was very organized, well written with pictures, maps, and appellations.

    Equal emphasis was given to all the wine regions trying to help the student understand the subject rather than just pass a test. The E Module learning with the slides and the accompanying audio recordings enhanced my learning experience. Quizzes helped in emphasizing precise details. Instructor Guided Webinars were wonderful. The teachers, Sharon and Lisa, are truly gifted and well versed in the subject. Questions posed during the discussions were intelligent and helped to clarify doubts. These discussions cemented my gaps in knowledge.

    I am grateful to WSG for helping me achieve my goal. The whole program is highly complimentary to the learning experience. I am not enrolled in other certifications at the moment as I am focusing on my music lessons actively.

    I shall continue as a member of WSG participating in the Webinars. I hope to be visiting more vineyards during my future travels.

    Wednesday, 07 November 2018 09:40

    Shirley L.Paddock, IWS

    Congratulations to Shirley L. Paddock, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!


    About Shirley: 

    I suppose I would consider myself a wine enthusiast although I believe that there are varying levels of enthusiasm for wine. I didn’t set out to be an “enthusiast” I just liked to try good wines and found myself wanting more knowledge about the multitude of grapes and wine styles beyond the standard international varieties and the “California cab”.  I love learning and have a tendency to try to learn as much as I can about a certain subject, in this case wine.

    I am a Certified Wine Scholar (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators and have passed the WSET Level 3 Award in Wine with Merit.  The basics in both of these programs allowed me to focus on the key aspects of the Italian wine world vs trying to learn the basics of viticulture and winemaking at the same time I was studying for the IWS. I am currently enrolled in the FWS program (as the Spanish Wine Scholar program is not yet open to me ☹)   Given my passion for learning, I am excited to learn more about French wines and eventually more about Spanish Wines. My journey through the IWS program will provide a wonderful foundation and perspective on Old World wines in general and will allow me to compare and contrast the different regions. At some point in the future I may consider studying for the DipWSET in Wine.

    The IWS program has fed my love of wine and learning and will ultimately allow me to be able to compare and contrast each of the world’s wine regions based on their history, terroir, viticulture and wine making practices.

    Wednesday, 07 November 2018 09:30

    Jen McAlpine, FWS

    Congratulations to Jen McAlpine, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!


    About Jen:

    My love for wine has taken me to some amazing places! Aside from working as a sommelier over the years, I also took a year off to travel and explore some major wine regions, and even did a harvest in Australia. However, it was when we were travelling through Burgundy and Champagne that something ignited in me and I’m excited to see where that leads me!

    This year I finished Italian Wine Scholar, French Wine Scholar, and enrolled in the WSET Diploma program, so it’s been a busy year! The Wine Scholar Guild programs have no doubt been beneficial in preparing me for the WSET Diploma and whatever future wine studies I decide to take on. Continuing with WSG is definitely on the list!

    I’m excited to see where I go next in my career.  Up until now I’ve been in restaurants but I think I’m ready for a new challenge. Whatever that may be, FWS has exceeded my expectations and allowed me to feel prepared for whatever comes next.  As far as education goes, my focus now is on the WSET diploma, but without a doubt I’ll be taking some of the master level programs with WSG as soon as I can!

    Wednesday, 07 November 2018 09:16

    Allison Hupp, FWS

    Congratulations to Allison Hupp, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!


    About Allison:

    As a member of the wine trade, I constantly strive to learn. Wine is art, science, history, sensation and joy. It is always scintillating and never static. I have the pleasure of sharing my passion for wine in my role as the Northern California Wine Educator for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. Before this position, I was a fine wine sales manager and prior to that worked in both on & off-premise channels of the wine industry (retail, bars and restaurants). Since I have been so fortunate in finding a position that I truly love, my aspirations are to continue to educate myself and influence those around me to explore wine from around the world and appreciate what is in our own backyard.

    My current credentials include: WSET Diploma, Certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine (CWE pending), Certified Specialist of Spirits, Italian Wine Professional, WSET 3 in Sake and California Wine Appellation Specialist. The French Wine Scholar forced me to dig deeper into each region of France than I had ever been required to do previously. It was immensely beneficial since France sets the standard, at least from a historical perspective, of so many international styles produced today. Having a deeper understanding of French wine regions impacts how one approaches study in other parts of the world. It also allows me to speak with more authority on historical perspectives and influences of French appellations.

     I am currently a Master of Wine candidate. I plan to revisit my French Wine Scholar materials regularly to ensure my theory is finely honed. There is no room for ambiguity in the MW program.

     For the reasons I have already stated, I have found the FWS program immensely valuable. I will encourage my colleagues to take part and use the course materials as a reference to keep my practical knowledge of French appellations up to date.





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