Congratulations to Jade Xiaohan Yu, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I was working in the media industry before I got into the wine world. Leading a busy life, a glass of wine to me is like a pacifier to a baby. I started taking introductory wine courses to spend my free time. The more I learned, the more interest I gained. Now I am a sommelier student on the journey to achieve my goal of becoming a professional sommelier.
I have taken WSET Level 3 in Wine. IWS program gave me the chance to get a more in depth look at Italian wine. Now my knowledge on Italian wine regions and appellations is organized in a systematic way that is easy for me to recall. I am planning to do the master levels of French wine regions in the near future.
When we speak of wine, it is always more than the chemical compounds in the glass that we are talking about. The terroir, natural and social histories and cultures are what make the wine enchanting. When I recommend a wine to my friends or guests who may not be professional wine tasters, I find them enjoying discussing the stories behind the wine, probably even more than the structures of the wine. This is why my favourite sections of IWS are the histories, geography and food traditions of each region. I can never understand a wine without knowing them.
Congratulations to Zach Bulow, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I began my journey with wine working as a casual store clerk while studying my commerce degree at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Upon graduating with my degree, I worked towards the position of Retail Product Specialist with the NSLC. My position focuses on coaching and educating staff on beverage alcohol, organizing events both in-store and with partners in our local community, as well as maintaining our inventory selection of premium wine and spirits.
A turning point in my life followed a trip to Rioja, Spain. Inspired by our annual wine festival which had a theme of Spanish wines, I hopped on a plane for a self-guided tour of the Rioja wine region. This had been my first immersion into the old world of wine, and I fell in love with the rich history and representation of a culture’s identity that wine can have. From the numerous tapas and Crianza’s on Logrono’s famous Calle Laurel, to the mountains and rolling hills of Rioja, I was inspired to focus my future career on the wonderful world of wine. I’m not sure where I’ll be in ten years, but I sure know what industry it will be in.
I have completed WSET Level 2. Initially, the jump to the FWS program was substantial from WSET Level 2, however working hands-on with wine every day made this manageable. I chose FWS as so many regions globally have their roots in French wine, be it the grapes grown or the viticulture and winemaking methods. The FWS program does an amazing job at complementing broader wine courses by having such a deep focus on the wines of France.
I have ambitious educational goals for 2019. I’m currently working on the Italian Wine Scholar program, with my eyes set on enrolling into the Spanish Wine Scholar set to begin this fall. I plan on enrolling into WSET Level 3 later this summer, with the goal of beginning the WSET Diploma next year. I’m flirting with the idea of Sommelier training and intend to enroll into the Society of Wine Educator’s Certified Specialist of Wine and Certified Wine Educator programs. Of course, these ambitious goals require a dedication of time – a career in wine truly is a life of learning, and I love that.
The FWS program has been incredibly valuable to me in the workplace. French wine can be intimidating, both to enthusiasts/customers and to those beginning a career in the industry. The FWS program gave me the confidence to be conversant in the wine regions of France; I love educating staff and customers and helping them shake their fear of the classic French wine label. Moreover, the FWS program has given me an in-depth base of knowledge in French wine that will be tremendously helpful in my future educational endeavors.
Congratulations to Paulo Brammer, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I started my beverage career in London as head of bars, and then became head sommelier for the three Michelin-starred chefs Pourcel Brothers. In 2008, I made the move out of fine dining to take on a new challenge as chief wine buyer at ETM Group. During my term, ETM Group was awarded Best Group Drinks Offer (Harpers Magazine), Pub company of the year (Restaurant Magazine) and Best UK Bar and Pub Group (Caterer Magazine). I was also nominated Pub Personality of the Year (Imbibe Awards).
In 2013, I co-founded Eno Cultura, a wine and spirits academy headquartered in Brazil with activities all over LATAM. The academy has been making its presence at the cutting edge of wine and spirits research, spreading self-made content through workshops, masterclasses and officially certified advanced courses on several wine regions. International certifications are also provided, such as WSET courses (levels 1, 2, 3 and hopefully soon the Diploma) and the French Wine Scholar, as well as consultancy services worldwide. Eno Cultura was awarded Educator of the Year 2017 by WSET Global.
I have recently become wine educator by the Consejo Regulador of both Jerez and Rioja. I am currently a wine judge at the Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine and Spirit Competition. My studies for previous certifications and my constant pursuit of perfecting my knowledge have made my FWS studies pleasing and complementary.
These are some of the certifications I have gained since I began my studies on wines and spirits:
- Universidad de la Rioja - Certified Wine Educator (2018)
- Consejo Regulador de la D.O. Jerez - Certified Wine Educator (2018)
- University of California, Davis - Us Wine Trade (2015)
- Wine & Spirit Education Trust - Diploma, Wines and Spirits (2012)
My passion for wine along with the knowledge acquired in the FWS program makes me want to learn and know more about wines and specific regions and gives me a technical endorsement to increase my ability to disseminate knowledge to my students.
Congratulations to Julie Draper, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
My professional conversion to the wine industry dates back to early 2017 but I have been a wine enthusiast for most of my life. My earliest wine-related memory being of 8 year-old me sneaking a sip of my dad’s Californian Zinfandel, only to have my young palate assaulted by flavors akin to a pepper-encrusted smokehouse steak! I clearly recall holding those forbidden drops on my tongue, completely captivated by their unexpected flavors as well as by my parents’ apparent appreciation for this oddly savory liquid. Little did I know at the time that this moment of childhood fascination would come full circle many years later.
I may very well have pursued a career in wine much earlier had I not discovered my great affinity for languages in my early teenage years. Consequently, I left my home state of California at 19 to pursue my graduate degree in Switzerland, initially studying to be a translator/interpreter. Once out of college, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to combine my fondness for languages with my love of culture and travel, subsequently spending the greater part of my career working in fine art in New York, Berlin and Geneva.
However, after a couple of decades of alternating between continents and two much-loved careers, wine was admittedly still very much in my thoughts (not to mention an omnipresent element in my life since I had continued to educate my palate and mind on the subject ever since my arrival in Europe). For as long as I could remember, I had wanted to pursue this lifelong passion in a more official capacity and with the infinite support of my partner, I dove in wholeheartedly and headfirst, obtaining my WSET 2 & 3 at the Ecole du Vin de France in Paris. Naturally these two levels of the WSET left me wanting to delve into more detailed study, which – much to my delight – is exactly what the Wine Scholar Guild programs offer. Being partial to France and its wines, I decided to tackle the FWS first. The independent study format is exceptionally well-conceived for people who enjoy working in depth and at their own pace. The study materials and learning objectives are very logically presented, comprehensive and intuitive.
I currently have my sights set on the WSET Diploma, with my ultimate goal being the MW qualification. With this in mind, I plan to undertake both the IWS and SWS programs in the near future as I am certain they will give me a significant step up as I move forward. In the meantime, the FWS qualification is already making a difference in my career. As a judge/reviewer for a number of French food & wine magazines and competitions, I have to be able to evaluate, describe and rate many wines in a single sitting. The vast breadth of knowledge I have acquired and assimilated through the FWS has been instrumental in making me more insightful, precise and efficient at my job. I can’t imagine doing without it now!